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Inventors of India: How AAP can transform industry by promoting ‘Indian Idol’ model

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Dr Kallol Guha

Would you have ever known about those hidden talents of India until ‘India’s Got Talent’ made its way to your TV sets? In fact, so many talented voices could not have reached their desired path till ‘Indian Idol’ made it possible for them. Yet, there are enormous hidden gems in India that are still looking for the Midas touch. Those gems are none other than our own artisans, craftsmen, potters, who are the backbone of India’s small scale industries. In real sense, they are the inventors of India.

Overview

The published narratives of European travelers unveil the fact that India, in the 17th and early part of 18th century, was economically more progressive than most of the European nations.

India had a burgeoning industrial sector, which produced world class products that were also low in cost. Merchants from various parts of world came to India and exchanged their gold, silver and precious stones with cotton textiles, rugs, silk, utensils and much more.

Therefore, when Europe was engulfed by the commercial and industrial revolution, India was still looked upon as the prosperous nation in the world.

It was this trade prosperity of India that distressed the Europeans. During this era, mercantilist European statesmen stood together against the export of bullion in exchange with Indian goods.

In a conquest to generate enormous moolah, the East India Company callously oppressed Indian manufacturers. Heavy tariffs were imposed on Indian goods. Moreover, speedy generation of machine-driven goods took a toll on booming Indian industries.

After India’s independence in 1947, India espoused a socialist-inspired economic model with rudiments of capitalism. India adopted USSR-like, centralized and nationalized economic programs called Five-Year Plans. This Nehruvian policy was stretched too far past its use and led to the decline in Indian economy.

Importance of Small Scale Industries in India

Keeping in mind the significance of Small Scale Industries in the Indian economy, all the industrial policies announced since the independence, have showered high priority on the development of the sector.  The industrial policy of 1956, which still is the lead standard, says:

“They (Small Scale Industries) provide immediate large scale employment, they offer a method of ensuring a more equitable distribution of national income and facilitate an effective mobilization of resources of capital and skill which might otherwise remain unutilized. Some of the problems that unplanned urbanization tends to create will be avoided by the establishment of small centres of industrial production all over the country.”

No doubt, the sector can encourage economic activity and is delegated with the liability of realizing various objectives – creation of more employment opportunities with less investment, reducing regional imbalances and so on.

However, small scale industries are not in a position to play their part efficiently due to various limitations, such as finance, raw material, technology, marketing, infrastructure and product planning.

Let’s start with AAP

Recently, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) offered a boost to small scale industries. The government announced that there will be no need of securing needed permits for setting up small scale industries in the national capital. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will not require a consent-to-establish (CTE) certificate from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and a trade license from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), to obtain an acknowledgment letter under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006.

The Inventors of India

Ever since  forming the government, AAP has launched several schemes that are indicative of innovative ideas. They seem to be committed to the welfare of Aam Aadmi (Common Man). Therefore, the party might think of tapping the enormous pent up productive forces in them.

One way of doing this, is to encourage the common man to submit any invention they might have developed into its presentable form, no matter how rudimentary it might seem. Such presentation may be sponsored by the Government in the same fashion as that of ‘India’s Got Talent.’ The best five, commercially viable, inventions may be turned into industrial production and financially supported by the government and/or private entrepreneurs to be run in the form of a cooperative.

India has imitated such competition in areas of musical performance with very good result. Similar initiatives in areas of rural invention (there is a great deal of useful rural technology that is ignored simply because it is not Western) need to be given encouragement and opportunity to appear in the form of public performance. This could not only benefit development of indigenous small industry but could be a significant stride towards positive impression of AAP among the masses all over India.

Success of this initiative can be easily measured- considering its positive effect nationwide and benefit to AAP thereof.

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)