Atmanirbhar Bharat – Visions for 2020 for Importers, Exporters & Consumers 

Last Updated at: Feb 02, 2021
Atmanirbhar Bharat - Visions for 2020 for Importers, Exporters & Consumers
India is considering hiking import duties by 5%-10% on more than 50 items including smartphones, electronic components and appliances in the upcoming budget, to be tabled on 1st February, 2021. The move to increase import duties is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s self-reliant India campaign that aims to promote and support domestic manufacturing.


Recently, Sonam Wangchuk, the inspiring man behind the movie 3 Idiots popularised the idea of deleting all applications that trace their roots to China, elaborating on how Indians help fund Chinese aggression on Indian soldiers by supporting Chinese apps. Not long before, the Prime Minister of India declared India’s new aspiration for Atma Nirbharta – self-reliance. If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us – it is, that only our country’s national efforts that can help us tide. This is through the turbulent times of the global crisis. The package has been announced in various tranches. In this particular post, we outline what the Atma Nirbhar Package entails for three large stakeholders. In the Indian economic scenario – the Importers – Exporters, and the ultimate consumers. Further, trace how this new movement is expected to alter our daily consumption. 

Atma Nirbhar Bharat 2020 – What the reforms entail?

  • A 20 lac crore rupees package announcement by the Finance Minister recently, with its focus on five main pillars – Economy, Infrastructure, Demand, Vibrant Demography, and Arrangements drive by the 21st-century technologies. 
  • Just like the reforms in the 1990s, that focuses on Liberalisation and Privatisation, with an excessive focus on encouraging globalization. In India, through investments, foreign competition, the Atma Nirbhar Bharat suggests an almost anti stance. It expects to increase demand for locally manufacturing goods. Moreover, replace key input goods in various industries with Indian manufacturing ones. Channelize consumer demand towards what’s made within the borders of the country. 
  • The key sectors that the fourth tranche of announcements have focused on – our core infrastructures such as mining, defense, minerals, space, and aviation. 
  • A large part of the package is focused on improving agricultural supply chain efficiency. This would mean that not just the farmer, but also food processing companies, Agri-startups, self-help groups engaged in agricultural value addition would be empowered. 

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Revival of Industries

One of the foremost objectives of this new self-reliance mission is to reduce dependence on foreign inputs in Indian manufacturing. A lot of sectors in India that imported key raw materials from abroad included the pharmaceutical industry, the automobile and phone manufacturing units, the aviation sector, etc. So, while traditionally the focus has always been on establishing India as a global assembling, intermediary, and manufacturing hub. This focus is likely to shift to establish a global value chain with all key processes. Additionally, ingredients, inputs, and services require the final product to be from and within Indian resources. 

With the government focusing on increasingly empowering Indian startups in basic industries like power, steel, and mining by encouraging de-regulation, easier procedural norms, transparent bidding and greater market freedom, the Atmanirbhar Bharat, will only strengthen the Indian startup success.  

Thus, importers in the new few months may have to face hurdles in importing goods, as the government may choose to tighten its economic control via higher customs, duties, etc on international shipments. This is already in the recently increasing raids on international warehouses of e-commerce companies. This finds violating customs norms by under-declaring goods value. 

Vocal for Local

The bright side for exporters and Indian manufacturers is that they can carefully manoeuver their advertising and branding campaigns. In line with the “Made in India” objective. The government has been an advocating voice through its hashtags #VocalForLocal, which aims to promote often handmade, locally made, sustainable products that power the Indian growth story. There has also an upsurge in startups around connecting local stores, kiranas, and small companies with a wide range of consumers shopping online. 

Chinese shopping apps – where do we stand?

With Club Factory and Shein registering many times more downloads on app stores than most Indian shopping brands, the campaign is sure to fuel a sense of nationalism in aware buyers. While Chinese apps have been able to offer a great variety of clothes, accessories, and the latest trends. It is at less than half the price of domestic companies, they often lag in their delivery times. Indian authorities have also exposed a policy loophole whereby Chinese companies, such as Wish. This would export e-commerce shipments with the tag “gift” on it to prevent customs payment. 

Through a combination of consumer sensitization, carefully tweak in line with national aspirations of self-sufficiency, customs regulation, and restrictions on international shipping, It could reduce demand for sales originating from apps own by Chinese entities, in the months to come. 

Conclusion – Is being Atma Nirbhar enough?

Epicurus, the Greek Philosopher said “Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth” 

Despite the focus of self-sufficiency, the pandemic has shaken those that are self-employed with a double blow. For example, private taxi agencies that have huge loans to pay every month for maintaining large and small vehicles. And an increasing cost of paying drivers, cleaners. The story remains the same for those having their own small and large eating outlets, restaurants, hotels, cinema halls. However, there is no denying that an India wide self-sufficiency movement could encourage all of us to buy from Indian markets. This is from Indian companies and spends using Indian cards and wallets. While we cannot, and must not shut ourselves to opportunities of the world. Whether goods, services, or people, the key is to balance India’s economic interests with global benefits. 

This new wave of nationalism that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about, could go a long way. It will help India sustain its economic path of progress and provide impetus to early recovery. 


Avani Mishra is a graduate in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She qualified the Company Secretary course with an All India Rank 1 and is a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for her academic distinctions. She also holds a B.Com degree with a specialization in Corporate Affairs and Administration.