Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sanctioned Rs 20 lakh crore for the Atma Nirbhar Bharat project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sanctioned Rs 20 lakh crore for the Atma Nirbhar Bharat project

The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in his most recent address to the nation shared his dreams for a New India like a true visionary. A nation that intends to be a global leader, a global ideal, a global idol would require the combined effort of each and every citizen, each and every entity and institution. It is with this thought that his clarion call to make India self-reliant and even so, to make the nation resilient to any and every economic shock was followed by a full-fledged deftly drafted plan shared by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry ofFinance for the diversified spending of some Rs. 20 lakh crores.

The past months have witnessed not just a single city, district, state or nation but the entire world grappling with an unprecedented pandemic. While the lockdown and theefforts of health and administration officers are still trying to deal with the ongoing situation, what was needed was a new road, a plan of action to guide the nation and to set the wheels of growth and development once again in motion. While the Prime Minister himself quoted Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, that the whole the world is my family, another shloka which befits the moment comes from the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata which reads as follows:

अपि शाकं पचानस्य सुखं वै मघवन गृहे। अर्जितं स्वेन वीर्येण न व्यपाश्रित्य कञ्चन॥: (हे मघवन (इन्द्र​), किसी का सहारा लेकर नहीं अपितु, अपने मेहनत से अर्जित साग को पकाने वाले के घर में सुख होता है।)

This Parva offers contrasting views on traditional and ritualistic, as well as knowledge and personal development on vice and virtues. An important part of this chapter is this verse which focuses on the self-reliance of a person. The shloka propagates the idea of accepting something lower solely earned by you than something which is better but makes you rely on someone.

The global pandemic in the middle of an economic slowdown has brought with it a sense of awakening as to the vulnerabilities of each nation in what we had proudly started calling the global village. Be it the spread of the pandemic or the sharing of economic shocks, each country has realized that with its sharing of resources and other aspects with the entire world, the sharing of issues has also increased considerably.

In view of the same, the thought promoted forth by our Prime Minister is to become Aatma Nirbhar or self-reliant which in turn shall enhance our resilience, resilience to any and every kind of economic shocks that may occur around the globe but not impact the Indian mainland. For it is a reliance on self that shall beget resilience in self.

If the very topic or the concept of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ is to be deliberated, the history of this magnanimous nation has been definitely a witness of the same. One of the most important aspects or movements which rendered the Indian nation independent was its Swadeshi Movement, which was the then made the clarion call by Father of the Nation, Shri Mahatma Gandhi.

The resultant of the movement was that not only did India gain independence, but at the same time, each enterprise, howsoever big or small realized its true potential and partnered in the growth story of the nation.

While the gates of the country were opened for foreign investment decades ago, the Make in India campaign launched a few years ago by the government comes across as one such step to getting back to the roots.

The modern-day agenda of AatmaNirbhar Bharat comes with a tag line that reads ‘tough times require tough decisions’. And that said, the entire schema of developing a self-reliant nation with a package sum amounting to 10% of the country’s GDP, would rest on the five pillars of Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography and Demand.

An economy, which brings in quantum jump and not just incremental change, an infrastructure which becomes the identity of modern India, a system which is based on the 21st century technology-driven arrangements, a vibrant demography of the world's biggest democracy which is our strength; and a strengthened demand and supply chain utilized to its full capacity.

The decision to invest strategically in all these sectors of the economy seems to have struck a fine balance between managing the fiscal position and providing much needed support to the economy by reducing the immediate cash outgo while simultaneously extending support to the entities and intermediaries with sufficient liquidity.

From broadening the basic definitions of MSMEs, providing them collateral-free loans to introducing special liquidity scheme including partial credit guarantee scheme for the NBFCs; from reducing compliance burden under the Companies Act, 2013 and lowering the penalties for defaults to increasing the minimum threshold limit for initiating insolvency proceedings; from providing relief to farmers and self-help groups, to according boost to housing Sector and reaffirming Labour Codes; from strengthening infrastructure logistics and capacity building to amendments in the

Essential Commodities Act; the list of reforms touch upon the smallest and biggest of enterprises of the nation. With each agenda, programme, and scheme rolled out by the Government of India, each individual, each business, each professional and each the professional body need to understand and realize their responsibilities as partners in the growth of the nation.

The professionals serving the nation with extreme forthrightness while understanding the true meaning of the call given by the Prime Minister to the entire nation, need to come forward and lead the nation on making the nation self-reliant or ‘AatmaNirbhar’.

To put it comprehensively, the dawn of a new India is possible only when each one of us stands hand in hand with this notion and this idea of the Government of India and takes all the steps possible in marching ahead on the path of holistic growth of thenation. And it is with these combined efforts on the part of all of us, we shall mark the DAWN OF A NEW INDIA – AN AATMANIRBHAR BHARAT For as the old saying goes, “Dependence on others makes us lose, while reliance on Self gains for us everything.”

(The writer is the former National President of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India )

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