How relevant is #BoycottChinaProducts in today’s times?

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After the unfortunate death of 20 Indian Soldiers in the violence of India-China faceoff on the LAC Border (Line of Control Action), in the Galwan Valley, the rage and wrath of Indian citizens has taken a new shape. Indians are inconsolably angry. The people across the country have come out on the streets to call for #BoycottChinaProducts.

The anti-China protests across some citizens of India include incidents where people have ignited pictures of Chinese leader, smashing already purchased Chinese goods like television sets and fragmenting Chinese products like toys into pieces. Shops across the country have started putting up a notice of boycotting Chinese products and trading domestic products to market Indian economy over Chinese. Although smashing already purchased products is completely irrational as it is just making a big hole in one’s own pocket, that too in the time of pandemic where India has seen the unprecedented rate of unemployment.

Calling off a war or boycott is easy said than done. Be it a war either on the border or in terms of economy it requires a lot of strategic planning and resources. As per “The New York Times” China has an upper hand both in terms of military forces and economic market over Indian market

We are completely surrounded by the Chinese products in every possible manner. From a minor nail cutter to the calculator, from children’s toys to the bedsheets and curtains in our houses, from a basic pen to the laptop we use, from online transaction through Paytm to online shopping sites like Shein and to note AliBaba has the highest share of investment in the business of Zomato and Snapdeal.

Pulp of paper, textile fabrics, articles of plaster, glassware, utensils, crockery, furniture, vehicles, fertilisers, heavy machinery etc. all of these basics that we consume directly or indirectly are imported from China and we are actively and passively using Chinese products extensively in our daily lives. No matter which service or product we avail, Chinese market has completely attacked Indian lives. Withdrawing ourselves from availing these services or not purchasing these products is not happening practically in decades to come.

Every Indian who is having a mobile phone in their pocket is either a Chinese phone or has some or other part of it being manufactured in China. Everyone who is right now using or having a wrist watch, wall clock, glass rods, hair cream, face powder, hair shampoo, any makeup product, paints, vanishes, printing ink, in their vicinity has purchased a direct Chinese product or the raw material used to make it is imported from China.

The bigger question that has been raised is “Is it practically possible for an Indian to Boycott on Chinese Products?”

The so called boycott movement is initiated by a group of people who are defining this as a revenge for the death of 20 martyrs on the Indian border. It’s important to note that this idea is not been initiated or promoted by the Government of India.

The campaign has gather eyeballs through mainstream media of India but makes a global mockery of Indians themselves as the same television and mobile phone which is used to propagate the idea of banning Chinese products is produced by China.

“Confederation of All India Trades (CAIT)” has announced the shun of Chinese products and has requested its 70 million members to uniformly do the same. It has released an official notice to request big Indian public figures like Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachan, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Virat Kohli, Madhuri Dixit etc. to not endorse Chinese brands. CAIT listed 3000 products that included small and big commodities in order to challenge the trade of Chinese products in India. In case if Indians completely boycott the mentioned 3000 products then estimates say we will not spend 13-14 Billion Dollars in the Chinese market which is a huge amount for China to get affected but this is not even possible or practical to do so. India has no alternatives of these products nor do we have an infrastructure in place to switch to mass produce of our own complete self-production.

Maximum mobile brands in Indian market are Chinese Brands which includes Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Lenovo Lenovo, Huawei. Apple’s iPhone and iPad have significant parts that are produced in China. Amidst this hoax of #BoycottChinaProducts campaign itself the newly launched model of OnePlus went out of stock in minutes after its online launch on Amazon.

The Boycott movement also reached towards the removal of online applications to affect the Chinese market. Most downloaded Apps like TikTok, ShareIt, PUBG, UC Browser, CamScanner, BeautyPlus etc were specifically targeted. There are no strong alternatives that India has for these applications.

One on hand a group of angry Indians demand ban on Chinese items on the other hand government has no plans to improve Indian market or build any mechanism to boost our own production. It is appropriate to say such hoax campaigns make no difference when the Government continues to support Chinese trade and is completely in no mood to take any step to change the laws of trade and business with China.

Indian consumer has no alternate option than to buy a Chinese product, even small and basic products like that of a calculator which cannot be easily and cheaply produced by the Indian market. This is because of multiple failures of Indian government and system in place. The current system of setting business and production of goods is full of loopholes and is not citizens friendly. The cost of production of a pen in India is 5 times higher than that of an easily available Chinese pen. This is because setting a factory here in India is a costly affair and then corruption is ultimately so high in Indian system that it becomes impossible to produce Indian goods at a cheaper price. When a Chinese product is cheaper and good in quality than that of Indian, it becomes practically impossible for a middle class Indian to buy the same quality at a higher price. The corruption and strict laws have made it very tough for any Indian traders to produce goods at a cheaper price, so technically dealing with the Chinese market and doing business to earn bread and butter is their option left.

Indian government in last five years has allowed more of the Chinese import than before by giving subsidy and easy trade laws whereas laws to strengthen Indian independent production are very hard for a middle class to start and sustain local business. Chinese import has this much become vital that from the idols on Ganesh Chaturthi to the Kites on independence Day of India we need Chinese goods to celebrate our own festivals. It is very clear from daily needs to the annual festivals we have clear presence of Chinese products and services heavily.

While we are so much dependent on China for our each and every basic or advanced need how can a common man in India think of boycotting Chinese products?

As long as the government is a flag holder to allow Chinese market to strengthen its roots in India and not reframe their internal laws setting a business we can not even think of having any alternate solution than to continue the usage of whatever Chinese products and services that are available to us at a pocket friendly price.

Last week Indian government made an account on Tiktok and to pay the tribute to the Martyrs of the Indi- China conflict as they uploaded a video on the Chinese platform itself. All this is quite contradictory on are we as a nation actually thinking to support or discard Chinese economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared a “Self-Reliant India” to fight the recent economic crisis in the times of pandemic but at this moment Indians are as dependent on Chinese goods as we are dependent on oxygen to survive. From small commodities like diya, agarbatti to big commodities like automobiles, Indian economy is closely interlinked with Chinese as we count on them for all major and minor products.

India imports 70 Billion Dollar worth products from China and a sudden shift or replacement is not practically possible.

There is no option or way to boycott China as long as government is not considering boycott on the import and providing resources and investments to Indian locals to start an independent market of production.

India is currently going through worst economic crisis in the last 45 years. Unemployment, poor labour and poor healthcare has created more damage in the pandemic. We as a nation have reached a cliff because of the increasing number of COVID cases, increasing migrant crisis, unemployment, tensions at the border, GDP and economy declining etc. Even in such crisis India is hugely dependent on China, the vital health care that India has imported in last three months is mostly from China which includes the PPE kits and the testing kits for COVID. If Indian government had actually thought of making this challenge as an opportunity to economically grow for India than they would have thought of setting up factories for the mass production of PPE kits and testing kits for internal use and for export it to other countries for the economic growth and actual self-reliance.

India’s initiative Make In India back in 2014 was initially perceived as the huge game changer by he Modi government but it has just delivered poor results. There are no positive outcomes of the initiative rather India’s dependency has gone high in the last six years. On one hand India has an upper hand in the export of raw materials but the export of finished products from China to India is tremendous. India currently gives 5 unit advantage to Chinese market and in return just has 1 unit advantage of gain which is an asymmetry of economic gain.

The current government of India involved China massively in the trade and infrastructure contracts. Post India-China faceoff last week and the growing voice of boycott China products, now the questions have been raised to cancel the tender which was won by the Chinese Business firm for an underground stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System, but this seems impossible as it’s the lowest bid and there are no cheap alternative bids that Indian market can offer.

If Chinese manufacturers in India all of a sudden stop producing goods for them then the unemployment will shoot very high. People will cost their jobs and lives. A high number of population at this moment is doing trade with China and until and unless government has an agenda to boost Indian market, people alone just can’t do anything impactful.

Until and unless Indian government completely bans Chinese products and force Indians to produce and consume all products themselves and gives ease on investments, resources and rules and regulations, it is impossible to even ban small products in a sustainable and longer fashion. for Indians to easily set independent business it includes massive steps like relief in high cost of GST, machinery, raw materials etc from government of India’s end.

Boycott Chinese products is a hoax and it is no way to fight China and show rage for the tensions on borders, it’s the government which has to come up with a plan to settle on borders and ways to boost economy of India. Its non-deniable to say that we are completely dependent on China in respect to the economic market and their military continues to make bigger plans so it’s the government of India who needs to take a charge of settlement on border and make flexible rules and regulations to strengthen independent Indian market

 

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