For the Bharatiya Janata Party anything manufactured in India, including by multinational companies, are local products and it would not make a distinction among them, the party said on Thursday.
Responding to questions on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for national self-reliance, BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member, G V L Narasimha Rao, said there is not going to be any directive to buy local products but felt that a lot of people might themselves see the need to purchase those of good quality made in the country.
Noting for example that shampoo is manufactured by many companies, including MNCs, in India, Rao told PTI:
"When we say local, it is not just local products made by domestic companies. Anything that is manufactured in India for us is local."
"Anything made locally, we won't make a distinction, there is not going to be any directive, you buy this or buy that, there is no directive, this will all be individual decisions," he added.
Rao said India has demonstrated even during the COVID-19 crisis how it has been able to organise own needs, while most countries were dependent on other nations.
India has helped more than 100 countries supplying medicines, and produced tens of lakhs of N95 masks which were hardly made in the past.
"It is not just in times of crisis (that we become self-reliant), it has to become life's mantra," he said. "We have the capability and capacity, we should really strive to make everything of great quality. That will also afford us opportunity to export. It is not just local opportunity. This will also help us to go global."
Promoting local products is not a government-driven agenda, he said. What is needed is "mindset change".
"We have to give up this impression that foreign is better."
On the prime minister's call for national self-reliance and stress on the need for us to become 'vocal about local', Rao said: "This is not an isolationist policy, we are not going towards protectionism. It is not inward looking."
"There is no isolationist approach, no protectionism, there is certainly a call for greater quality, greater efficiency, and improving local product lines not only to capture the entire local market but also go global. This is not a protectionist approach as many people seem to think," he said.
"This is certainly strengthening, reforming, revitalising your own product line, your own economy, your own manufacturing sector so that you compete with the best in the world. It's not giving up better or buying local by force. It's purely mindset change that Prime Minister talked about," Rao added.