The call for a Swadeshi movement in August 2017 by the BJP state executive in Karnataka is surely likely to compound the country‚Äôs existing waste management crisis in urban centres.
This call for a boycott of Chinese goods is in response to the on-going border stand-off at Doklam between the two of the rising global economies.
Although the party is undecided on the specifics about their demonstration, it is understood that either the party workers are going to throw out all Chinese manufactured good out of their homes or burn them.
However, top BJP leaders did not clarify if they are going to burn their computers and cell phones, including their pricey iPhones and iPads or other Chinese-made expensive gizmos.
In a similar situation in October 2016, Baba Ramdev had drawn flak on social media when he had tweeted calling for a similar boycott ironically from an iPhone.
With the swadeshi movement soon to gain momentum, here is a list of things that will end up lying in the trash
1. Smartphones- One in two smartphones sold in India in the last quarter was of Chinese make. Brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo are all manufactured by Chinese companies and their market share has only grown in the last few years.
2. Steel- As India wants to build roads and expands its rail network, it needs more steel than it produces domestically. A third of the total steel imported by India was from China in 2014-15.
3. Toys-80% of toys in Indian markets are either from China or Italy. The Quartz report states that the import of toys from these two nations has grown more than 30% every year between 2001-2012.
4. Solar equipment- As India aims to shift towards greener sources to meet its energy needs, solar energy along with other non-conventional sources of energy will play a big part. Here, China supplies 87% of the total solar equipment imported to India.
5. Lights-As India is moving to LED lighting in order to save power, China has captured most of the market giving Indian companies a run for their money.
6. Electronic Items-China also accounts for more than 20% of the total imports of all electronic items in India. Given that there are only a few Indian manufactures, China has a massive lead in this sector.
7. Medicines-Even when it comes to lifesaving drugs or your common cold tablet, China is the prime supplier of raw materials for pharma companies in India. Even the central government is wary of this and trying to reduce the dependency on the Chinese in this regard.
8. Aggarbattis/ firecrackers-An essential commodity for all Puja purposes, the quintessential agarbatti is now made by the Chinese at a cheaper price with various colour options and this led to a wide-scale loss of jobs of rural women in India.
In total, a little over 10% of India‚Äôs imports are from China, which is the highest from a single country. Apart from Chinese imports, the global manufacturing powerhouse is also expanding its investments in India.
A report by IndiaSpend states that China has climbed up to become the 17th highest source of Foreign Direct Investment with automobile being the most preferred sector. The country was ranked 28th in 2014 and 35th in 2011.
Unlikely that the boycott called by the BJP leaders are going to do any good to the massive trade deficit India has with its neighbour, given Chinese exports to India only accounts for 2% of its total exports. But it will only harm Indian businesses and employees engaged in selling these Chinese products.