Atmanirbhar Bharat and Atmanirbhar Assam: A perspective

On the 12th of May, 2020, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had mentioned of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ which refers to a self-reliant India, during his announcement of the Coronavirus pandemic-related economic package of Rupees Twenty Lakh Crore.

Following this, Atmanirbhar Assam, too, had been introduced in our state, with a similar vision and mission.

With an approach to empower the sector of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (MSMEs), the union government had approved changes in the definition of the same. In the first cabinet meeting in the second year of the Modi government, it was decided that MSMEs with an investment of Rs 1 crore and turnover of Rs 5 crore will be classified as micro-units. Units with an investment of Rs 10 crore and turnover of Rs 50 crore will be classified as small units while those with an investment of Rs 50 crore and turnover of Rs 250 crore will be classified as medium units. This provides a major boost to the aforementioned particular sector.

MSMEs in Assam received Rs 1,317 crore under this scheme. There are 82,816 MSMEs in the state.

Aiming at industrial and agricultural revolution, post COVID-19, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a number of structural reforms pertaining to industries. Commercial mining of coal by the private sector, Enhanced private investment in the mineral sector, Hike in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing, Privatisation of electricity distribution companies in Union Territories to begin with and which is to be extended to states later, etc. have been some of the key announcements.

Atmanirbhar Assam, in line with the centre, had been initiated in our state, so as to supplement and provide impetus to the scheme aimed at benefits and reforms.

To begin with, the state government had formed a committee to work on how to supplement the schemes of Atmanirbhar India and transform the same to Atmanirbhar Assam. It is aimed at to leave a positive impact on the lives of at least fifty percent of the state’s approximately three and a half crore population.

“Vocal for Local” has been one of the key slogans since its inception. One needs to concentrate on the potential of self, than reach out for help. Relying primarily on the resources within hand is not only a strength, but also a matter of pride. Self-reliance does not refer to cutting oneself from the rest of the world, but to being a bigger and more important part of the ecosystem, independently.

For example, in reference to our state, Agriculture forms the backbone of Assam’s economy. Practical observation points out that with COVID-induced lockdown, the farmers have been badly hit. Though e-commerce has rescued some, and home delivery of the products to the consumers in the cities arranged by the district administration has been of some respite; there is still a section, underprivileged.

In such a situation, coordinated efforts through a supply chain management system can bring about changes among the farmers. Thorough implementation of green house, polyhouse farming or drip irrigation can be of much help. Youths may be attracted into agriculture through diversification of the sector. This way, the crisis of unemployment may also be dealt with through self-employment.

According to media reports, the Finance Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma had stated that ‘Atmanirbhar Assam’ would help to mitigate the woes of the poor people who lost their jobs. Farmers can avail working capital through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for their relief. Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) can be set up with proper training and capacity building. Also, 20 lakh youths who had taken Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (MUDRA) loan or Kisan Credit Card Scheme (KCC) loan can avail the concessional rate through interest subvention.

The introduction of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and subsequent ‘Atmanirbhar Assam’ and its thorough implementation will not only take India and Assam respectively to greater heights but also encourage to accredit ourselves as a supporting self-sufficient pillar, at large.

‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Assam’ are each, a blessing in disguise.

Meanwhile, optimistic approach to habits and lifestyle has always been found to be a boon, and this shall be no exception.

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