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I have been seeing posts and videos saying that let us stop buying Chinese products. This Diwali we shall not use any lights or Rakhi’s made in China. Instead some people are emphatically propagating to buy pure Indian products only. Well, we have been hearing of make in India, made in India, made for India, made by Indians and many such slogans. The reality is that we in India do not make goods which match the prices of Chinese goods. What we make don’t even last as long as a made in China product. The quality in our products is lacking. Cost of our product is also unaffordable, thus forcing us to look for alternatives elsewhere. We Indians also have a tendency to buy products which have an imported stamp. It may be made in Korea, US or Timbuktu; we love to buy that stuff or am I conjecturing too much. This, the inner voice in you can only tell.

Let us see the car purely made in India. The poor Ambassador has finally died its own death. The old work horse of the taxi people and the Indian Army, Hindustan Motors finally shut shop. HMT watches, where are they? I wore one with pride many moons back. Today, we hear of Bharat-Benz, Maruti-Suzuki, Ashok-Leyland, Swaraj-Mazda etc. These names are related to a foreign product or are in partnership with them. So are many of the banks. The Fords, Toyotas, Mercs and Hondas are pure foreign brands. Computers too are assembled in India. Name a brand which is pure Indian in mobiles or doesn’t use imported products in its components. For industries many chemicals are ex-import, technology is ex import, raw material too is ex import. Lesser said the better.

Take apparels, take cosmetics, take any product and you will find a foreign hand in that. I am not propagating Baba Ramdev products, though I love his biscuits and Sarson ka tel but just food for thought that we love to enjoy all things foreign. How many of us wear Khadi? I am sure there would be many. Our markets opened up, our currency stood its ground and products which were unheard of in India now are available at affordable prices.

Take the defence equipment. Aircrafts are American, French or Russian, tanks are Russian, missiles from Israel; war ships and submarines are from Britain, Russia or France. Bofors is ex import, Tatra is ex import, BMP is ex import, most of our ammunition is ex import, special clothing is ex import, parachutes are ex import but our land is indigenous. AK-47, bullet proof jackets are ex import, but our spirit to operate all these is pure Indian. We just won the tank competition in Russia standing first amongst 19 countries driving and firing the Russian T-90. I salute all our tank men in black dungarees for this achievement. We adapt ourselves to any equipment very quickly and master its use.

If we talk of the trade deficit with China, it stands at around 46.7 billion dollars today. My goodness Gracious Lord, this must be many ship load full of dollars. How will we get out of it? How will we reduce it? How will we find means to balance it out? Well there are many economists who will work it out for us. The figure of those many billions appears as if India has to pay back China that amount. If we don’t pay we all are going to die by the Chinese torture method. The feeling this word trade deficit gives me is as if we are sunk and the burden to return that money back is my responsibility. Soon time will come when the atta we eat would be Chinese. As it is they are making artificial rice, eggs and vegetables. Well, I have the PM & the Industries Minister to look into the specifics of trade and the Finance Minister to pay for all that. Should I bother?

Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is we are importing more and exporting less. This doesn’t mean that we are not paying for what we are importing. Only thing is that we are not earning as many dollars as we should be earning through export. Let us start producing world class stuff so that it gets consumed within the domestic markets and meets the needs of our population and export. Today, if we even have to import dal, wheat and onions, isn’t it an irony. We have not been able to make cold storage chains to preserve our surplus. Our grains rot in FCI godowns and we talk of trade deficit.

Well friends by just boycotting Chinese products we are doing a lot of harm to the traders who have already paid for it. The item is already in India, it has been paid for because we only demanded it. Some trader facilitated it. We got things at price of dirt. The trader also made a profit. It did not hurt your pocket either and now suddenly you say that don’t but anything made in China. Is it fair? Let’s give a date after which all Chinese imports officially are stopped? Traders to dispose of items till a particular date, then take him to task. I say let us stop buying anything imported. Period!

Let us get after the government to set up a mechanism so that imported items are banned till the Indian mindset gets used to using and enjoying everything Indian. All trade deficits will evaporate. Today we export Iron ore. Is there a justification for it? Why this product can’t be used in house and iron made cheaper for iron and steel industry to flourish. Why do we allow import of scrap and kill this industry. Then as a stop gap measure we increase the import duty on iron scrap so that the domestic market picks up. This is only a knee jerk reaction with no long term strategy in place.

Well it is not as simple as I am portraying it. Can we exchange products for manpower? I don’t know. By boycotting things won’t resolve issues with China. By setting up a clear goal for use of Indian products vis-a-vis Chinese and other imported products can we sort this out?  China has banned whatsapp and twitter. Do it in India and see the results. Half of us will be on the verge of committing suicide if not murder. I have also seen posts on calculations of the number of products, revenue generated from it and how if we stop it will hurt China. Agreed, if you don’t buy from one shop then you have to have an alternative. Similarly, China will look for another client for its products. It definitely has the capacity to survive without selling to us. So let us make classy Indian products at affordable prices for the common man. Can we? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis