India can replace China as a leading low-cost, high-technology telecom and technology equipment supplier, provided it gets the right amount of government incentives and funding to compete with global players in the world market. The feeling that the government needs to strengthen the industry by helping it to come out of the financial depression, to make India a strong competitor to China was a dominant reflection by a panel in an ongoing series of webinars being organized by Foreign Correspondent Club South Asia (FCC).
FCC organized a special webinar on India’s campaign towards self-reliance with three leading business leaders: Mr CP Gurnani – MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, Mr Rajan Mathews – DG, COAI (Cellular Operators’ Association of India), and senior government official Dr Dinesh Tyagi- CEO, CSC e- Governance Services India Limited.
They also felt that policy initiatives, public-private partnership and an enabled entrepreneurship ecosystem down to the last mile are needed to leapfrog India towards an AtmaNirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) with a US$5-trillion economy.
Opening the session at the webinar CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra said: “Atma Nirbhar Bharat does not mean turning away from international trade. In fact, we want to become the enabler of international trade by taking lead in supply chain. India can adopt and change but we need leadership from the government in making Atma Nirbhar Bharat a reality. I am glad the Modi government has given a clarion call. We need to convert this into a momentum and increase consumption for India to be self-reliant now.”
Rajan Mathews, DG, COAI said: “We have talent and we must monetise our capacity to create value. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in terms of creating value within the country. We do not invest heavily in R&D and hence have been left behind in the IPR game. We have to incentivise R&D if we want to make Atma Nirbhar Bharat a reality. We must also consider Open Source as a serious business opportunity and become smarter at trade negotiations. There is a need to prioritise two-three specific industries as other countries have done. We must make credit cheaper and get money into the hands of people who can create value. We need to empower start-ups and individuals to develop our capacities.”
Dr Dinesh Tyagi- CEO, CSC e- Governance Services India Limited opined: “Our Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) from various parts of the country are doing wonders and done great work during Covid-19. We have created ICT-enabled rural enterprises in the country. We are working on all the services for rural people towards building empowered and digitally inclusive society. ‘Digital literacy’ through CSCs has emerged as a ray of hope for life of villagers. For those who are unable to earn their livelihood and are dependent, digital literacy has proved to be a boon by empowering them to be self-dependent. These life-changing transformations are being executed by the VLEs of Common Services Centres across rural swaths of India, transforming it into digitally inclusive and empowered society. Our VLEs are working as DBT: Digital Doctor, Digital Banker and Digital Teacher. CSC e-Grameen stores are being operated by one lakh VLEs. We procure the material locally and supply it to local community Kisan eMart. A farmer can directly sell to consumers. Farmers are being empowered through various initiatives of CSC. With the help of technology, we are building Atam Nirbhar Bharat. It talks about empowerment of communities through CSCs.”
As the world faces an unprecedented crisis, India has chosen a renewed path of a self-reliant economy, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a Rs 20-Lakh Crore stimulus package “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” (Self Reliant India) which is 10 % of its economy.
(The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia is a group of more than a thousand journalists and photographers covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan and Tibet).