Crescent Kashmir

Only swadeshi products in CAPF canteens from June 1 after PM Modi’s push

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In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for “local” and “atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)”, home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday announced that canteens of the central paramilitary forces will only sell indigenous products starting June 1.

Shah also appealed to the public to make maximum use of “swadeshi (locally made)” products and encourage others to do the same.

Using the local products, Shah asserted, will also help make India self-reliant in five years.

“This is not the time to sit back and watch but to turn the disaster (Covid-19 epidemic) into an opportunity. If all of us decide to use only local products, then India can be self- sufficient in five years,” Shah tweeted.

The minister said that the PM’s appeal to make the country self-reliant and use local (indigenous) products will surely help chart the path for India to lead the world.

In his fourth address to the nation on Tuesday since March 24, PM Modi said that local manufacturing has helped India during this crisis. “The crisis has taught us that local is going to help us. So, we should become vocal for local – not only buy local, but advertise it too,” said the PM.

The local must become a mantra of our life, emphasised the PM.

The Central Police Canteens (CPCs) of paramilitary forces, or Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), cater to close to 50 lakh family members of about 10 lakh personnel serving in CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), BSF (Border Security Force), ITBP (Indo-Tibet Border Police), CISF (Central Industrial Security Force), SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal), NSG (National Security Guards) and Assam Rifles.

There are over 119 master canteens and 1,625 subsidiary canteens at various locations where these forces are deployed, be it along borders or the interiors of Naxal violence-hit or insurgency affected states. These canteens were established in 2006 after a demand from personnel that armed forces already have such canteens for their families.

Shah said that combined sales of all the CAPF canteens is worth Rs 2,800 crore annually.

The CPCs are already selling locally made products to a large extent after a ministry of home affairs (MHA) order last year.

The MHA had asked the CAPFs, in October 2019, to shun foreign brands and introduce ‘swadeshi’ goods, including food items, accoutrements for khaki, combat and regular duty uniform, bed sheets, towels, household goods, clothing and stationary and other items in their canteens and offices.

Large number of items by these canteens is now being procured from Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

However, no deadline was given at that time.

Amit Shah’s announcement today that all CPCs will have only local products means they won’t be able to sell anything foreign made from June 1.

S S Deswal, Director General of ITBP, who is also holding additional charge as chief of BSF, told HT: “Most of the items we use in our daily life are made in India and are procured from Indian companies, including uniforms, food, clothes and even weapons. In fact, during the Covid-19 pandemic, all the masks, sanitisers and equipment used for sanitization were manufactured by Indian companies. The canteens will be replenished with only local products from June 1.”

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