Former Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan has said the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign of the government should not result in protectionism, adding that such policies had not worked in the past. Observing that it is not yet clear to him what the government means by ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, Rajan said if it is about creating an environment for production, then it is a re-branding of the Make in India initiative.
“If it is about protectionism, unfortunately India has raised tariffs recently, (then) it does not make any sense to my mind to go that way because we tried that before.
“We had a licence permit raj earlier…that protectionism was problematic, it enriched a few corporations but basically was a source of poverty for many of us,” he said. Rajan was addressing a virtual event organised by economic think tank ICRIER.
“When we talk about Atmanirbhar Bharat, I am not quite sure which side is being emphasised. If it is, let’s create an environment for production, I think that makes a lot of sense and it basically reiterates Make in India and rebrands…Make in India,” he said.
Rajan, currently a professor at the University of Chicago, further said India needs world-class manufacturing and that means the country’s manufacturers have access to cheap imports, which form the basis for strong exports.