India is the only country to unleash second generation reforms provided by COVID-19

New  Delhi: Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Govt of India today said that Atmanirbhar Bharat is all about self-reliance which is directly related to creating capabilities. “Self-reliance can never happen without adequate capabilities. Capabilities are built only by competing with the best. The idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat is not anathema to competition, it coexists with competition,” he added.

Addressing ‘Policy Session- Realizing the Atmanirbhar Bharat Dream’, during the FICCI MASSMERIZE 2020, Dr Subramanian said that Atmanirbhar Bharat is about relying on the private sector enterprise along with the efficiency which they bring. “The reforms signal the intent of the government to rely on the markets. Reforms like IBC, Labour Codes, farm bills require a strong political will to see that the big benefits benefit the majority class. It is also signal from the government to do what is economically right and beneficial in the long run for the country,” he said.

Dr Subramanian said that with the reforms launched in the last few months, India is the only country that utilized the opportunity provided by the current crisis to unleash to the second-generation reforms. “These reforms are focused on factor markets and not like other reforms which focused on product markets post 1991 era,” he added.

He said that it is imperative for India to tap into its comparative advantages including the large market and large labour force to create demand and create employment opportunities in both the primary and the secondary sector. “Tertiary sector has done very well so far, but primary and secondary sector are important for employment generation,” Dr Subramanian added.

Explaining further the benefit of Atmanirbhar Bharat, he said that we must focus on the volume model under which the products and services are designed to cater to a larger section of the society. “With small margin and catering to a large scale is the comparative advantage that India provides under the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. This opportunity has not been tapped to its fullest except by FMCG and micro finance industry. Industry must tap this potential by creating products and services to play this volume game,” noted Dr Subramanian.

He further said that there are enough opportunities for ethical wealth creation to be done in India. “The government has made reforms like labour codes and in agri sector. India Inc now needs to respond,” Dr Subramanian said.

Mr Devendra Chawla, Co-Chair, FICCI Retail and Internal Trade Committee & MD and CEO, Spencer’s Retail Limited and Nature’s Basket Ltd said that under the Atmanirbhar Bharat, an eco-system is being formed for the manufacturing sector. It is important for India to have a strong manufacturing base in order to increase the exports from the country. We need to focus on becoming a value-added manufacturing economy with high skill sets, he emphasized.

Mr Chetan Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Public Policy, Amazon said that Atmanirbharta is multi-dimensional and the recent reforms announced by the government will help the industry in the long-term. For e-commerce sector to grow further, there is a need for the industry to take note of the animal spirit that exits in rural India and hinterlands and tap the potential, he added.

Mr Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President & Head, Flipkart Wholesale & Walmart India said the pandemic has brought to light the ability for digital companies to innovate. MSMEs play an important role in the economy and technology along with other digital tools will help them tap the domestic and global supply chains, he said.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, Partner – Public Policy and Tax, Deloitte India moderated the webinar.