Accusing the Central government of being responsible for the closure of more than 40,000 manufacturing units in the country over the past two years, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congress party has strongly criticised the ruling dispensation.
Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “preoccupied with favouring close associates and engaging in political campaigns” and said that this trend indicates a significant threat to the backbone of the Indian economy.
“The manufacturing sector, which forms the bedrock of the country’s economy, is facing severe deterioration. In the two years following the Covid-19 period, 40,175 manufacturing companies have shut down. Despite this alarming situation, the Prime Minister seems indifferent, focusing instead on favoring his close friends and campaigning,” Ramesh stated in a post on X, while expressing his concerns.
“While big companies are thriving, small businesses are perishing. This once again substantiates our consistent claim, dating back to the Bharat Jodo Yatra, that economic disparities in the country have escalated rapidly under the leadership of the Modi government,” Ramesh remarked while highlighting the contrast between large and small businesses.
Of late, the Congress has been pointing out the growing wealth inequality in the country and has been critical of the government over the handling of the economy by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been raising these issues at public meetings, in press conferences and during his 4,000 km Bharat Jodo Yatra in 2022.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Congress sources had said that the possibility of a second phase of the Bharat Jodo Yatra — between December 2023 and January 2024 — cannot be ruled out.
In September 2023, members of the Congress Working Committee — including former Union minister P Chidambaram — had urged Rahul Gandhi to kick off another Bharat Jodo Yatra, this time spanning west to east. In response to a question about organising the second edition of the Yatra, he had said, “That matter is under consideration.”
Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry in India has gone through various phases of development over time. Since independence in 1947, the domestic manufacturing sector has traveled from building the industrial foundation in 1950’s and early 1960’s, to the license–permit Raj between 1965 to 1980.
Then it underwent a phase of liberalization in the 1990s and finally to the present phase of global competitiveness. The Indian Manufacturing sector currently contributes 16-17% to GDP and gives employment to around 12% (as of 2014) of the country’s workforce. Various studies have estimated that every job created in manufacturing has a multiplier effect in creating 2–3 jobs in the services sector. In a country like India, where employment generation is one of the key policy issues, this makes this sector a critical one to achieve inclusive growth.
Manufacturing is the creation or production of goods with the help of equipment, labour, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of the secondary sector of the economy. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high-tech, but it is most commonly applied to industrial design, in which raw materials from the primary sector are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such goods may be sold to other manufacturers for the production of other more complex products (such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture, sports equipment or automobiles), or distributed via the tertiary industry to end users and consumers (usually through wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers, who then sell them to individual customers).
Modern manufacturing includes all intermediate processes involved in the production and integration of a product’s components. Some industries, such as semiconductor and steel manufacturers, use the term fabrication instead. The manufacturing sector is closely connected with the engineering and industrial design industries.