In his first term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had strongly pushed for “going back to villages”, building upon the self-sufficient village model based on Gandhian philosophy. Not heeding this, many opted for staying stuck into cities and continue living in inhuman conditions. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced them to travel homebound en masse. At least they know they won’t die of starvation in their villages. Agriculture has been our mainstay and has contributed to nearly 65-70% of Indian economy, but we have failed to strike a balance between agricultural utility and attractive industrialisation prospects. The latter took the country by storm post1970s and in much aggressive manner since the liberalisation era of the 1990s.
Migrations took place in hoards and cities became the “saviour” for crores in making their ends meet. But today, one pandemic has made it clear that roots cannot be uprooted. Prime Minister Modi realises this core philosophy of life and human development and it wasn’t a surprise when he pushed for nearly Rs 20,000-crore economic package to boost the MSME sector, primarily the village industries, where our core human resources live. Villages seem to be the home to all our remedies against the health crisis we are facing. In the current situation, the agriculture and village industries will be an urgent injection for the economy in ICU. Now at this critical juncture, where a pandemic has thrown up the challenge to mankind and the economy won’t be normal for at least a few years, only some “enterprising entrepreneurship” can rev it up. The beginnings again will be from our roots — villages. PM Modi realises the fact that village industries in MSME will be critical not only in making India’s “self-reliance dream” come true, it will also work to minimise mass poverty levels.
If one Khadi and Village Industries can employ 24.5 lakh people in last four years, then we can add up exactly the same in next five years with the economic booster offered by the PM. Apart from our rich textile sector, there are at least 200-odd sectors waiting to be harnessed for maximum employment generation. India’s agarbatti industry (incense sticks) is fully dependent on China, but it is worth Rs 17,000 crore. The same can be made at least Rs 25,000 crore and all managed by indigenous hands to realise ‘Make in India’ in true spirit. The Indian villages have the power to bring in another economic revolution like the one they did during the colonial rule as they fired up the Manchester and Birmingham industrial hubs in the United Kingdom. The great story of India’s economic revival will begin from villages. One Modi can’t make India “aatmanirbhar”, but 130 crore Indians can.