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Is The Indian Corporate World Going To Be Ruled By Indian Players Alone?

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By Anjali Tripathi

India dodged the idea of a closed economy back in 1991 when India opened up the economic avenues to the private sector entities and foreign organisations. The Liberalisation, Privatisation, Globalisation policy opened the doors of the Indian economy for the global players and provided a chance for the private industries to expand.

Publicly owned organisations, where government ownership was above 50%, were reduced due to their non-performance and a new, consumeristic India came into the picture.

Fast forward to 2021, India is struggling to maintain economic balance due to the pandemic. Growth is at the lowest level and foreign investment is also not relaying towards India due to poor economic growth.

However, while we are discussing foreign investment and international entities, is India moving towards a domesticised economy? Though India’s ease of doing business ranking is high, yet the policies and current politico-financial trends hint otherwise.

What Is A Domesticised Economy?

modi and adani
Representative Image.

A domesticised economy is one where the economy is privatised, but the global players are restricted to enter the market.

India is a member of the World Trade Organization and its several agreements, which means that India can’t make any policies that restrict international trade. Tax, as well as non-tax barriers, can’t be imposed on international trade by India indiscriminately.

When we discuss the domesticised economy, we aren’t discussing tariff or non-tariff barriers. In India, the domesticised economy is being attempted by government negligence and ignorance towards international players and excessive support to the domestic industries.

Yet, the domestic industries won’t be completely benefitted. The benefits will be extended only to the megalomaniac industrialists and the small and medium scale industries will falter.

How Is India Trying To Achieve A Domesticised Economy?

From the past politico-financial trends, it can be concluded that India is making all efforts towards making the Indian economy domesticised.

In the GVK arbitration, the matter was that the Bidvest group didn’t extend the right of first refusal towards the GVK group while concluding a deal of acquisition of an Indian airport by the Adani-owned GMR. After a long legal battle, GMR took over the Mumbai airport, making Adani group India’s largest airport infrastructure company.

In another case, where Jio was concerned, the Competition Commission of India disregarded the important principle of predatory pricing. Predatory pricing is when the cost of a product or service is lesser than its average variable cost.

Though Jio’s services were at a cost lesser than the average variable cost incurred by it, CCI said that the act done by Jio is accounted for under penetrative pricing. Penetrative pricing is when a company enters the market and offers a product at a low cost to make a place for itself in the market.

Yet, despite the guise of penetrative pricing, Jio managed to acquire a great share of the telecom market and put other telecom companies in jeopardy, including Vodafone.

Another example of a domesticised economy can be found in the two leading arbitration cases — the Vodafone arbitration case and the Cairn arbitration case. In both cases, the Indian government imposed retrospective taxation on Vodafone and Cairn Energy PLC.

Retrospective taxation is when a tax liability is created for that period when that tax didn’t exist. This is against the principle of fair and equitable treatment mentioned under the India-UK Bilateral Treaty.

Image provided by the author.

These disputes lead to arbitrations where India lost. In the Cairn arbitration, the company is now ceasing Indian assets abroad to recover the amount mentioned in the arbitral award as the Indian government is refusing to pay any themselves.

These incidents speak that the foreign entities operating in India aren’t allowed to expand. Rather, their existing operations are halted by the acts of the government directly or indirectly. This would ultimately demoralise the foreign entities to further invest in India.

In the end, the Indian economy would be left with existing industries, which would expand and limit options for the Indian consumers. This would finally create a domesticised economy, where options and opportunities would be limited.

Note: The article was originally published here.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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