Go vocal about local: the Indian scenario
Go vocal about local. This is the new catchphrase of the Indian Prime Minister. The fact of the matter is that we are already vocal about local. We already have a vast domestic sector, with a variety of products and services. This article is an attempt to highlight what we already have in our kitty and what we need to expand for further economic progress.
Introduction The Indian Prime Minister's new mantra is to go vocal about local. We already have a massive number of Indian products in various segments and we are actually giving the toughest competition to the multinational brands. Yes. The multinational companies often simply buy the brands and then sell them under their brand name. Under the brand name of their company. Yet, we still have many who have fought many a battle to survive and make waves in every single market.
Such a wide canvass of products and services and competencies can be found across industries. We will consider some significant examples. They are a) Consumer products and consumer durables b) Services such as domestic transport and tourism c) Engineering goods d) Our ethnic products.
Consumer products and consumer durablesThe Vicco range of products is from an Indian company, Vicco Laboratories. The competitors like Pepsodent and Close Up from Unilever India and the Colgate from Colgate Palmolive, another MNC company, give the toughest competition to the Indian company but the latter has held its own, The herbal range of products from Himalaya Drugs, an Indian company has carved a good niche for itself. Pril is one product that comes from Jyothi Laboratories. They also have other products like Ujjala. These products are successful in taking on the might of the multinational giants.
Parle-G is an Indian product. So is the Sunfeast range from ITC, which is another Indian company. Many think that ITC is a multinational company. It is not an MNC company at all. Similarly, the brand called Peter England belongs to a well-known conglomerate called the Aditya Birla group of companies. Amurtanjan, the famous brand from Chennai, has many Indian products that are good pain relievers. We have a product called Bovonto, that competes against even Thums up and Coca Cola in many markets of South India. There are numerous local brands of cool drinks that deliberately sell in smaller packs of Rs.10/- apiece, taking on the might of Tata Glocoplus, from the Tata group.
Services such as domestic transport and tourismWe do not need to look very far. Our own Kerela has produced some of the finest records in tourism. It has a lovely catchphrase and brand called "God's Own Country". Today, Kerala is at the forefront of attracting the best of tourists in normal times. In the post-Corona phase, Kerala will draw the maximum number of foreign tourists and the Alleppey Boat Festival will be a major draw. It also has what is now called medical tourism. The Ayurvedic treatment methods of Kerala are simply world-class. For instance, the Kottakal Arya Vaidya Pharma in Kerala has patients from even the UK and most of Europe. They do not come just for treatment. Since the natural beauty of Kerala is so good, the domestic tourism potential is always a money-spinner.
Similarly, Tamil Nadu has some of the best temples in the world. Millions of foreigners flock to the State during the Pongal time, that is, between the 15th and 20th of January every year. It is the main festival of the Tamils and it is always celebrated in grand style. The foreigners are very much attracted by what they get to see and experience. Being a part of the celebrations is something that they can never forget.
The hill stations such as Darjeeling and Nainital offer so much to see. Every State has so much to offer to tourists and tourism is a major source of revenue. Once the tourist season starts, post-COVID, there will be increased activity. For one, the people who were confined to their homes for such a long time would like to spend limited money to go round. For instance, someone who lives in Palghat in Kerala would like to visit Trivandrum and not only go to the sea but also the world-famous Padmanabha Swamy temple, when the restrictions totally go. This might set them back by Rs.4000/-, but they would still not mind the cost. Lodges that charge Rs.600 per day for a decent double room and the hotels that do not charge more than Rs.70/- for a decent vegetarian meal, will be back in business. The tourist buses that ply throughout India will start plying once again. To be sure, the chartered buses that ply between say, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to visit many tourist places ( both State Government buses and the private ones) are already huge. This activity will bring out many economic benefits.
Tirupathi and similar temples will see millions of tourists. All this pent up demand for praying to the Lord will simply open up. Everything will be back to normal, hopefully when the flattening of the curve --even if partly due to herd immunity -- starts showing up its full effectiveness. The demand for opening up economic activities is already picking up momentum. It is impossible to lock up crores of people inside their homes for such a long time. The annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival has to be celebrated. It cannot be low key and people might even defy prohibitive orders.
Engineering goodsLook at the TVS group and no further. The brake systems that go into any Suzuki car anywhere in the world, including the Maruti brand in India, comes from Brakes India limited. Likewise, Sundram Fasteners supplies fasteners to every corner of the world and counts all the auto majors around the world as its customers. Yes. The revival will be slow, but in 2021, there will be increased exports. The Government of India will depend only on such exports. Lucas TVS supplies the electric bulbs and certain other parts. The brake linings come from Sundram Brake linings. The companies are all zero debt companies and can borrow if they want to keep themselves alive. They are all world-class in quality.
Mahindra&Mahindra manufactures a brand of tractors that were selling in the USA for such a long time. It is not without reason that Bharat Forge is among the best in the world. Tata is such a formidable player in the auto industry as well. TVS Motors has a wide range of scooters. They have their own technology. Bajaj Auto is also there. And to literally boss over these two, we have the Hero MotorCorp, that even broke its relationship with Honda, but has since then grown from strength to strength.
Our ethnic products and brandsOur Ayurvedha and Siddha products are doing so well in the international market. When dengue was severe in most parts of India, in Chennai and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, there was not even one death. This happened due to the presence of a proven Siddha drug formula called the Nila Vembu Kudineer. This is actually a derivative of neem but has some other special inputs as well. Since then, it had become the subject of research by Western experts and the good effects of this treatment have been duly published in International peer-reviewed and refereed journals.
We have many types of ethnic products. For example, many products with a turmeric base are sold throughout the world. The agarbathi is one such brand that finds its way in temples around the world. Tirunelveli halwa is an international brand. Saravana Bhavan that has expanded to so many foreign countries, has been able to thousands of foreigners as customers. Yoga originated in India but is so powerful throughout the world. We now have a Yoga International day. The list goes on and on.
Once we go on patronizing the Indian brands, we will be very successful in reviving our Indian economy. However, foreign brands cannot be wished away just like that. Hamam from Unilever India is one of the most famous brands and will continue to thrive. The price is as competitive as the Indian brands. For example, brands from Dabur do not come cheap. For that matter, the "cost-plus profit" strategies are not particularly relevant only to the MNC companies. Every Indian company does it too.
Nevertheless, supporting Indian brands can send a resounding message that we can or are already, somewhat self-reliant. Only some dimensions have been discussed above. The scope of the local brands and products in our country is so vast and will continue in the same fashion for all times to come. Yes. There will be a slump in demand for another 18 months, but when the economy opens up, the Indian players will be back in business. Pathanjali is one example. It is already back in business and Indians have already made this one of the most formidable competitors to the MNC brands.
ConclusionIt is not at all out of place to mention that we have too many good Indian products and our own ethnic products. The present trends will continue and when the economy is back to normal after a while, the Indian products and services will be back to drive the GDP growth to respectable levels.
A very good article from the author regarding our local products and services that are already giving tough competition to the multinational companies. The newly emerged Patanjali products are the best example of this. Pantajali is giving tough competition to many of the MNCs and they claimed their share in the market. The company has already made inroads into the market of many MNCs. We should appreciate the company for its success in the domestic field. They should aim at exporting some products to other countries and see that we will make some foreign exchange also.
ISRO is launching the satellites of many countries and earning a lot of foreign exchange. The organization is completely working with Indian talent also. Unlike DRDO, ISRO is not using any foreign technology or foreign consultants in their business. Now the Indian government wants to bring private participation in this also. That may give a big boost to this field. The only point is that Indian organizations in the private sector should come out and start working in this field also.
Sivakasi is very famous for firecrackers manufacturing and they sell a lot in India. But these days we are finding some imports from China. That should be stopped and we should go for locally made products only and give a boost to the Indian market. That will make China also suffer as there will not be any exports from China to India.
India is already making many products and selling locally. Still, we have many unexplored markets. In the clothing industry, especially for gents clothing, many foreign brands are only there and many young people will be going for those products. Some Indian companies should come out and launch their products so that the foreign brand's demand will come down. Companies like RamRaj Cotton etc should think of this and make an attempt in that direction.