AatmaNirbharta (Self-reliance) suggests building a strong domestic economy, where the country will generate enough surpluses to quinch the global demand for goods and services. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in his Independence Day Speech in 2022 set the vision for India to become a developed nation by 2047. An exercise toenvision India@2047 is being undertaken by the Government of India under the rubric of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to meet the following aspirations:

  • Attaining new heights of prosperity of the country
  • Making best facilities available both in the villages and the cities
  • Eliminating unnecessary interference by the Government in the lives of citizens
  • Building world’s most modern infrastructure. 

The initiatives under this exercise will have to align with the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan mission, which aims at making India self-reliant.

AatmaNirbharta is more relevant now than ever. India’s ‘Current Account’ deficit, largely driven by a mercantile trade deficit, has widened. In FY 2022, our export of merchandise stood at US$ 420 Bn, marking India’s highest everexports. Despite the growth in exports, India’s imports stood at US$ 612 Bn and widened the country’s mercantile trade deficit. This is the highest trade deficit in India’s post-independence history – driven by multiple factors including high prices of crude oil, metals, and other inputs, in addition to pre-emptive inventory build-up to offset supply-chaindisruptions.

In the evolving geo-political order, it is critical for a nation like India to strive for self-reliance. To be truly self-reliant, India should focus on becoming a global manufacturing and services hub that caters to both domestic and global markets. We should not interpret ‘self-reliance’ as a closed economy that reduces import dependency; instead, weshould focus on capability building, technology & IP creation, and supply chain development across sectors thereby enabling value addition in India.

AatmaNirbharta in Context

AatmaNirbharta will not only make industries globally competitive, but it will also generate a productivity andinnovation movement that would inspire the world to set up their enterprises within the domestic territory of India. India is set to become a global manufacturing and exports hub, offering a wider consumer choice to the global community, and enhancing the global happiness.

An AatmaNirbhar Bharat would build domestic resilience to the global uncertainties – be it supply disruptions, economic recessions, financial crisis, wars, and conflicts. India is a country of 1.4 billion population. Every sixth person in the world is an Indian. Being a young country, with a median age of less than 30 years, offers huge marketopportunities for the business community.

According to CII, an AatmaNirbhar Indian initiative must strive to build and transform Indian capabilities to global standards by:

  • Producing products and services that are world class and globally competitive for both domestic consumption and exports thereby benefitting consumers globally.
  • Having ownership over crucial technology, process and raw material leading to creation of India’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • Achieving energy self-sufficiency, enhancing domestic value-addition, rationalizing external dependency, and boosting value-added exports
  • Promoting domestic and foreign investment and plugging into global supply chains
  • Building national competitiveness through appropriate & stable policy ecosystem

The AatmaNirbhar Index

CII report on “Measuring India’s AatmaNirbharta” defines an index to measure AatmaNirbharta or the extent of self-reliance. Three key principles have been adopted while developing the AatmaNirbhar Index (AI) – Simplicity, Measurability and Monitorability. Here, self reliance has been defined as the ratio of India’s total exports to the world to India’s imports from the world. India has an AI value of 0.69 in FY 2022. The simplicity of the index enables us to measure performance across sectors. Based on HSN codes, the report classifies India into 20 sectors and presents a detailed analysis for 10 sample sectors highlighting the top importers, exporters with market shares. We have selected one sector, Electronics, to showcase China’s success story to help us to draw insights and learnings.

This index could be an important metric to track the extent of India’s self-reliance and India should strive to achieve an AI value >1. It is important to recognize that the economy is a complex engine, and a product could be imported in one sector and exported in another sector after value addition. Therefore, it would not be practical that differentiatedtargets are created by sector to help achieve this over a pre-defined time frame.

It would also be critical to monitor progress over time and the report proposes a sample dashboard that could monitor across sectors, products, or geographies. The report also proposes the next steps for the refinements to get a deeper insight at the sector/sub-sector level.

To summarize, the ‘AatmaNirbhar Index’ will give India a barometer to measure the extent of self-reliance achieved by Indian economy across different segments and geographies. CII believes that the AatmaNirbhar Index will continue to evolve, and the CII team will work with all key Stakeholders to help India achieve AatmaNirbharta.

To know more read CII PWC report on “Measuring AatmaNirbharta: Developing AatmaNirbhar Bharat Index”.

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