Switching over to ‘swadeshi’ can transform Indian economy: Goyal

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on March 06, 2020

‘Buying Made in India products can help 130 crore Indians become changemakers’

Eliminating unnecessary imports and substituting them with products made in India will transform India and provide jobs to lakhs of people, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

“If we opt for made in India products made by tribals, masons, carpenters… 130 crore Indians will become changemakers to make India a better place,” said Goyal speaking at the third edition of the BL Changemaker Awards on Friday. The Minister was in conversation with BusinessLine Editor Raghavan Srinivasan.

The Minister made a case for embracing ‘Swadeshi’ and said that it is not anti-modern.

“When we talk about Swadeshi, it is just a matter of recognising what is available in the country. Can’t we make something as simple as a toy in India? Think of the lakhs of people who will get livelihood if we use items such as carpets, furniture, sports goods made in India,” he said.

The Centre has already taken a step in the direction by raising import duties on more than 100 such items in this year’s Union Budget that accounted for inflow of goods worth $9 billion last year, as per a government calculation. Diverse goods, ranging from footwear and furniture to locks and blowers, were covered.

Goyal said that it was important for the people of the country to make a conscious choice to buy what was made in India. “We have the skilled manpower and the required technology. We just need the right mindset,” he said.

He gave the example of agarbattis, where import restrictions have been imposed, to give a boost to domestic manufacturers. Embracing Indian-made goods could transform India and take it towards the goal of being a $5- trillion economy, the Minister said.

The Modi government has been implementing a large number of successful projects such as the insurance scheme for farmers and the Ayushman Bharat Programme, the Minister pointed out.

The government is now focussing on sanitary pads through the 6,200 Jana Aushadhi Kendras. “At the Jan Aushadhi Kendra we are providing generic medicines at affordable prices. Through the Jan Aushadhi Kendras, now sanitary pads at just ₹1 will be distributed. Every woman in the country will have access to sanitary pads,” Goyal said.

Appreciation for pad man

The Minister appreciated the fact that BusinessLine had recognised the ‘pad-man of India’ Arunachalam Muruganantham as a changemaker and said that he idolised Muruganantham’s spirits. On a lighter note, Goyal said that he watched the movie ‘Pad Man’ thrice.

Goyal said that quality and honesty were very important for success of entrepreneurship and business. “I tell the representatives from the MSME sector who come to meet me to inculcate the habit of quality consciousness. We should focus on quality. It should be buzz word,” he said.

He also said that giving bribes and rent seeking was something that the industry should actively avoid. Highlighting the ‘vivad se vishwaas’ scheme, he said it was an opportunity for people to correct their past mistakes. “Rid ourselves of the past. Let us engage in bright future. Ensure we will stay on the right track,” he said.

Goyal said the LED programme was a big success story where the private sector also chipped in. “We were able to bring down costs of LED bulb by 60-70 per cent, he said.

Published on March 06, 2020

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