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Swadeshi movement vs Make in India

The Swadeshi movement (Swadeshi is conjunction (sandhi) of two Sanskrit words: swa (“self” or “own”) and desh (“country”). Swadeshi is an adjective which means “of one’s own country”) was part of the Indian independence movement and contributed to the development of Indian nationalism. The movement, begun in 1906 by Indian nationals opposed to the Partition of Bengal, was one of the most successful movements against British rule. Swadeshi was a focus of Mahatma Gandhi, who described it as the soul of swaraj (self-rule). It was the most significant movement in Bengal and was known as the Vande Mataram movement in Andhra Pradesh. The movement ended in 1911.

The government’s decision to partition Bengal was made in December 1903. The official reason was that Bengal, with a population of 78 million, was too large to be administered; the real reason, however, was that it was the centre of the revolt and company officials could not control the protests (which they thought would spread throughout India. Bengal was divided by language religion; the western half would be primarily Hindu, and the eastern half would be primarily Muslim. This divide-and-conquer strategy sparked the Swadeshi movement.

  • 1850–1904: Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G. V. Joshi, and Bhaswat K. Nigoni began organizing to promote Indian nationalism (the First Swadeshi Movement).
  • 1905–1917: The movement opposed the 1905 Partition of Bengal, which was ordered by Lord Curzon.
  • 1918–1947: The movement was further shaped by Mahatma Gandhi, leading to Indian independence from British rule.

Ram Singh Kuka of the Sikh Namdhari sect is also credited with developing the Swadeshi movement since his 1871–1872 movement inspired Bengalis and other Indians to fight British rule. Kuka instructed Namdharis to wear only Indian clothes and boycott foreign goods. The Namdharis resolved the conflict in a people’s court, bypassing British law and courts. They also boycotted the educational system, since Kuka prohibited children from attending British schools.


According to a 1999 article, E. F. Schumacher (author of Small Is Beautiful) was influenced by Gandhi’s concept of Swadeshi. On 7 August 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commemorated the first annual National Handloom Day in India to promote indigenous handloom and khadi products. The date was chosen because on 7 August 1905, the Swadeshi movement was proclaimed to avoid foreign goods and use only Indian-made products. Shripad Naik, minister of state for the Ministry of AYUSH, promoted Swadeshi Shopping (a marketplace for [[Small and medium-sized enterprises#India|small and medium-sized enterprises) in 2017 as part of the government’s Make in India initiative. 

Initiation of the Swadeshi Movement

Philosopher, social reformer and founder of the Namdhari sect, Sri Satguru Ram Singh Kuka is credited to have initiated the Swadeshi movement. According to sources, he was the first Indian who used the movement as a political weapon against the British. He instructed the people of the Namdhari sect to boycott foreign goods and wear clothes made in India. Other measures employed by him saw the Namdharis avoiding British law and British courts and boycotting British educational system that saw children being restricted to attend British schools. His revolutionary movements gained momentum during 1871-1872 and he also sought help from Russia to drive out the British from India, however Russia refused to avoid war with Britain. He was imprisoned and then sent into exile in Rangoon where he remained a state prisoner for 14 years.

Circumstances Leading to the Swadeshi Movement in Bengal

Queen Victoria was asked to separate Bengal, the largest administrative subdivision of British India, by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. It was a fact that administering Bengal with a population of 70 million was undeniably becoming hard to handle, however, the actual objective behind such partition was political as the British were worried that if the Bengali Hindus and Muslims join hands they would wage war against the British rule. While the Indian independence movement was gradually gaining strength, the British sought to weaken Bengal that was regarded as the nerve centre of Indian nationalism. The proposals of the partition of Bengal became public in 1903 while the decision of dividing Bengal was declared by Curzon on July 19, 1905. The division of the Bengal Presidency, took place on October 16, that year into largely Hindu western areas of Bengal that presently constitute the Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand; and the largely Muslim eastern areas of East Bengal and Assam. Such division of Bengal meant that the British not only thrived in dividing Bengal on the basis of religion by separating the Bengali Hindus and Muslims but also succeeded in restraining the Bengali influence in India’s freedom struggle by reducing the Bengalis into a minority in the Hindu western areas of Bengal with around 37 million Oriya and Hindi speaking people compared to 17 million Bengalis.

After the proposal of partition became public, spontaneous protests at different parts of Bengal started occurring. The real strategy of the British behind the partition was crystal clear to the leaders of Indian nationalism who censured and expressed strong disapproval against such step. 50,000 pamphlets condemning such partition were circulated and moderate techniques of protest were undertaken including giving petitions, holding public meetings and press conferences. Both the elites as well as the large middle-class from the Hindu Bengali community, who saw the partition as a “divide and rule” policy of the British, condemned it. While the elites were outraged as many of them had land in East Bengal that was given on lease to the Muslims, the Bhadraloks, that is the new class of ‘gentlefolk’ among the Bengalis belonging to both the rich and middle-class segments of the community who dared to rise against the British rule saw it as a penalty for their political resolute on Indian nationalism.

Proclamation, Objective & Nature of the Swadeshi Movement (1905)

The Swadeshi Movement was formally proclaimed at a meeting held at the Calcutta Town hall on August 7, 1905 where the Boycott resolution was also passed. Suggestion for boycott was first given by Indian freedom fighter, leader of the Brahmo Samaj and journalist Krishan Kumar Mitra. He openly called for boycott of foreign goods through his journal Sanjivani on July 13, 1905. The boycott movement was undertaken by the Bengalis after employing different other forms of constitutional agitations including petitions, vocal protests and conferences. The objective of boycott movement was to cripple the British economically by boycotting British goods, especially the cotton goods from Manchester the richest market for which in India was Bengal. This would result in pecuniary losses for the colonial rule thus creating pressure on them. Another purpose behind the movement was to revive the comparatively nascent Indian industries so that they can grow and sustain while facing free competition with highly developed industries of foreign countries.

Spontaneous and sporadic protests across Bengal gradually took shape of Swadesi (“buy Indian”) movement. British products were boycotted, people pledged to use Indian goods, shops selling foreign goods were picketed, western clothes and other products were thrown on bonfires and imported sugar was boycotted. Bombings took place in public buildings, armed robberies were staged and British officials were executed by group of young men.

Positive & Negative Aspects of the Swadeshi Movement

The essential features of the Swadeshi movement economically had both positive and negative sides. On the positive side the Indian industries saw regeneration with reawakening of use of indigenous goods. Demand of native products including clothing increased. The Bombay and Ahmadabad mill-owners endeavoured in filling the sudden shortage in supply of clothes due to the boycott movement. The cotton mills of India straightaway got an impetus of fostering the industry, thanks to the Boycott movement in Bengal. However such situation was also taken advantage of by mill-owners as according to sources the Bombay mill-owners heavily cashed in on the ‘Bengali Sentimentalism’ of buying only Indian clothes, thus making huge profits. The once prospering weaving industry of Bengal that was destroyed by the British after they started ruling the province from the 18th century also started supplying clothes, however not so fine handloom products, to meet the sudden increase in demand. The Bengalis nevertheless accepted the coarse clothes wholeheartedly with complete sincerity and commitment towards the Swadeshi Movement. A song pleading people to honour and accept the coarse clothes offered by the poor Mother who does not have means to provide better clothes to her children became very popular across the nation inspiriting Indian nationalism. Several textile mills, soap factories, tanneries, shops, match factories, insurance companies and banks among others were also set up which were based more on the spirit of nationalism rather than on the mind set of doing business.

The British faced the negative side of the Swadeshi movement, which was of course the very purpose of the movement. The foreign goods including clothing, sugar, salt and various other luxury items were not only boycotted, but they were also burned. Campaigns continued including performing occasional bonfires of foreign goods, conducting processions, singing popular songs and publishing articles in newspapers in pursuit of keeping the light of the Swadeshi movement ignited. Volunteers were enrolled to keep a strict vigil and fines were imposed on those found using foreign sugar, while Brahmins denied assisting in conducting pujas and ceremonies in house of those who used European salt and sugar. Warnings were given to the Marwaris so that they refrain from foreign articles import. The Swadeshi movement also led to social boycott of not only buyers but also sellers of foreign goods. Those who opposed the movement or in any way helped the Government in repressing the movement were also boycotted and ostracised socially.

Make in India

Make in India is an initiative by the Government of India to encourage companies to manufacture in India and incentivize dedicated investments into manufacturing. The policy approach was to create a conducive environment for investments, develop a modern and efficient infrastructure, and open up new sectors for foreign capital. The initiative targeted 25 economic sectors for job creation and skill enhancement,[2] and aimed “to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub.”

“Make in India” had three stated objectives:

  1. to increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum;
  2. to create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022;
  3. to ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (later revised to 2025).

After the launch, India gave investment commitments worth ₹16.40 lakh crore (US$230 billion) and investment inquiries worth of ₹1.5 lakh crore (US$21 billion) between September 2014 to February 2016. As a result, India emerged as the top destination globally in 2015 for foreign direct investment (FDI), surpassing the United States and China, with US$60.1 billion FDI.[8] As per the current policy, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in all 100 sectors, except for Space industry (74%), defence industry (49%) and Media of India (26%). Japan and India had also announced a US$12 billion ‘Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” fund to push investment.

In line with the Make in India, individual states too launched their own local initiatives, such as ‘Make in Odisha,’ ‘Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet,’ ‘Vibrant Gujarat,’ ‘Happening Haryana’ and ‘Magnetic Maharashtra.’ India received US$60 billion FDI in FY 2016–17.

The World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business report acknowledges India’s jump of 23 positions against its rank of 100 in 2017 to be placed now at 63rd rank among 190 countries.[14] By the end of 2017, India had risen 42 places on Ease of doing business index, 32 places World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, and 19 notches in the Logistics Performance Index, thanks to recent governmental initiatives, which include converges, synergies and enables other important Government of India schemes, such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Industrial corridors, UDAN-RCS, Bharat Broadband Network, Digital India.

Make in India has not yet achieved its goals. The growth rate of manufacturing averaged 6.9% per annum between 2014-15 and 2019-20. The share of manufacturing dropped from 16.3% of GDP in 2014-15 to 15.1% in 2019-20.

The “Make In India” initiative

Ease of Doing Business

India jumped to 63rd place out of 190 countries in the world Banks’ 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index from 130th in 2016. In February 2017, the government appointed the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Productivity Council “to sensitise actual users and get their feedback on various reform measures.”As a result, now there is competition among the states of India to improve their current ranking on the ease of doing business index based on the completion percentage scores on 98-point action plan for business reform under Make in India initiative. Currently Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal (44.35%) are top six states (c. Feb 2018).

Ongoing global campaign

The campaign was designed by Wieden+Kennedy, with the launch of a web portal and release of brochures on the 25 sectors, after foreign equity caps, norms and procedures in various sectors were relaxed, including the application of manufacturing application made available online and the validity of licenses was increased to three years.”Zero Defect Zero Effect” slogan was coined by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as essence of the Make in India initiative that manages advanced processes, materials and technologies, to guide the production mechanism that produces products with no defects with no adverse environmental and ecological effects.

“Make in India Week” multi-sectoral industrial event at the MMRDA from 13 February 2016 was attended by 2500+ international and 8000+ domestic, foreign government delegations from 68 countries and business teams from 72 countries and 17 Indian states also held expos. The event received over ₹15.2 lakh crore (US$210 billion) worth of investment commitments and investment inquiries worth ₹1.5 lakh crore (US$21 billion), where Maharashtra led with ₹8 lakh crore (US$110 billion) of investments. Previously between September 2014 and November 2015, the government received ₹1.20 lakh crore (US$17 billion) worth of proposals from companies interested in manufacturing electronics in India.

Revision in Public Procurement Order & GFR

On June 15, 2017, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (India), the nodal ministry revised the Indian public procurement order and general financial rule to incorporate preference to Make In India. Subsequently, all the nodal agencies published their own orders to extended the scope of Make In India in procurement related to their line of products.

Sectors covered under This Scheme :- CLick here

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