Indian Railways has floated the revised Tender of semi high speed 44 Vande Bharat trains sets and this time it has an indigenous pitch. Only Companies registered in India can apply and will have to quote their costs in Indian Rupees. Also, the trains built by the winner are supposed to have at least 75 % domestic components.
On the face of it, it can be termed as a step towards achieving Aatmanirbhar Bharat. However, who is going to be the biggest loser in this particular Make in India thrust can’t be overlooked. Previously, the tender was cancelled because a Chinese joint venture firm had emerged as the only foreign player among the six contenders for the supply of electrical equipment and other items for the 44 train sets.
Beyond Vande Bharat- India’s Re Adjustments
The Vande Bharat tender instance is not a one-off incident. India is evidently using this pandemic to readjust many market irregularities that allowed the Chinese to dominate, thus taking big strides towards making India Aatmanirbhar.
- India is dependent on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. A Production Linked Incentive Scheme was launched to reduce the dependency both for drugs and medical equipment.
- The demand for toys in India has created a huge market. Unfortunately, this too dominated by the Chinese toys. However, measures are now in place to change this situation. India announced quality control measures on imported toys. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has encouraged the domestic industry to focus on educative toys for children. Our previous article has given a detailed picture on this development. Read An Aatmanirbhar Opportunity for the Indian Toy Industry – Govt Places Strict Quality Control on Imported Toys for more.
- Another area where Chinese market dominance was a matter of concern was Bamboo and Agarbatti. Here also India has taken measures to safeguard Indian interests. In June 2020, the government hiked the import duty on Bamboo imported for making incense sticks. This curbed the import of Bamboo from China and the benefit of it has gone to India’s North-eastern states. On the other hand, it took measures to help India’s artisansinvolved in making Agarbattis. Ten clusters under SPURTI are to be set up at a cost of about ₹50 crore to benefit 5,000 Artisans. It was in 2011 that the import duty on Bamboo was reduced from 30% to 10% that led to the closure of Indian units.
- India recently mandated random sampling of imported light-emitting diodes (LED) and control gears for LED products. This has been viewed as a move to discourage imports of electronic items from China.
- India’s measure of banning Chinese apps not only created a huge market opportunity for desi apps; it also delivered a blow to the Chinese global app market. The US also followed India’s example and set a term to TikTok either to sell stakes to any American companies or face the ban.