After the India-China face-off in Ladakh there have been calls by trading bodies to resident welfare associations to boycott Chinese goods.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an organisation which claims to represent 7 crore traders and 40,000 trade associations has launched a campaign saying that import of Chinese goods must be boycotted and imports should reduce by $13 billion by end of next year. It also urged Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar to cricketers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar to not endorse Chinese products. But the question remains whether it is feasible.
Currently, India imports goods worth $70 billion from China annually.
At India’s biggest wholesale market in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar, which has nearly 40,000 shops, the reality hits. Almost everything on the shelves – toys, electronics, watches, home appliances – is made in China.
Traders say they are ready to boycott Chinese imports, but with conditions.
Rajender Sharma, General Secretary of Sadar Bazar Traders Association said, “We also want to end to Chinese products. No more ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’ now its ‘Hindi-Chini bye bye’. But for us to strengthen that, the government needs to reduce excise duties, encourage small scale manufacturing industries, and reduce red tapism and ‘Inspector Raj’. We start something and before we know, sealing begins.”
“Almost 70 per cent electrical items come from China. On Diwali, we buy something as basic as fairylights but in huge quantities worth billions of dollars from China. Even the components of several Indian made items such as pumps to electronic toys come from China only,” Tarun Garg, a trader of electrical goods tells NDTV.
In Delhi’s upscale Defence Colony, the Resident Welfare Association President declared a “war” against Chinese goods, calling everyone to throw all their Chinese goods on the road.
In an audio message, Major Ranjit Singh, President of Defence Colony RWA said, “As President I declare that Defence Colony is at war. Unfortunately we cannot pick up guns and bullets but there are other means to fight. We can break their backbone economically. Take all the Chinese items lying in your house and throw them on the roads and click pictures and send those to newspapers and TV channels”
24 hours later, there was little or no evidence that anyone had responded.
And several residents have criticised the move.
Bhavreen Kandhari, Defence Colony resident said, “It is irrational to send such messages at this time and add to the chaos. As a citizen why should anyone else speak up for me? If the government decided to ban these products then fine. But why should we throw away products that are available and which we already own that too during an economic crisis. And let us not use the term “war” so casually while we sit in our air conditioned rooms and put the lives of others at risk.”