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How Atmanirbhar Is Bharat: Sectors To Help India Compete With The World

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Atmanirbhar Bharat officially kicked off during the Covid-19 era on May 12, 2020, when Hon’ble PM announced a relief package of Rs 20 lakh crore, which was about 10% of India’s GDP at that time. Of course, now it would be around 13-14% due to the economic recession that countries world over are facing.

The immediate motive of this campaign is making India a self-reliant country as much as possible by utilising the areas of comparative advantage. There are many fields that are going to be covered under it immediately and some others will catch up eventually. Major areas that are going to benefit India under this scheme are as follows:

Food And Agriculture Industry

Hard Work in The Field by Small Farmers

Food and agriculture industry is the driver of the Indian economy, contributing to about 16-17% since the beginning of 21st century. The share of agriculture increased to 19.8% in 2020-21 from 17% in 2019-20. Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) were launched to boost sustainable development of fisheries sector. They will be implemented in a period of five years (2020-21 to 2024-25).

The industry is a primary source of livelihood for about 60% of Indians and the problem is not insufficient production. The problem lies in the management of the agricultural and food sector. Silos have been overflowing with grains ever since we started reaping the benefits of the Green Revolution. India’s rank in Global Hunger Index in 2019 is 102 out of 117 qualifying countries. Our beloved neighbour Pakistan has got a rank of 94 and appears to feed its people well even after taking huge amounts of loan from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, China, Asian Development Bank and the list goes on. The problem has not been production, storage and transportation, the problem has been in the grains reaching the plate of the people of the country.

The share of exports for this sector has been the least as well. The share was less than 1% in 1991 and rose to just 2.6 in 2014. Although agri commodities have national markets, laws and practices under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA, 1995) and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act make marketing of agri commodities riskier and less efficient.


rafale jet land in india

India has become the world’s third biggest military spender in the world with a budget of $71 billion. This has also made India world’s fourth largest arms importer, sad but harsh truth. Things started changing after talks of privatisation of the defence sector and implementation, though it has been in a scarce amount. Nonetheless, it is better to have something than nothing. Corporatisation of the ordnance factory board and listing it in the stock market is a milestone. Moreover, the FDI limit has been pushed to 74% from the present 49%.

A list of weapons has been created that will be banned from imports and indigenisation of spare parts that were being imported. The most recent developments being ASMI (9mm machine pistol), Arjun Main Battle Tanks, Astra (beyond visual range air to air missile) and the list goes on.

Imports of India have gone down by 39% from 2010 and with new policies being implemented, Indian defence looks pretty solid to contribute to her economy. The DRDO, along with its Russian counterpart NPOM, has successfully made versions of Brahmos that can be launched from from any of the three platform and export deals with countries such as Vietnam and Philippines have already been signed to check Chinese naval dominance in South China sea.

Manufacturing And Infrastructure


Probably the sector that lags behind the most among them all. Latest estimates on Gross Value Added (GVA) have mentioned that the industrial sector is expected to record a growth of -9.6% with an overall contribution in GVA of 25.8% in 2020-21. Since we are so fond of comparing our economy with China, let’s have a short comparative study.

China got independence two years after India became independent and has still managed to achieve supremacy in the field of manufacturing and Infrastructure in Asia. What China did is that it focused on liberalisation of the market that came way later in India. Negligible regulatory factors such as fixed working hours, environmental regulations, child labour, minimum wage, health and safety norms don’t apply in China, artificial depression of the Chinese currency to invite investment and setting up of marketsby foreigners in China has played in its favour.

India, however, has launched schemes such as PMKVY to give the youth of the country at least a basic skill-set because the trend of the Indian youth opting to go into the service sector after getting a technical degree is not declining because of lack of infrastructure and employment opportunities for them.

To make India truly Atmanirbhar, Indian youth with techinical knowledge should be promoted to do skill enhancement and be provided with programmes and incentives to keep learning and exploring their field of interest. India has one of the highest number of people in the working age, a demographic factor which is highly in our favour to turn ourselves into a world factory. But for this to happen, this area of concern must improve leaps and bounds.


This sector’s significance has been constant and the co-pilot of our economy along with agriculture and agri-based industries. The share of services in our GDP has been constantly improving, especially since liberalisation policies of 1991. Rapid growth in the service sector after regulations and removing policy bottlenecks in 1991 has led to India’s increased penetration of the world services market over the past two decades, reflecting India’s growing competitiveness in the world service market, especially in the post-2000 period.

There has been a diversification of the services export basket, with the emergence of segments such as financial, insurance, communication, and construction services. Overall, India’s services exports have become more broad-based over the past decade.

Services liberalisation has, however, not been a smooth process in India. One such segment is retail, which to date remains only partially open to FDI. Likewise, legal services remain closed to foreign firms and service providers due to resistance from the concerned regulatory body. There is, however, concern over the sustainability of a services-led growth process and the current pattern of services growth, which largely stems from exports of skill-based services. The prevailing view is that for services growth to be sustained, the sector cannot remain dependent on external demand. It must also be driven by internal demand.

Health And Welfare 

booming career opportunity

Healthcare and welfare have taken the central stage finally, with the Budget 2020-21. The once-in-a-century outbreak (Covid-19) has taught the world some lessons which, if paid attention to, can make way for an ideal world-like scenario. There has been an increase in allocation for healthcare by 137% from last year’s budget and the government of India has promised to enhance the healthcare infrastructure under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

One such policy that has given some relief in the healthcare and welfare is the PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) As per reports by the government, states that have adopted PMJAY and an enhanced the health insurance coverage have fared better in infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, under-5 mortality rate, and other factors for improving the mother and child care.

The Economic Survey 2020-21 shows that the progress made under BNI (Basic Necessities Index) has improved for a majority of states. It also shows that 74% of outpatient care and 65% of hospitalisation is provided through the private sector in urban India.


The National Health Mission launched by former PM Dr Manmohan Singh has been a successful mission because of which it has been extended by the present government to enhance the health and nutrition sector in the under-cared rural areas of India. The National Health Portal launched by the government provides authentic information about various diseases, symptoms, cure and health tips along with health insurances.

The Telemedicine facility launched during the lockdown is another example of atmanirbharta in the field of innovation and medicine. There are a good number of measures taken by the government of India in the health and welfare area after being hit by the pandemic and realising that health is wealth is much more than just a proverb.


Overall, India’s attempt at making herself atmanirbhar has been mildly successful. However, it is just a start and continuing it across all fields, especially in those sectors where we have comparative advantage, might result in making India a strong, self-reliant country. But along with that, the government must not forget to promote growth in sectors where India lacks the most by giving fiscal incentives and intervening time and again in form of government policies to remove hurdles from the producer’s path.

Alongside, the government also carries on its shoulders the responsibility of creating an internal demand for home-grown goods and promoting it with campaigns like ‘Vocal for local’, which might result in a surge in demand for domestic goods. This process has full potential if tapped into well, and will have great benefits for the Indian economy in the long run. Hope we all are up for it.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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