The Idea of Self-Reliant India

Winner Of CSC June 2021 Essay Competition : Monika Dash (Nalco Nagar, Angul, Odisha)

The basic thrust for any species around the world is to make their offspring self-reliant. The birds teach their nestlings to spread the wings and gather food, human teach their young ones from birth till the time they are old enough to earn a living by providing them food, shelter, education, and guidance all through the growing age. This pattern is followed among families, communities, societies, and nations at large.

  • Today the whole world is facing unprecedented turmoil – the Covid19 pandemic that has made the people and resources around the world struggle collectively with disruption of essential supply chains, crumbling economies, and a grim job. India, with its basic ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam i.e. the whole world is one family, strives to stand with the world. But, it is equally important for each of the family members to be in a position to support oneself and then the larger family. Hence the idea of self-reliant India was envisioned at this pertinent time.
  • Self-reliance for a country is a vision towards activities that are self-supporting in economic terms and indicate reliance on one’s own resources and having means to an end. But a self-reliant economy is built by self-reliant citizens as the wealth of a nation derives from the drive and creativity of its people. If each of the members of the population gainfully contributes towards the economy, then such a population becomes our collective strength. But a person becomes independent if he has the skills and can earn a livelihood. That is why Indian businesses have always clubbed Riddhi (wealth and prosperity) and Siddhi (skill) together, thereby internalizing the fact that expertise and wealth cannot be decoupled. Hence to achieve self-reliance the government should support Riddhi and siddhi in the following ways –
  • First, our citizens need to learn skills. For Indians to be self-reliant, the government needs to actively support personal responsibility rather than government support substituting personal responsibility in the form of direct benefit transfer. Instead, the amount should be utilized on education and skill/resource development of the citizens. Equipping the nation with modern techniques and technologically training the youths on a large scale will help construct a self-reliant nation.
  • Secondly, we must support our MSMEs, farmers, and labourers, as they are the three pillars of the Indian economy, by providing them with financial support and opportunities for skilling. The Siddhi of workers will create Riddhi for all.

Making Farmers Self-reliant

  • India is a self-reliant nation in terms of food products having a record output of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and the highest production of milk in the world. Further, it can maintain sustainable food security despite the rising population and rising demand for diverse food items. But it is the farmers, the drivers of self-reliance, who are struggling with low income, low profitability, and risk-laden livelihoods. Concerned with the plight of the farmers, the government of India gave a clarion call for doubling the farmers’ income by 2022 and devised a sound roadmap that identified seven sources such as improvement in crop productivity, diversification to high-value crops, a shift from farm to non-farm occupations, etc. to achieve the goal. Even several steps have been taken to double farmers’ income like providing e-NAM- an online trading platform- to farmers, distribution of soil health cards, better insurance coverage to crops through Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, availability of Kisan Credit Card, etc.

MSMEs - the Catalyst for Development

  • The future of India lies in its villages reminds us of the vision of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi of a self-reliant village for the economic prosperity of rural India. They are the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation, and employment as well as major drivers of poverty alleviation. This sector has the potential to grow at a faster rate. Hence to provide impetus to the manufacturing sector and to increase its share of GDP from 15% to 25%, several steps have been taken by the government like scheme of fund for regeneration of traditional industries that aims at the development of khadi, village industries, and coir clusters by providing them with equipment, facilities, etc., credit guarantee scheme for MSME- a collateral-free loan facility, solar charkha mission to train rural youth in producing cloth, etc. Recently, in the wake of Covid19, the government has revised the definition of MSMEs to render maximum benefits to this sector. Further, more steps have to be taken to transform the lives in the rural landscape like setting up training hubs in each district, infusing and learning new technologies for quality products, promoting innovations, and proper implementation of all schemes.
  • Third, large-scale investment in R&D, innovations like digital economy, and infrastructure by PSUs, institutions, universities, and private sectors, need to be scaled up significantly to give impetus to export promotion and to survive in the dynamic and transformational market. We also need an effective export strategy that aims at import substitution (developing domestic capability and reducing dependence on import of critical input) either by adopting FDI tariff linkage or through the implementation of Production Linked Incentive scheme, and export promotion for our large internal market.
  • Fourth is effective resource management to achieve new technical heights. Schemes like Jal Shakti Abhiyan to improve water security, Swachh Bharat Mission, etc. have been introduced over the years that not only address resource management but also provide livelihoods to bulging youth ready to contribute to the economy.
  • Last but not least we should aim to help the rest of the world through Riddhi and Siddhi.


  • A self-reliant India does not mean turning the country inwards or into an isolationist nation, but embracing the world by becoming stronger. The call for self-reliant India doesn’t mean shutting down doors to globalization but growing with the world, as a self-reliant India will have more to offer to the world. Hence we all should work together for a self-reliant, resilient, and dynamic India which lends glory to our rich heritage.