Amidst the recent corona crisis, the Indian government announced a package or
USD266 billion to fight the crisis and boost the economy. The focus was to
strengthen the Indian MSME sector and small businesses at the village level
Among all the other objectives and schemes under these announcements, one
initiative is particularity much talked about, and that is the Aatm-Nirbhar
initiative. There are many speculations and gossips already taking rounds in
business communities. I have been monitoring this particularly and found out
that there are many concerns about this initiative among business persons and
Few of the concerns are:
- We are going to completely block the import of goods from countries,
- Produce everything in our own country, be it electronics, clothing
requirements, or medical equipment.
- The most talked concern is that India is going to become China in terms
of IP laws regulation.
At the first look, these all concerns look genuine. However, if we think deep,
these concerns are not threatening. First things first, no country can become a
completely self-dependent economy. Imports will never be blocked 100 percent.
This becomes more important when the import is coming from the country with
cheap pricing and in the cut-throat competition with the local manufacturing
For example, Indian industries import spare parts and electronic
components (to be used in the end product in India) heavily from China. This is
intended to be regulated and controlled to protect the local interest. However,
this cannot be terminated completely as it will take a huge chunk of time for
India to be productive at that level. The challenge for India is to beat the
pricing and maintain the quality at the same time, to cut the export to some
level. However, the import of goods such as raw components, automotive parts,
electronics, and heavy machinery is not going to end at any time soon.
Now the biggest concern among businesses in India is that Indian small
businesses would be on the path of violating IP laws and may become another
China. It is notable that China is very infamous for exploiting the IP rights of
companies from other countries. Also, it is said that the patent office in China
is favorable to patent applications from local applicants.
This is the reason
China was able to manufacture electronics equipment and automobiles at a huge
level, without having fear of any severe IP violation consequences. Industry
fears that this will happen in India too as the initiative will encourage people
to increase the manufacturing and in process, and they may knowingly or
unknowingly violate the IP rights of respective owners.
This concern of demeaning IP regulations in the name of the Aatm-Nirbhar
initiative is much discussed among the business community. However, this is not
true and not going to happen in the near future. From what I see this initiative
is somewhat an extension of Make in India campaign, with the emphasis of
manufacturers being Indian companies.
Make in India campaign already focuses on
boosting the IP economy and protecting IP rights. The Indian government has
separately been working on promoting patent filings and increasing awareness for
IP rights and processes in India. This won't be faded in the recent Aatm-Nirbhar
In the past, it has been seen that manufacturing big scale products without
caring for IP products didn't go well for Indian companies. A few years ago, a
bubble of Indian smartphone manufacturers surfaced and gained momentary success
in the market. Most of the brands had blatantly violated the IP rights of other
telecom companies. Eventually, almost all the brands faded away as the rival
competitors started filing patents in Indian. Indian manufacturers could not
keep up with innovation.
Keeping in considering the recent boom in Indian patent filing trends and cheap
cost to obtain the patent in India, it is very less likely that IP rights would
not be cared for in the country. Indian manufacturers need to adopt the concept
of innovation in their productions and IP trends are nothing but a reflection of
the innovation adopted by the industries. From where I see, the trend looks