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Self-reliance is not a new concept in India. In the early days after Independence, not having to import food – including basic grain– from the developed world connotated self-reliance and India did cross that bridge. Self-reliance implied industrialisation subsequently and that was ensured too. In the wired world of the 21st Century, the word aatmanirbharta or self-reliance, has a new ring to it. In every argument, this will be the right call. Yet, be it as individuals, an ecosystem or a country, we were never islands.

In this connected world, where walls are crumbling every day, where we speak of a global village, where even within our societies relationships are in play with neighbours that are not always apparent, how should aatmanirbharta be perceived? The way I see it, the concept does not preclude a like-minded partnership, allies and the ability to trust one another.

In this issue, we factor in the myriad conversations around aatmanirbharta and examine the topic from different angles. Much has been written on the India-China relationship, the stance taken by the government and where we stand on the inter-country dependence scoreboard. We have connected the dots here to look at the bigger picture of how India Inc. is looking at this development. We have also added some pertinent views from industry leaders like R. C. Bhargava of Maruti and Gautam Singhania of the Raymond Group, and how aatmanirbharta can play out in certain industry sectors.

The TikTok ban sent the digital content creation industry (involving a revenue of Rs 120 crore) into a tizzy. Many influencers felt the heat of the decision. Every closed door, however, does open up a window. In this case, it appears that a host of windows have opened up for Indian content creators. This is interesting, not only because we are seeing Indian startups once again really pushing the envelope, but also because some very established Indian companies have joined the contemporary content creation race. These truly are signs of a more evolved proposition coming into play. Our cover story looks at what these potential global people brands are doing and how they see the changes in the ecosystem.

We take a close look at Google CEO, Sundar Pichai’s, announcement of a $10 billion ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund’ to help accelerate India’s digital economy. A leader in the global fearsome five, Google is gearing up for its biggest play in India yet, and who better could lead it in these times than the India CEO, Sanjay Gupta? We can already see Google’s strategic investment in Jio to create entry level phones, indicating the depth of what is to come. I, for one, am most excited. We have this and much more packed into this issue. Technology has truly become a business imperative, and will play a part in India’s drive to be aatmanirbhar. In this issue, we have captured some fascinating comments from industry captains and decision makers.

Happy Reading!

This article was first published in the print issue of (10 July – 25 July) BW Businessworld. Click Here to Subscribe to BW Businessworld magazine.

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