India is a country with a rich heritage, diversity and known for its splendid culture, is all set to revamp. The Prime Minister of India “Sri Narendra Modi” has announced the vision of
“Aatmanirbhar Bharat” by being “Vocal for Local”. On 12th may this vision was articulated by our honorable Prime Minister to make India a self-sufficient country. Vocal for local has been a buzzword that instills the spirit of nationalism among the people of our country. Vocal for local is defined as the localization of manufacturing facilities, strengthening local supply chains, discouraging import of goods from foreign countries, and paying more emphasis on domestic procurement & production. This was done as a result of Covid-19 headwinds. Our honorable Prime Minister felt that vocal about local is a matter of urgency to achieve ‘Atma-nirbharta’. This was announced simultaneously with the distribution of the economic stimulus of Rs 20 lac crores to revive our economy. Vocal for local is not a new norm that has sprouted out of the Covid-19 outbreak, rather it is an old philosophy that has its roots in the
“Swadeshi Movement” began in 1905 to boycott foreign goods. Vocal for local is not merely a handsome sounding platitude, but it is an action that is implemented to strengthen the domestic industries.
Vocal for local policy is an implementation to achieve the message of “Self-reliance” propagated by Mahatma Gandhiji to make India a self-sufficient country. Due to globalization many International brands like H&M, United Colours of Benetton are modifying their product line. But on the other hand, the Khadi sector is losing its shine. In today’s scenario, the Khadi sector is grappling with various issues- discrepancies in demand supply, GST of around 5%, and rising sales price making it less attractive. Khadi is a handmade cloth using yarn and charkha. It is the epitome of nationalism. In many of the Khadi institutions, the tax exemption has also been removed. Vocal for local will empower Khadi Industries through proper training of the workers, and by banning the import of silk. There are resources which India can utilize like muslins and there are Institutions that are engaged in the manufacturing of Khadi products and they excelled in their product lines. Such institutions are 2600 in number and there are some specific categories in khadi textiles that no machine can manufacture anywhere else in the world. Vocal for locals is a great weapon to preserve the heritage products of India. Through this platform, the Khadi, Aggarbatti, and other small and medium industries will prosper. In my opinion, through this policy Khadi as well as other industries will have their doors open for marketing their products via the e-market portal. The khadi product portfolio has generated around 4000 customers. There are several products like facemasks, herbal soaps, wristwatches, green tea medicines, etc which were purchased by the customers in 2020. Thus, it gained a great amount of visibility as well.
Vocal for local is quintessential for generating employment. Jobs were severely affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. E.g.: in Khadi Industries, around 41 training centers and the industry witnessed a halt in the research and development activities. As a result of this, there was an increase in the attrition rate of the workers in the industry. Not only Khadi industries but it was also seen in all other MSMEs as well because it is the second-largest generator of employment after the agriculture sector. Due to the lockdown, the MSME sector was in the doldrums because of the liquidity crunch, lack of demand, cash flow issues, and their earnings were impacted by almost 20-30%. They were not able to produce goods due to lack of demand, not able to finance due to piling-up of debt to be repaid, not able to procure raw materials, and they either switched to essential commodities like face masks or hand sanitizers to survive or they paid low wages or fired the workers. This led to the loss of jobs. Vocal for local is a savior for the unemployed youth. The strategy attempts to weather the storm created by the Covid-19 pandemic and will bring employment back to track. Vocal for locals will also solve the problem of unemployment and will train workers at an additional cost. There will be numerous industries that will take the unemployed workers into the limelight by providing employment and it will try to avoid migration of workers by setting up industries in their city or village. IASCSkill India is entrusted with the responsibility to train the laborers. Effective need recognition leads to innovation. A Start-up named ‘Killerlaunch’ played the role of a harbinger to promote Vocal for local policy. This is a recruitment portal that analyzed that employment rates will decrease at 20%, so after recognizing that there was the need to develop a portal to provide job seekers employment to bridge the unemployment gap. In this way, it led to innovation where Job seekers can have their queries resolved and be transparent. This platform not only provides jobs but also internships to students, runs influencer programs, and also makes the profile attractive to enhance one’s chance of selection and it eliminates the tedious process of creating a resume through its unique feature.
Vocal for local is a powerful capsule to revive the economy and steer our economy by boosting entrepreneurship in the direction of growth. In my opinion, as the youth of India, we have a lot on our plate. We have to shoulder the responsibility to fulfill the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat along with the Government of India. This includes: becoming a change agent, a job creator, and a trailblazer. One such example is the Pune-based Start-up ‘EMotorad’. It designed an electric cycle that is high-end yet affordable to spread the awareness to use clean energy vehicles. Many of us would be thinking that they have sourced the raw material i.e., batteries from other countries. But this was not the case with this Start-up who is in line with the Vocal for local vision and successfully hit the nail on the head by locally sourcing the batteries and manufacturing. They bolster their in-house business intelligence, knowledge of EV, manifested leadership. Thus, they found that there is a dependence on outside countries for purchasing raw materials and they corrected it by local sourcing. Vocal for local is important to correct the trade deficit which soared to 26% in December 2020. It should act as a global marketing strategy for India to make Indian products globally recognized. The Pune-based Startup sold the e-cycle in almost 72 countries. India has its handicraft industry which has revived its position and exports have also increased. The ailing MSMEs will get fuel to function effectively through relief package under Vocal for local strategy. To bolster research and development and to ensure global presence, the Government of India also set up Fintech Hub in GIFT city in Gandhinagar, Gujarat to make Fintech globally recognized. In the field of Vaccine, the Pune-based Serum Institute has done wonders in vaccine distribution and it is also exporting it to other countries. Vocal for local also leads to spreading awareness about the use of certain products. One such example is from the city of Indore. When there was less awareness about Homeopathy treatment than two diligent doctors of Indore started ‘Aayushman Homeopathy Centre’ for treatment. Soon people became aware and they recommended it to other patients. These doctors were conferred with the award by the CM of Madhya Pradesh for their research and arduous task to make the treatment more accessible and effective for the patients.
Vocal for local spreads awareness and education about Intellectual property rights. Since many innovations are happening in India. India is known for its exotic fruits, Thirubhuvanam sarees which add glory to the culture of India. There comes a sense of urgency for the protection of the brand name and logo. According to my, through Vocal for Local, these traders will also become educated in the application of geographical Indication tag and its importance. GI tag means these traders who produce these sarees can only produce it and they have rights and no other person can copy this. Through vocal about local, these traders can rest assure themselves that no other country can use their formula and ensure protection.
We as the concerned youths of our country should make Vocal for local a massive success, increase MSMEs contribution from 30% of GDP to 60% of GDP (also focused in budget 2021), preach apps which are local like Panther, Koo app which is akin to Twitter. It helps to share views in all the Indian languages and is awarded as the Aatmanirbhar app. Each youth of our country should represent as a marketing agent to promote our Indian goods and also ban imports from China. Let us protect ourselves from global brands by being brave and be vocal for local so that we can ride the crest of the wave by making it successful.
-Sangini Jha (Jaipuria Institute of Management, Indore)