India had become the world’s second largest manufacturer of mobile phones by displacing Vietnam, claimed a PTI report. In 2014 India’s share was just 3% of the global production of mobile phones while in 2017 India had cornered 11% of the global production.

The claim was duly acknowledged by Union Ministers Manoj Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad. It prompted an amused tweet by the Economist correspondent in India who pointed out that the mobile phones were being assembled in India and not ‘made in India’ as was being claimed.

“Screwdriver sales surge as India starts importing millions of mobile phones in easy-to-assemble kits which are then deemed Made In India. Tariffs, favoured sectors, industrial policy, import substitution: Nehru would recognise this economic strategy for sure,” he tweeted.

It was the turn of Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant to jump in and endorse the claim made by the ICA. He tweeted :

This prompted yet another tweet by Stanley Pignal: “This completely ignores the point I made. If I assemble an IKEA table, I didn’t manufacture it. Similarly, if a “factory” buys a screen, motherboard etc and screw them together, it didn’t create much – if any – value. If India is so competitive surely there is no need for tariffs.”

The exchange evoked other responses with people pointing out that India seemed to be the world’s largest manufacturer of swords, judging by the brand new swords being brandished on Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti by Sangh supporters. Others wondered if India was the largest manufacturer of screwdrivers or even that is being imported from China !

Investigating into the recent communal riots in Bihar the Bihar police observed that the youths in Ram Navami procession were seen brandishing new swords. Now they are probing which group or organisation provided these youth with new swords.

Is our professional and industrial expertise being used in making screwdrivers and swords? It is important to note here that India is the largest importer of arms in the world.

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