Reality check


Open Letter to Baba Ramdev on his call to Indians to boycott Chinese products

Dear Ramdev Ji,

With all due respect, your fallacious comment is not at all appreciated. Your idea of boycotting Chinese products is terrible, both politically and economically.

It is important here to realise that China is India’s largest trading partner and not vice versa. Only 2-3 per cent of Chinese exports come to India, and so India’s boycott won’t dent the Chinese economy. It would, however, prove to be a self goal as China can make anything from toys to electronics at prices no one can match. These imports from China has helped us in lowering the price of goods in India. These cheap imports are also beneficial for India’s global export as our exports contain Chinese components.

Also, if Chinese consumers start boycotting Indian products, India will lose more than China. Countries are economically interdependent. We cannot risk deteriorating trade relations with the second largest economy in the world. Politically, too, the decision is childish as trade is one of the prominent factors which has normalised the border relations between the two countries. Why risk the peace and security of the Indo-China border with such gimmicks?

This brand of nationalism is popular only on social media and not in real life.

Siddhi Mundra



Plain rhetoric

Social media users are persuading Indians against buying anything Chinese. To intensify the discussion, yoga guru Baba Ramdev has called for a boycott of all Chinese goods. The topic of discussion has spread across the length and breadth of India. The idea is to teach China a lesson for backing Pakistan at a time when the neighbouring country has almost been isolated for sponsoring and exporting terror. Since China has problems with India's stand on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, netizens in India have been generating opinion on social media. But it is high on rhetoric and rather poor on facts.

We do appreciate Baba Ramdev for his Swadeshi idea. He wants to boycott all Chinese goods and to make India an export champion like what China has become today.

But before discussing whether India can ban Chinese goods or not, we should not forget that the misguided approach towards Indo-China trade ties on social media as well as by celebrities would bother many traders and wholesalers in India. The impact of anti-Chinese sentiment will be known only after the financial year is over.

Many companies will suffer, if the trade with China stops. More over Indian government cannot really ban the import of Chinese goods as it will be against the norms of WTO. Statistical records say that we have imported at least six times more from than China did from us. It’s obvious that we are heavily dependent on Chinese imports and boycotting goods subsequently will hurt Indian business.

Simply blocking Chinese imports will only lead to a supply-demand gap and worsen the situation. To boost Indian economy, we need to manufacture more and import less. Let us hope that we will reach the state of equilibrium with China in manufacturing in near future. Hence, we cannot ban import of Chinese products. However, the decision of not buying Chinese products can be taken at an individual level.

Pramod Kumar P.S.



Say yes to 'swadeshi' products

I appreciate your call to boycott Chinese products. While Chinese goods have been bombarding Indian markets for quite a few years now, there are hardly any checks in place to ascertain their quality and safety. People are lured into buying Chinese goods due to their lower pricing compared to similar goods made elsewhere.

With the 'Made in India' initiative catching up like wild fire in the last one year or so, your very own brand Patanjali has taken giant strides in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. You are certainly giving other manufacturers, including your Chinese counterparts, a run for their money. When people get much better quality products made in our own country, there's no reason why they would opt for the inferior-quality Chinese goods.

Also, due to lack of quality standards for Chinese goods, people compromise on their safety and end up victims and something goes bad. I have personally seen this happen with Chinese goods, especially electronic goods. Once they go bad, there is no way you can get them repaired. They follow the 'use and throw' model. Once they go bad, the only option you have is to ditch them and buy a new product. People don't mind it either as they wouldn't shell out huge sums of money to get an alternate product.

Also, the Chinese goods are packaged in much more attractive ways compared to local goods. Thus, these 'eye-catching' goods garner more attention and sell like hot-cakes.

You are fast revolutionising almost every sector you are entering and I am sure that with your concerted efforts and the co-operation of all the Indians, the demand for Chinese goods will fast diminish and everybody will start adoring and using 'swadeshi' goods. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours.

Srinath H.R.



New vision needed

Your call for boycotting Chinese goods to protest against China’s help to Pakistan is a childish way of responding to the problem. Nations take foreign policy decisions based on self-interest and not for sentimental reasons and China is not an exception. Boycott of Chinese goods will not make it change its policy. On the other hand it may hurt India.

Even during the frosty Sino-Indian relations after the 1962 war, smuggled Chinese goods like pens and nail clippers were available in India, even in villages. Indian manufacturers, meanwhile, were content to push shoddily manufactured goods into the protected market, never bothering to invest in modernisation. Even now boycott will help smugglers and China would be happy to encourage them.

India will have to compete with China in producing goods with the same quality and price. Countries like China and South Korea have come up by developing mass production of components of consumer goods virtually as home industry with the companies supervising the quality, assemblage and market. Go to any supermarket in the US, and you will find consumer goods from China, stitched cotton clothes from Sri Lanka and electronic goods from either China or South Korea. India, meanwhile, produces only beedies, pickles and agarbattis as home industry products—that, too, of poor quality standards. The only Indian product I found in the American supermarkets was stainless steel teaspoon. We require a new vision.

T. Sudhakar Bhat

Sullia, Karnataka

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