Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 20th episode of Mann ki Baat 2.0 said made in India Covid vaccines are symbol of India’s self-pride.
The world would benefit immensely from India’s self-reliance campaign as was shown recently, India’s exports of two made-in India Covid-19 vaccines to a number of countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on a Sunday.
When this “coronavirus” pandemic came with several unfamiliar names like lockdown, quarantine to a population of 1.2 billion Indians, there was uneasiness, anxiety, and uncertainty among public as well as in the businesses. Thus, to ease out these challenges, many bold reforms and actions were taken by the government for saving lives of people while sustaining the economy of the country. In these reforms, the one which was hailed by every Indian was Prime Minister’s push towards SELF-RELIANCE.
The concept of self-reliance is not new to us but embracing it as our ideology is a long-term vision for the country.
Fast-tracking self-reliant economy through innovations – For spreading the branches, a tree needs to grow stronger at its roots so that it can hold the weight of those bigger branches. Likewise, for becoming self-reliant, India needs to strengthen its bottom-of-pyramid economy. This strengthening of lower-pyramid population can be done by bringing them more earning either through jobs or generating entrepreneurial opportunities and thus, making them self-reliant. A way forward –
• Vocal for Local – India has several local networks which are playing key roles in strengthening our local economy. The renowned examples of such networks are MSMEs, SHGs, VLEs, FPOs of the community. While several key initiatives like Make in India, Startup India, AGNIi, GeM, Digital India have played vital role in bolstering these networks, still, it is time for the country to introduce frequent use of new-age technologies for making the products from these networks of global standards. Post-COVID, MSMEs will also become hot cake for impact investors, therefore, government should make more ease of doing business reforms for bringing and sustaining the investors in MSME community. Since these small businesses are usually the riskiest ones, therefore, practicing blended finance model would be suitable de-risking model for investors, government as well as the business owners.
• Innovation centricity – While COVID-19 has affected several sectors from left, right and centre, innovations came forward as a saviour of both human lives as well as businesses. Therefore, it is important for India to boost its innovation ecosystem and enable them in reaching out to last miles for empowering the rural communities with various entrepreneurial models. Post-COVID-19, innovation ecosystem is also transitioning towards achieving frugality. While the world will be testing new models for reaching this goal, India has in-built efficacy towards matching the standards of frugal innovation. Therefore, if groomed properly, India will pioneer in delivering frugal products by reducing overall cost of ownership and simultaneously increasing robustness, user-friendliness and economies of scale of the product.
• Bringing investment in Research & Development – Through AGNIi, we have been working with R&D labs of the country. This gave me many opportunities in facilitating technology transfer of innovations from food processing sector to water purification and thus taking the technologies from lab to market. As a result of this, while few technologies helped a startup in expanding its product portfolio for getting better market share, other solutions abetted an international development organization in solving the water contamination problems. Though our research institutes have bright talents in bringing out innovative solutions, they often get suppressed due to lack of funding opportunities. As research and development is a key in accelerating self-reliant economy, increase in more public-private research collaborations are vital. If nurtured well, such alliances will decrease India’s dependency for innovation on Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) and hence, making our products suitable for a more globalized market.