TODAY -

Oxford and Aatmanirbharta

Free Thinker *



A few days back I read somewhere that our Prime Minister’s pandemic catchword “Aatmanirbhar“ has been picked up by an expert panel of Oxford dictionary and declared as the Hindi word of the year 2020.

According to a source the Oxford language experts panel consists of Kriti Agrawal, Poonam Nigam, Imogen Foxell and others. I was not there and even Shashi Tharoor was not included in the panel. But I don’t mind because normally I depend on Collins and Webster. Shashi may mind because he often uses Oxford.

Aatmanirbharta means “self reliance” according to Oxford. Before giving the meaning, Oxford people should have consulted the person who started using the term. Who knows the meaning could have a different connotation ? Now Oxford people validate it as the day to day struggle and achievements of innumerable Indians who deal with and survive the perils of the pandemic.

Initially the campaign of Aatmanirbhar Bharat seemed to aim at things like-economy, infrastructure, system vibrancy and population and demand keeping the main focus on domestic manufacturing, land, labor, liquidity and laws.

Finance Minister used ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as one of the key words in her budget of 2021. The budget discouraged many imports by increasing duties (to encourage local products). It gives priority to textiles acknowledging the importance of the Ministry and its sector; it has tremendous scope.

Emphasis on employment generation and manufacturing is understandable. Huge allocation in defense is also understandable. And 35,000 crore for Covid vaccines is also comprehended. But 2 lac for PLI schemes for 5 years need a little explanation. Lay men like me may require more inputs.

In his Presidential address on 29 January 2021 in the Joint Session of Parliament Kovindji made it very clear that “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is not just confined to manufacturing in India, but is also a campaign aimed at elevating the standard of living of every Indian as well as boosting the self confidence of the country”.

The goal of Atmanirbhar will be further strengthened by self reliance on agriculture. With this notion GoI in the last 6 years or so has made attempts to bring positive changes in the agriculture sector.

GoI has decided to implement the reco- mmendations of the Swa-minathan Committee report by increasing the MSP to at least 1.5 times of the cost of production. Today the GoI has increased the number of procurement centers in the country and quantity of procurement has also augmented manifold. To me Aatmanir-bhar is an ever expanding idea.

Again a pro-poor move is quite visible when PPF/GPF/CPF is targeted. These are the people who are looting the country by depositing huge amounts in the PF accounts and earn billions as interests. They should not be spared. After all they are hardly one crore in a billion. It does not make sense to pamper them.

The interest itself should be done away with. There are certain areas I fully agree with Nirmalaji-when she says “the Government has stretched its resources for the benefit of the poorest of the poor ”.

Suddenly I remembered that she is a product of that University which stands for the poor and hapless. It shows that proletariats and poors are not the monopoly of Yechury and Kanhaiya. Is it a crime to stand for the poor and helpless even if we are not Socialists or Communists ? I wish a grand success to the Garib Kalyan Yojana of the Prime Minister.

Finally my interest remains in the interest free (50 years) loans of hundreds of thousand crores distributed/distributing to the States . Let the future generation repay, at the moment let us enjoy Aatmanirbhar. Twelve thousand crore , is it true ?

Once again I earnestly request the Oxford people to consult the individual who has started the campaign of Aatmanirbhar Bharat before they add the word in their dictionary. Recognizing the term as the Hindi word of the year is fine. I am talking about the meaning. ‘Self reliance’ seems to be a superficial meaning. The scope of the term is much broader than self reliance.

To me it has something to do more than self . The canvas of Aatmanirbhar is much wider than what Oxford people think and assume. Anyways they can change the meaning of the term later when things become more clear to them.

22 countries have placed their orders for buying Covid vaccines from India. Three countries intend to buy Light Combat Aircraft Tejas from us. Can‘t you see the expansion of Aatmanirbharta ?


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 13 2021.



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