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Impact of “Vocal for Local” on Indian economy in the world of COVID-19

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Global economy has collapsed like a house of cards as a result of the pandemic, with India being no different. The most difficult task facing global leaders is to emerge from the crisis and flush their economies with legislation and stimulus packages so that trade can resume. India is dealing with major issues such as unemployment inflation, migrant laborer return to their homelands, the closing of most MSME’s, a shortage of funds, and so on, and in order to address these issues, the government machinery must take restorative steps to get the country back on track.

Following our Prime Minister’s appeal to be “Vocal for Local,” many Indian businesses with a large customer base and a significant footprint in the Indian market have begun to incorporate “vocal for local” themes into all promotional campaigns. They are confident of their Indian heritage and promote their goods with a clear ‘Made in India’ message. In terms of market preferences, customers are expecting Swadeshi goods to help the economy recover after sustaining economic losses during the lockout. This shift in market sentiment has been noticed as a result of growing appreciation of the importance of improving the Indian economy and recognizing the importance of reducing reliance on foreign nations.

We can clearly see the disparity in an economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’s national shutdown. The big producers are concentrating their efforts on developing their mark as a ‘Indian Commodity,’ or a product labeled as ‘Made in India,’ rather than ‘Made in China.’ Since 1990, when the Indian government liberalized the economy, foreign firms have been able to reach and invest in the Indian market. However, the truth remains that the Indian economy is now flooded with low-cost Chinese goods, which people chose without understanding that they are putting Indian manufacturers in a monetary bind. Now that the concept of being ‘Atma-Nirbhar’ has been adopted to counteract the effect of Covid-19, it appears that ‘Made in India’ would be a major factor in influencing a customer purchasing behavior in the future.

Inheritance from British Legacy

India, as the world’s most dynamic society with the broadest range of political views and organizations, relies on its intelligent bureaucratic system, which she adopted from the British Crown, to keep her government stable and running. The heads of Public Sector giants, who serve at both the National and State level of the Union of India, are heavily relied upon by government officials.  As a result, the mindset of the Public Servants overall, as well as their management capabilities, are crucial in policy making by the Central and State Governments.

The behavior of the autonomous policymaker, i.e. the political part of government in India, as an agent affects planning process and extent of policy dissemination subject to his or her interests, is a central principle in the policy making.

Vocal for Local and its impact on Indian Business

The definition analyses in Indian history replicate themselves; indeed, it is all about Mahatma Gandhi’s national call – “Swadeshi Movement” – use of swadeshi products or refusal of international products to motivate Indians and combat British imperialism by subjection. But here comes Swadeshi Moment 2.0, with our nation’s prime minister, urging all Indians to help Indian factories by buying Indian goods as our country enters an impending period of a slowdown and economic decline. The appeal does not call for avoid of international products, FII, FDI, or the establishment of an international corporation in our nation in this age of widespread proliferation. The genius tactic of  “Vocal for Local” is to assist in getting the stumbling domestic companies back on the path ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will assist a specific segment of the economy in accelerating its rate of growth, but this does not preclude us from importing the necessary technologies, raw materials, energy supplies, and other goods produced in other countries.

The aim of ‘Vocal for Local’ is to encourage small businesses in rural India, large corporations, MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises), and youth entrepreneurs at the grass-roots level by purchasing Indian goods and services, even though they are of lower quality than global products. This act of protectionist policies and nationalism will instill trust in our corporate entities and give them enough time to improve efficiency and cope with international goods. It is beyond time for us Indians to band together and help our economy by adopting the “Be Indian, Buy Indian” philosophy.

Five Pillars of Self-reliant India

  1. Economy
  2. Infrastructure
  3. System
  4. Demography
  5. Demand

These 5 foundations of self-sufficiency are critical for global competition and will aid India in building a strong economy. Various ambitious changes implemented at the national level will help to straighten the economy and get it moving again.

‘Vocal for Local’ Impact on Startups

In India, there has been significant success in a variety of fields over the last 6 years. We’ve come a far journey from building public toilets to supplying safe drinking water to technological advancement. We must remember the slogan “Make for the World” as well as “Make in India.” The goal is to increase not only domestic demand of local crafts, but also exports and draw investors from various places to participate in various startups and help them grow globally.

Technology-based businesses have a great chance of scaling up. With many clever and innovative entrepreneurs launching their businesses almost every day, such as Olacabs, OYO, and Paytm, India has a lot of promise. The objective is to extend the entrepreneurship community and develop India’s economy to $5 trillion by 2025. This can only be accomplished by promoting domestic goods and providing intellectual and technological assistance to entrepreneurs.

These businesses have never been keen to expand and go national, but “Vocal for Local” will supply them with the necessary incentive. This not only raises their chances of becoming a publicly traded firm, but it also improve their chances of being purchased by a large multinational corporation and expanding internationally.

‘Vocal for Local’ Impact on Digital India

To take advantage of the potential provided by ‘vocal for local,’ brand strategy would be crucial. When it comes to supermarket products, such as Coca-Cola, most consumers have no idea where the name came from. Colgate, a well-known American toothpaste company in India, is among the most well-known household names in the world.

If you ask old people or the general public about it, they would confidently assume it is an Indian company. This also goes to show that while ‘Swadesi’ is not entirely owned by domestic brands, it does usually denote a brand that is fondly remembered throughout the world.

As promotional pitches and promotions get more desi, this is an excellent time to observe how marketers reconfigure their wider connection with the public as Indian-ness in order to appeal to a varied, multi-tiered audience. User tastes will be geared towards ‘ease via digital’ as Covid-19 accelerates the digital wagon for ads and media.

The digital revolution has been a common trend in recent years, but Covid-19 has only increased adoption to ten time’s previous speeds, smashing the ground beneath companies, governments, and individuals alike. People would like to skip shopping centers as well as other public areas after COVID-19, so having digital connections with consumers and distributors are not only beneficial but necessary.

Retailers should avoid working in silos and instead concentrate on a versatile “Phygital” strategy to instill the best of all worlds. As a result, building an infinite corridor that begins with the company’s online social media presence and connects to the e – commerce or physical store would be the perfect “Phygital” channel that converges at the Point of Sale (PoS). In addition, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality may be used to provide an engaging environment for buyers, affecting buying judgments.

Relevance of ‘Vocal for Local’ in India’s Global Trade Strategy

So, while ‘Vocal for Local’ would have been a genius idea for certain industries in India, it would’ve been a disaster for the vast majority. Though ‘Vocal for Local’ is a fantastic concept, we must acknowledge that the global climate has shifted dramatically. Without exposure to internationally competitive services and the development of internationally competitive efficiencies, it is no longer feasible to produce internationally competitive goods.

The world has changed dramatically. The current global economy is a complicated structure of a closely interrelated supply chain where market competitiveness is decided by the two holy grails of quality and price. India is heavily reliant on oil imports, particularly petroleum crude. For example, Car Industry. Now, I could be driving a car made in Germany with parts imported from India, with iron imported from China, design from Italy, and production from Germany. There is an unavoidable supply chain at work in the production of an internationally viable commodity. Rivals buy companies that are struggling to enjoy the benefits of such multi-location, competitive production tactics. This theme can be seen in Tata Motors’ purchases of the Land Rover and Jaguar.

India has a large textile industry that produces high-quality textiles. Bangladesh and Vietnam, on the other hand, offer such affordable prices that industries from all around the world source clothing from them. Textiles produced in India are shipped to neighboring countries to be turned into ready-to-wear garments. These goods are then marketed in a number of countries. This is an excellent instance of the benefit synergies that multinational brands develop in an attempt to achieve their goals.

In London, Indian cuisine is highly common. Interestingly, though, most of the restaurants are not managed or controlled by Indian people. Bangladeshi society’s rule Indian restaurants in London. Correspondingly, the Patel population is well-represented in motels throughout the United States. The benefit of market competition is the main explanation for performance in these two cases.

Although the desire to make India a successful manufacturing hub in comparison to China is admirable, Indian production would be unable to have any comparative edge until price competitiveness can be established and maintained. This is the best way to draw both domestic and international investment.

But somehow the administration, has been shifting away from India’s 1991 trade liberalization direction at home. In his 2018 budget, the late Arun Jaitley acknowledged as much when he made a “calibrated break” from the years-long strategy of tariff rate reductions. Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister, carried on the tradition by increasing taxes on a number of goods to protect the domestic industry. She also proposed a theoretically WTO-incompatible modification to the Customs Act of 1962, which would give the government the authority to prohibit the import or sale of any product (not only gold and silver, as it did previously) to avoid economic damage. The reasoning behind raising tariffs on foreign products is to ensure a steady supply of domestically manufactured goods. Many of these commodities, on the other hand, can be used as components by local production, increasing domestic industry’s rates.

Is it reflective of this growing protectionism and apprehension of foreign competition that India withdrew from the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)” agreement in last moment? India has not ratified any significant free trade agreements in the last 6 years. The slogan ‘Vocal about local’ encapsulates trade protectionism and promotes the faulty and overly simplistic economic rationale that domestic production can be revived by deliberately urging (even trying to  force) consumers to purchase goods “Made in India.”

The determination to boost domestic production in India, which has appeared almost dormant for the past 6 years amid the elevated “Made in India” drive, is commendable. Nevertheless, the policies implemented to accomplish this aim are ineffective because they represent a return to protectionist policies. The economic history of India in the first 4 decades since freedom adequately shows that a protectionist and tightly regulated economic model does not produce a sustainable and capable production base. India need not be pursuing such esoteric economic strategies at this moment. If India views foreign exchange as a zero-sum system in which it can maximize its own self-interests at the detriment of its global rivals, it would be making a grave error.

India, as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has benefited from economic globalization. India saw unparalleled growth since merging with the world economy. Thus according to World Bank numbers, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was just $37 billion in 1960, rising to a respectable $270 billion in 1991 – a relatively flat rate of growth. Since joining the global economy in 1991, India’s GDP soared from $270 billion in 1991 to $2.719 trillion in 2018 – a quantum leap and a rapid rate of growth that helped India lift millions of poor out of poverty. This is not to say that GDP would be the sole metric for measuring growth/development, or that issues like increasing income disparities in India are unimportant. A rise in a country’s national income, on the other hand, is important because it generates much-needed support for social and economic growth. Rather than rejecting globalization, India should take the lead in bolstering the foreign economic system that populists in the West want to destroy, based on a win-win approach that promotes shared stability and world peace.

Conclusion

The pandemic is being fought. COVID-19 is a collaborative fight between the government and the country’s people. The above-mentioned initiatives would inspire all Indians to purchase “Made in India” items and search for “Made in India” labels. We usually see the expiry dates on a label and we are mindful that we cannot use it until it has passed its expiration date. If we cultivate the habit of testing ‘Made in India’ mark before making any transaction, just as we verify the production date and MRP of products before making any purchase, we can become an agent of change who will assist the country in rebuilding its economy and being self-reliant. Different schemes are progressively moving India closer to achieving Atmanirbhar Bharat’s aim of helping indigenous enterprises. If all Indian suppliers and customers follow the Prime Minister’s call to finance domestic industry, India will achieve its target of a $5 trillion economy. It is also right that supporting local brands is a religious obligation for Indian people, not just a need. It must be acknowledged that the Indian people are responsible for the development of the country’s economy.

REFERENCES

  • Chakraborty, U., 2020. Vocal for Local: Reviewing Global Experience with an Indian Insight. Online International Interdisciplinary Research Journal, [online] 10, pp.115-121. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342151181_Vocal_for_Local_Reviewing_Global_Experience_with_an_Indian_Insight>
  • Srivastava, D., 2020. Being Vocal for Local Brands: A New Mantra of Success for Indian FMCG Companies. SSRN Electronic Journal, [online] pp.1-9. Available at: <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3735053>
  • Jolly, D., 2020. ‘Vocal for Local’ and its relevance in the global village. [online] Available at: <https://www.timesnownews.com/columns/article/vocal-for-local-and-its-relevance-in-the-global-village/595476>
  • Singh, P. (2020). Vocal For local: What Changes For Consumer Brands?, from https://inc42.com/resources/vocal-for-local-what-changes-for-consumer-brands/
  • Arif, S. (2020). Be Vocal for Local: Support the Indian Economy during the COVID-19 Crisis. from https://jungleworks.com/be-vocal-for-local-support-the-indian-economy-during-the-covid-19-crisis/
  • Ranjan, P. (2020). What Does Being ‘Vocal about Local’ Mean for India’s Global Trade Strategy? from https://thewire.in/economy/india-global-trade-vocal-about-local
  • Chadha, K. (2021). Role of ‘Vocal for Local’ in Startups. from https://www.eatmy.news/2021/01/role-of-vocal-for-local-in-startups.html

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