New Delhi: In a bid to promote locally made products as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Vocal for Local’, the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has formed dedicated committees across the country to chalk out plans for the purpose.
These committees have been tasked with promoting indigenous products manufactured in both rural and urban areas, specially those unique to some regions, for example Varanasi’s pearl beads, spices and carpet, the nutritious ragi biscuits of Karnataka’s Tumkur and Bengaluru’s scented organic soaps, among others.
The organisation plans to promote such products both at the national and global levels, pushing for a complete boycott of Chinese goods.
SJM’s national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told ThePrint, “As part of the ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign, SJM has started forming committees in all districts of the 29 states. All state-level committees are now ready. The work of forming the committees at the district level is also progressing at a fast pace.”
The state-level committees have been formed in the last one month, while 325 district-level committees, constituted so far, have already started functioning.
“As the first step towards encouraging local entrepreneurs, the state-level committees have organised ‘Udyamita Samman Samaroh’ (Entrepreneurship Honour Award programme),” he added.
“Under the programme, entrepreneurs, who have provided employment to several people by setting up start-ups and also ensured availability of local products to the people, have been felicitated,” Mahajan said.
One such company recently felicitated online by the SJM was Ayur, which manufactures herbal products.
The company’s owner, Manminder Singh Narang, told ThePrint: “The government should promote cottage and medium scale industries. With this, several more items could be manufactured in India. Our dependence on imported goods will also be reduced. All of this will lead to further improvement of our economic condition.”
Committees to have local MPs and MLAs as members
The SJM’s initiative has been divided into three phases. Felicitation programmes were held as part of the first phase. In the second phase, the committees will prepare lists of local products. Following this, work to promote and publicise them among people will be initiated.
During the third phase, according to Mahajan, the committees will work to identify ‘clusters’ at the district level. These ‘clusters’ are areas that produce goods unique to that region — for example, Varanasi spices or the popular scented bar soaps manufactured in Bengaluru.
While doing this, the committees will also draw up plans on how domestic products can be transported to the international markets, he added.
These committees will also make the central and state governments aware about the problems being faced by the local manufacturers.
Giving details about the committees, Mahajan said: “The committees at the state level have at least eight and a maximum of 15 members. The SJM’s state conveners will oversee the coordination work of these committees… and RSS’ ancillary organisations will also help us.”
The Delhi state committee was formed on 13 August. SJM’s Vikas Choudhary, who is part of the committee, said there are 12 members currently. The other members include those running small-scale industries, civic activists and people working in the field of education, he said. “Our committee has started preparing a list of local products to be promoted,” Choudhary said.
Speaking about the felitication programme held in Delhi, SJM’s Kamaljeet said the committee recently felicitated Manminder Singh Narang of Ayur.
The district committees, which will also have the same number of members as the state panels, will have local MPs and MLAs as members, besides social activists and those representing small and medium enterprises.
“The committees will hold deliberations on various issues such as what products are being produced at the local level, what needs to be done to help in their manufacturing, how to make them accessible to the people, and the current problems plaguing local manufacturing, among others,” Mahajan told ThePrint.
“All this is being done to ensure that local products get better promotion and placement in the markets,” he added.
Listing of local products
Mahajan said several district committees are in the process of compiling a fresh list of local products.
“After this, people will be informed about the products manufactured in their own villages or towns so that they get to know about them. Through this, we will call upon people to continue using the indigenous items,” he added.
Giving an example, Mahajan said items made of pearl beads manufactured in Varanasi are very famous. Besides, the city is also known for its spices and carpets. “We will try to take these products to the national level,” he added.
“Working on the same lines, we will make a list of goods produced in various cities of other states. We will then plan how to make them accessible to the people living in other states and how to promote them at the national as well as global levels.”
What entrepreneurs say
Entrepreneurs, who were felicitated by the SJM, explained to ThePrint about their businesses and how they have generated employment.
Delhi-based Manjit Kaur, engaged in fabric business, said: “We have started to operate via online mode since the last two years.”
She added, “We source fabrics directly from weavers and local fabric printers… After this, dress materials are manufactured from these clothes and then sold in the market.”
Dr Sushil Kumar Sinha, a resident of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, has a group that helps poor women become self-reliant.
“We teach them to make fabric-based masks, coats and aprons that are widely used in private hospitals,” he said.
“We supply the goods made by these women to private hospitals across the state. They are earning handsomely from this endeavor and we also do not need to depend on any other company. Our needs are being met by the local market itself,” added Dr Sinha.
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