The ‘Swadeshi’ push of the Union government got embroiled in a controversy on Monday after an order issued by the central police canteen delisting 1,000 products was withdrawn within hours after it came to the notice that many of the banned items were Indian companies.
The order issued by Central Police Canteen (CPC) in-charge DIG RM Meena read, "In pursuance to the decision taken by Ministry of Home Affairs, only Swadeshi goods will be sold through KPKB bhandars with effect from 1st June, 2020."
The order went on to say that all products being sold at CPC were categorised into three groups and those in category 3 -- purely imported one were delisted.
However, a close scrutiny of the list revealed that a number of Indian manufacturers like Dabur, VIP, Nestle India, HUL (foods), and Bajaj that once had the famous tagline ‘Humara Bajaj’ signifying its Indianness.
Soon after, the Ministry Of Home Affairs got into a damage control mode and officials said the list stands withdrawn and a fresh list will be issued soon. An MHA functionary told CNN-News18, "The officer who issued the order exceeded the brief. Action is being contemplated against him."
Later, the chairman of Welfare And Rehabilitation Board and CRPF DG issued a statement that said the list issued by Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandar regarding delisting of certain products has been erroneouly issued at the CEO level. "The list has been withdrawn and action is being initiated for the lapse," it said.
Home Minister Amit Shah had tweeted on May 13 that a decision has been taken to sell only Swadeshi goods in central police canteens which cater to 10 lakh paramilitary personnel and 50 lakh family members.
Sources in the CPC said they had been waiting for a detailed order from MHA since this tweet bit none had been issued elaborating the definition of ‘Swadeshi’.
The now-withdrawn order issued by DIG Meena said it had "the approval of competent authority." However, this has been disputed by MHA.
If implemented, a total of 1,026 foreign products, including chocolates, shoes and gadgets would have been taken off the shelves from Monday at all central paramilitary force canteens across the country.
The move to sell only 'Made in India' products in CPCs followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the people to buy local products and be vocal about them. "Vocal for Local," he had declared in his address.
The CAPFs -- CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and NSG -- canteens do an estimated business worth Rs 2,800 crore annually by selling their products to 50 lakh family members of about 10 lakh personnel of these forces tasked for a variety of internal security duties and border guarding.
(With inputs from PTI)