Role of Women in Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India)
Prof(Dr) Meinam Binota *
What is Atmanirbhar Bharat?
Much has been said and discussed about Atmanirbhar Bharat in the last couple of months since its formulation by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modiji in May 2020. What is it and what does it visualise?
It ia a vision of making India a self-reliant nation that the Prime Minister formulated the “Atmanirbhar Bharata Abhiyan” or “Self-Reliant India Mission” and announced it during the Coronavirus pandemic related economic package on 12th May of this year (2020).
While addressing the annual general meeting for Confederation of Indian Industry, PM Modi said that structural reforms will change the course of our country to become self-reliant through a systemic, planned, integrated, inter-connected and futuristic process.
He further stated that a high-growth trajectory is possible only through Intent inclusion, investment, infrastructure and innovation and by coming together of all the farmers, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Regarding Atmanirbhar Bharat, Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that “self-reliant India does not mean cutting off from rest of the world”.
Elaborating further, the law and IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, also said that self-reliance does “not mean isolating away from the world. Foreign direct investment is welcome, technology is welcome.
self-reliant India. translates to being a bigger and more important part of the global economy.”
As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, the government has declared for an inclusive and extensive coverage within MSMEs, boosting scope for private participation in numerous sectors, increasing FDI in the defence sector, and other sectors such as the solar manufacturers sector.
Some achievements so far through Atmanirbhar Bharat:
1. The PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) industry in India has become a Rs 7,000 crore in two months, the second largest after China. It grows from zero production before March, to 1,50,000 pieces a day by the beginning of May.
2. Mukesh Ambani announced in mid-July that Jio has created a complete 5G solution using 100 per cent homegrown technologies and solutions. It will enable India to launch a world-class 5G service.
3. In July 2020, Apple announced to manufacturer one of their premium iPhone models in India for the first time.
4. The largest fund in the country worth Rs 21,000 crore was setup by the IIT Alumni Council with the aim of supporting the mission towards self-reliance.
Women and Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India)
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the life of every section of the society and especially the poor, daily wagers and women at large. The economic impact of this crisis is huge and has hit every sector in a big way. It is going to have a snowballing effect across the length and breadth of economic activities throughout the nation and beyond. In the on-going lockdown women are the silent sufferers.
Women are the backbone of society and have always played a positive role in shaping our society. Economic empowerment of women is the most viable solution to integrate women to the developmental goals of the nation and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The concept of ‘Vocal for Local’ is possible only when women, whose population is almost half of the total, are made to be the part of the program and participate equally in terms of economic activities.
It’s the reality of today that a big migrant population (inter as well as intra state) has returned to their villages and small towns; and are facing the issues of unemployment and livelihood. So, Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) has a role in women’s life and vice versa.
Hence, for the inclusion of women, it is mandatory to understand the current situations and challenges facing women; and accordingly take appropriate actions, recommendations and solutions to reach every woman at the grassroots level.
At the current stage and level of women empowerment, inclusion of women for a self-reliant India needs to envisage women from a broader categories as:
a) Fully established and economically self-reliant women
b) Women having certain skills or owning small establishment
c) Women in need of skill set and skill development.
Among these categories, women under category (b) and (c) must be identified properly and systematically provided with appropriate support for a Self-reliant India.
Following measures can be taken up for women along the line of Atmanirbhar Bharat
1. Commissioning a field study on COVID-19 impact on women’s livelihood across Sectors.
2. Skill development program for women under category (c)
3. Sustainable livelihoods and economic empowerment program for women in need
4. Technology based program specifically formulated for women and their participation
5. Partnering with social enterprises to employ skilled women
6. Support women in the micro and small businesses
7. Proper incubation and hand holding women entrepreneurs
8. Compulsory non-discriminatory and sexual harassment free workplaces
9. Most importantly, no favouritism; and supporting those appropriate and needy women.
A word or two may be highlighted here as to how the Atmanirbhar Bharat will be beneficial to the Manipuri Women vendors engaged in small time economic activities such as Vegetables vendors, Pan dukans, Handlooms, Tea seller etc. It is common knowledge that most of the small time women vendors are highly debted to local money lenders and not able to pay back the loans due to high interest rate.
There has been several instances of women committing suicides in different parts of Manipur due to their inability to pay back loans/ clear financial debts.
Many women in Manipur under BPL group are suffering from such kind of financial burdens. It is here that Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme can be very helpful and beneficial to Manipuri women as the scheme comes with very low interest rate coupled with 35% grant.
* Prof(Dr) Meinam Binota wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is is Chairperson, Manipur State Commission for Women(MSCW)
This article was webcasted on August 18 2020.