By Apurva Mayank:
This Diwali I will not boycott Chinese products and this does not make me any less nationalist. I want my country’s economy to grow. I want India to walk towards the path of growth and development. Having said that, I do not see the boycott of Chinese products in any way to be a rational approach that will benefit our nation. The social media is flooded with images and posts asking Indian citizens to boycott Chinese products. A point which should be remembered is that the boycott was initiated when China opposed the United Nations (UN) ban on JeM Chief Masood Azhar.
Calling a boycott of Chinese products is neither a good nor a bad decision, it is just stupid.
It’s too late to boycott. Money is already with the Chinese manufacturers and if these products are not sold in the market just due to a boycott, it will be a tremendous loss for the traders and will eventually be a loss for the Indian economy.
Chinese products are cheap when compared to Indian products. A boycott of Chinese goods is not going to make Indian products cheap and competitive. It will remove competition instead and Indian businesses will have a monopoly. It could even lead to bad products, goods and services. Public Sectors Undertakings of the Indian government before liberalisation is a classic example of it.
As they are cheap, they are easy to purchase. Remember, people in India may not be able to buy expensive jute bags. Chinese poly-bags might be a much better alternative. The middle class of Indian society will not have problems with the boycott. However, if there is a lack of availability of Chinese products, poor people will have to sacrifice the most.
There will not be any government support to the boycott for two reasons. Firstly, it will be against the protocols of the World Trade Organisation. The costs for which may be heavy to bear for the Indian government. Secondly, Indian government’s developmental plans also depend on Chinese products. For example. in the field of solar power generation.
China is the king of manufacturing. The chances are extremely low that a modern commercial gadget or device does not have a single component that is not made in China. Till what extent are we going to boycott Chinese goods? Obviously, there will only be a level till which the middle class won’t mind a boycott. No boycott of Xiaomi products but boycott for Diwali lights.
A boycott is not the solution and saying that boycott will shield the domestic industry and provide it with opportunity and time to flourish is not even possible now. However, this technique has been tried in the past, before the adoption of the New Economic Policy. It had failed utterly then. Many Indian players, during that time, just enjoyed the monopoly and provided the citizens with bad goods and services. Chinese products are important for healthy competition. If it is unhealthy in any way, the government has the power to check it. Just like it did in the case of steel import.
Instead of a boycott, supporting Indian businesses so that they can compete at the international level is the need of the hour. Imparting skill development, which is taken up by the government, to even generating awareness about the schemes and policies among fellow Indians is needed. Do not boycott Chinese products but help people in small enterprises. Understand how they can efficiently use electricity. By replacing old bulbs with LED lights. This will make the cost of the product come down. Do not boycott Chinese products but promote people like Arunachalam Muruganantham. He is a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu. He started selling low-cost sanitary pads and generated awareness about traditional unhygienic practices in rural India. Do not boycott Chinese products but promote financial inclusion programmes and schemes such as Bank Sakhi and projects like Kudumbashree to reduce poverty and increase the purchasing power of poor Indians.
I will not boycott Chinese products this Diwali. Perhaps even many in many more Diwalis to come. For me, this boycott is not the solution to the problem. I would rather help Indian businesses by making them more effective, efficient and competitive. Maybe, in the near future, there will be a Diwali when we do not have to even think of boycotting Chinese products as Indian products will be our first choice in every aspect.