Under its rule book mandated by ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ India is cutting its dependence on China

In a written reply to Rajya Sabya, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said India's imports from China during April-July 2020 decreased to US$ 16.60 billion from US$ 23.45 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, marking a dip of over 29 percent in the import of goods from China.

Items like electronic components, telecom instruments, computer hardware, industrial machinery for dairy, electric machinery, residual chemical, and allied products, consumer electronics, electronic instruments, fertilizers, and products of iron and steel--have been stopped coming from China.

Underlining the fact that it is in line with the center’s decision of making India self-reliant, Goyal said the government was committed to making Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India a success.

It is known that China is India’s biggest trading partner after the United States. India imports the majority of its electronic components. However, after the Galwan Valley faceoff, which was one of the deadliest clashes between India and China, the government noted that it cannot be business as usual with Beijing.

According to the data provided by the government, India has significantly reduced its dependence on China by over 43 percent in the imports of electronic components in April-July 2020 compared to the same quarter last year. Further, a dip of 30.33 percent is noted in the import of consumer electronics from China, followed by a reduction of 18.42 percent in the import of telecom instruments.

The center has time and again sent a clear message to China that business will be affected by the border tension. India has banned 224 Chinese applications to date for ensuring the safety and sovereignty of cyberspace. The Indian railways also canceled major contracts with Chinese firms.

In his letter to Rajya Sabha, Goyal noted that to minimize the impact of such disruptions, the government has taken steps to expand domestic capacities and has implemented policies to promote domestic manufacturing through the ease of doing business and Production Linked Incentives (PLIs) in select sectors including mobile phones and electronic components and medical devices and bulk drugs.

He further said that the center has also sensitized stakeholders to source critical imports from diversified sources through the active support of its missions.

It should be noted that India has ample of potential in the manufacturing sector and if the emotion of “boycotting Chinese products” sustains in the citizens of the country, and the government keeps on providing an environment to allow ease of manufacturing, India’s potential can be appropriately harnessed in the favor of making India self-reliant or Atmanirbhar.

According to the Indian Manufacturing Sector in India Industry Report 2020 by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, manufacturing has emerged as one of the high growth sectors in India. The report further noted that business conditions in the Indian manufacturing sector continue to remain positive.

“With the help of Make in India drive, India is on a path of becoming the hub for hi-tech manufacturing as global giants such as GE, Siemens, HTC, Toshiba, and Boeing have either set up or are in process of setting up manufacturing plants in India, attracted by India's market of more than a billion consumers and an increasing purchasing power. Cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India’s manufacturing sector reached US$ 88.45 billion during April 2000-March 2020,” the report said.

By harnessing India’s potential in the manufacturing sector, India has been able to reduce economic dependence on China. However, there is a long way to go, and with constant efforts from the government along with the citizens of the country, the dream of making a self-reliant India can be achieved.