Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|June 2020
Autarky aka Aatma nirbhar!
Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency, usually applies to political states, societies, or to their economic systems. Autarky exists whenever an entity survives or continues its activities without external assistance or international trade. A self-sufficient economy is when a country is completely independent, produces its own goods, and does not import goods or services. Early state societies that can be regarded as autarkic include nomadic pastoralism and palace economy. Over time these economies also tend towards becoming less self-sufficient and more interconnected.
Modern economies are entwined with each other. They are open economies that interact with each other through the exchange of goods and services, knowledge, technology, culture, etc. Economic interdependence is a consequence of specialization or the division of labor. The participants in any economic system must belong to a trading network to obtain the products they cannot produce efficiently for themselves. Any change in such a network affects many participants so that the demand for various products and the incomes of the participants are interdependent. Global economic interdependence has grown exponentially in the span of a generation, as a result of great technological progress and associated policies that were aimed at opening national economies internally and externally to global competition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few days back when he announced the financial package to help ease the COVID-19 crisis made a big pitch for indigenous products, saying it would be a huge contributing factor to an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” – a self-reliant India. He said that the coronavirus crisis has taught us the importance of local manufacturing, market, and supply chain. He emphasized that local helped us to survive and that is why we have to make local our motto.
‘Swadeshi’ word was first used by Mahatma Gandhi during his fight for independence. At that time India was exploited and Indians were made to buy imported clothes made out of raw materials exported from India. After Independence, till 1991, the public sector was dominant and many things Indians made were used by the Indians. The policymakers for over three decades emphasized small, medium, and cottage industries to meet the domestic demand. In almost all the initial Five Year Plans, it was emphasized to give benefits to domestic small, medium, and cottage industries. Being self-sufficient and self-reliant was the main focus of all economic planning at that time. Import was done only where necessary keeping in mind that it will not harm the domestic industries.
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