New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The Congress on Friday said the BJP government was only manufacturing slogans and dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'vocal for local' call and the economic stimulus package to make India self-reliant yet another 'jumla' to divert people's attention from 'real issues'.
Addressing a virtual press conference, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal asked how can India become self-reliant till it creates innovation and intellectual property in its universities.
'This is an act of self-deception. This is another 'jumla' (rhetoric) that you sell to the people of the country,' he said, adding that every few months there is a new slogan that is made in India.
'We are only manufacturing 'jumlas', statements and slogans. That is the only thing we make in India and we are masters at that under this government,' he said, taking a swipe at the BJP-led government.
Sibal noted that every few weeks there is a new slogan to divert the attention of the people, but the real issues are those which we see on the roads.
'This country is facing a crisis of proportions that it has never seen before and those sloganeering is only to divert the attention of the people,' he said.
Sibal said while the prime minister calls for 'Atmanirbhar Abhiyaan', his government has failed to help make the poor, farmers, migrant workers, industry or the states to become self-reliant.
Similarly, his exhortation to industry to push 'Made in India, Made for the World', to expand globally, not be dependent on another country in the strategic sector, did not have a clear roadmap as to how this goal should be achieved, the former union minister said.
The Rs 20 lakh crore 'Atmanirbhar' package does not lead to expansion of government expenditure, as it includes measures already announced by the Reserve Bank of India and the budget and amounts to less than 1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as against 10 per cent claimed by the government, he noted.
'The reality is that Modi's 'Atmanirbhar' idea is merely a slogan like innumerable others,' Sibal said.
He also called for private investment in the universities to create innovation and ideas.
Asked if he suggests privatisation, he said the government should step up to contribute in the research in the universities.
The former HRD minister said the maximum contribution in research in other countries was by the government, but in India the expenditure on research and development is only 0.7 per cent of the GDP.
'My idea is that the government should come forward to energise the creation of intellectual property and innovation in the university system instead of sending the ABVP to create violence in these universities,' he noted.
When wealth is created in universities, Sibal said the private sector will benefit and then they will come forward to support innovation and research.
'If you want your nation to be wealthy, you will have to invest in the University System for innovation and for creation of intellectual property because it is only through new ideas and innovations that venture capitalists come and take those ideas to take them forward either for production or goods of the production of service. 'Unless, therefore, you invest in the university system a nation can never be self reliance therefore across the world you will see,' he said.
For India to become 'atmanirbhar', the Congress leader said it needs to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer.
The Gross Domestic Expenditure is the sum of R&D Expenditure of four economic sectors of business, government, private sector and higher education, he said noting that gross GNE on R&D (as percentage of GDP) for Israel is 4.6, South Korea is 4.5, Japan is 3.2, Germany 3.0, USA 2.8, France 2.2, UK 1.7 and Canada is 1.6. He said it is 2.1 in China, but in India it is 0.7 per cent, as per the world bank figures.
Sibal also cited a number of other sectors in which the percentage of dependency on imports from other countries is too high and wondered how India would become self-reliant if this continued.
He said India has merely become an assembly hub for mobile phones, lighting and consumer electronics, as the domestic value addition is under 30 per cent.
India imports almost USD 60 billion worth of electronic equipment, assemblies, components and raw materials every year, and a majority of this is sourced from China, he said, adding that around 88 per cent of the components used by the mobile handsets industry are imported from countries like China.
So is the case with medical devices, solar power products, pharmaceutical industry, auto components, textile raw material, dyes and dyestuff and in the communications industry, with India heavily dependent on import of equipment, he said.
Sibal said the only digital payment platforms and e-commerce platforms benefitting in the country are all from abroad.
So is the case with 5G services, he said, even though India is now going ahead with auctioning the spectrum with its base price being the highest in the world. PTI SKC KJ