The nationwide campaign launched by Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) from January 12 against the Chinese goods has received an overwhelming response. People all over the country are joining the Campaign in good number. It will culminate on October 29 with a massive rally at Ramlila Ground in Delhi. The RSS is also joining the campaign with a countrywide mass awakening drive to be launched from August 1 to 15. Organiser Sr Correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to SJM national vice president and also head of the Rashtriya Swadeshi Suraksha Abhiyan Shri Satish Kumar to know the aims and objectives of the campaign. Excerpts:
How do you justify swadeshi in the globalisation era?
The globalisation model of economy is under question all over the world. After Brexit when UK withdrew from the European Union, the resentment against globalisation has come to the surface. Many countries world over are against globalisation. Even the US has now started saying ‘Be American Buy American’. After Paris Summit, it has been proved that globalisation has done nothing good but to ruin the environment and increase inequality across the world. Therefore, the swadeshi thought is being accepted not only in Bharat but across the world. If we talk about Bharat alone, we find that most of our trade deficit is because of China. The total export of Bharat is 261 billion dollar as on 2016 and import is 379 billion dollar. We are facing the deficit of 120 billion dollar. If we do not increase domestic production immediately, it will become a major challenge to our economy. It is because of the huge import that our manufacturing sector is going to bear heavy losses. There are shut-downs and the employment sector is hugely under pressure. How can such an economy survive for long? If we have to save our manufacturing and employment sectors we have to return to swadeshi. This is what we are telling the people.
Today Chinese products dominate the Indian market so much that even the mobile phone that most people use is Chinese. Then how do you justify the boycott of Chinese products?
This is what we want to stress. Forget, mobile phones, from pen to nuclear plant equipments everything has any of the Chinese part. Majority of the products that we use in our daily life are Chinese. Despite making so much growth in Science and Technology and creating history by launching so many satellites in one go, can’t we make our own mobile phones? It is only because of the wrong policies followed by the previous governments. We need to promote our own manufacturing in all the sectors dominated by China today. The Rashtriya Swadeshi Suraksha Abhiyan has been launched with this objective only. We are mainly concentrating on import from China and the huge trade deficit. It is around 44 per cent of the total trade deficit. If we exclude crude oil, we face 64 per cent trade deficit only because of China. If we have to create our own manufacturing, we will have to totally boycott Chinese goods. We also will have to change the policies accordingly. Hence, the work has to be done by all the stakeholders—the government, the public, the industry and the innovators. We are talking to all. There are talks of ‘Make in India’, but we say the slogan and efforts should be ‘Made by India’.
What people can contribute in this Abhiyan at their level?
We have collected more than 87 lakh signatures from the people who have taken a pledge for boycotting Chinese goods. The Abhiyan is getting momentum. They are burning Chinese goods publicly. Demonstrations are being organised all over the country. We are on the right track. I hope, by this Diwali entire Bharat will be aware of Chinese nefarious designs and not a single rupee Chinese product will be purchased or sold in the Indian markets.
How are you implementing this campaign?
Different activities are being conducted. Demonstrations outside Chinese Embassy, mass protests in Delhi and other parts of the country are being held. Market Associations across cities have also passed resolutions not to import and sale any Chinese good. We are motivating Indian industries to take up manufacturing. We are also requesting the government to impose anti-dumping duties on different substandard Chinese items. The government has already done it in steel industry, where 18 per cent anti-dumping duty has been imposed. It is because of such actions that in power sector, the Chinese companies are out. They cannot now bid in power, steel, railways and plastic industries. We now want the government to impose maximum duties and restrictions on Chinese goods. During the campaign, we have focused on the government, policy makers bureaucrats, industry, innovators and the consumers at large.
What is the real objective of the campaign — to awaken the people of Chinese nefarious designs or to educate them about swadeshi?
The campaign is multi-dimensional. It is a positive campaign. We are working to boost our economy. It is not merely against the Chinese goods, we are opposing the GM crops too. We are for swadeshi in every aspect.
Are you offering any alternative list of Indian products also to the people during the Abhiyan?
We regularly publish the list of swadeshi items. We also educate the people which MNC brands should be boycotted and which swadeshi brands should be supported. The list is available on our website also.
People argue that instead of appealing the people to boycott Chinese goods, why does the Government of India not ban the import of Chinese products?
We are an organisation. We believe that all governments, irrespective of the political party that led them after 1947, were ours. After Shri Modi took over, we led an agitation against the Government on Land Acquisition Bill. We always pursue our swadeshi line. The only difference is that during the Congress-led regime we did not have any communication with the government, but now we have proper communication with the people in the government. Sometimes they accept our demands and suggestions, while sometimes not. But we cannot leave any of our issues.
Have you demanded the government also to ban the import of Chinese goods?
Yes, we have submitted 400 memorandums pressing upon this demand. Since there are various international agencies like the WTO, BRICS etc, it is not easy for any government to take such decisions immediately. It can press upon standard products, anti-dumping duties on substandard products and also evaluate under billing or wrong methods. But the consumers at large are free to purchase any item. How can we allow China to make repeated bids to encroach our land and sell its goods in our markets causing heavy trade deficit to our country? China has to mend its ways.