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Being ‘Atmanirbhar’ alone is not the answer. You have
got to back it with substance, with sincerity and with dedication. For example,
for many decades Air India was government operated but was mired in losses,
inefficiencies and corruption. Was that meaningful Atmanirbhar? Now that it is
with the Tatas we can expect a complete overhaul of its working and efficiency.
Similarly, when it comes to the quality of its services,
government operated telephone company MTNL is the pits. We may be Atmanirbhar,
but if it rankles of corruption and inefficiency, the entire edifice of
Atmanirbhar becomes a farce!
In the auto industry, of late, I often read of the
crash tests being conducted by Global NCap, a charity based in the UK. Their
mission is to ensure that we have more “safer cars” on roads. Many India-made
cars have failed the crash tests while a few have scored five star ratings. The
moment an India-made car gets a 5-star rating by Global Ncap, the company out here starts publicizing it
like no one’s business. Why do you have to look so earnestly at a foreign
outlet to endorse your products?
But then what about Indian institutions like ARAI, iCAT
and others who homologate a vehicle made in India once it comes out of a
factory? What about the various Indian laws pertaining to build and quality of
In short, if a Maruti Suzuki vehicle gets a single
star or a Mahindra vehicle gets all five stars in the Global Ncap test, does it
have any relevance for Indians? Not really, because these cars are tested for
safety at speeds of around 50 to 60kmph. But in India most of the accidents
take place at insane and reckless speeds. It’s time to educate our drivers and
riders. The vehicles in India are relatively safe but those driving it make it
The logic is simple, we still love cozying up to the
“angrez” and hence our adulation for the British charity institution. They invite elite auto journalists from India
to witness their tests so that the latter can talk high of their work. If only
these same journalists could talk about Indian car makers, Indian norms and
Indian institutions in a more purposeful way, it would have been nice.
Atmanirbhar! Don’t you get the point?
The other day I went to buy some fruits from the
market. The shopkeeper displayed oranges imported from Thailand, plums from the
US and grapes from another foreign land. These fruits were priced high but were
very tasty. For once I did not bother about Atmanirbhar, because it’s a word
that everyone uses to one’s convenience! As for the shopkeeper, Atmanirbhar or
no Atmanirbhar, he just wants to make his money. And that is what every Indian
is striving to do!