There is beauty, and a huge blemish, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Aatma Nirbhar Bharat crusade. It appeals to different individuals in diverse ways. Some see it as a 21st-century version of Gandhi’s call to embrace swadeshi, an intoxicating cocktail of nationalism, capitalism and globalisation. Others look at it as a magical melting pot for patriotism, self-confidence and national ambitions. In the process, it turns out to be a chaotic and confusing blend of beliefs based on fuzzy logic.
Consider how consumers perceive the ongoing self-reliance campaign. Vijjy, who works with clients in Switzerland, is engrossed by the split within her condominium’s flat owners’ association about whether to buy an Indian or a foreign elevator brand. Sunil, a businessman in his sixties who isn’t active on social media, is enthused by the ban on 224 Chinese mobile apps. A part-time investor, Deepak, is excited by the huge foreign inflows from Google and Facebook in the post-Covid period.