While globally countries are trying to save their economies from defaulting or markets from crashing, India is steadily moving ahead with its flagship initiative, the “Make in India” program. Ease of doing business, Public – Private Partnerships, harnessing the potential of India’s vast youth population, geographical advantages, its democratic fabric and above all, the captive demand has been the driving force of the Prime Minister Modi’s “Make in India” campaign.
Make in India is a great initiative as we are a young nation of nearly 800 million citizens under the age of 35 besides having a strategic geographical position in the world. It is our commitment – and an invitation to all for turning India into a new global technology agnostic manufacturing hub. Inclusive development is the top priority of the government as it wants to empower youth with upgraded skills, better education and opportunities; safety, dignity and rights for those in every section of our society, especially women; a bank account for every Indian; affordable health care within everyone’s reach; safe drinking water and sanitation for all by 2019; a roof over every head by 2022; electricity for every household; 100 smart cities and 1000 smart villages in the near future besides connectivity to every village over a robust communications backbone through Digital India. All these initiatives will help in increasing the purchasing power of every Indian and thus stimulate a huge demand.
Stating that Asia is the next growth story Modi said, “The world is looking to Asia for growth. I don’t need to give an invitation; I just need to tell people the address of India.” He also added “Development is an article of faith for the government. We are dedicated to growth. I do not only talk about good governance. I talk about effective governance. Government working as a facilitator can produce results.”
Creating job opportunities for Indian youth in manufacturing sector, developing sustainable technology for inclusive growth and increasing purchasing power of Indians has been the key focus of the “Make in India” initiative. Manufacturing will create jobs, enhance the purchasing power and bring the underprivileged section to middle class, which in turn will create a large market for the manufacturers. Government is also promoting export-driven policies aggressively, which would be an added advantagefor manufacturing sector. India is poised to emerge as a regional and eventually the global hub for manufacturing.
Single window clearance for businesses, pro-industrial policies, digitization of processes etc. will be a revolutionary step to support the “Make in India” initiative. Infrastructure is important to support manufacturing and industry. Robust infrastructure is of critical importance as is a superlative backbone of communication for both voice and data. Government has been taking a number of steps in developing infrastructure at all levels. This will help in building the base for manufacturing sector in India. Villages have been the growth engines for India since independence. We need to endeavor and not only build highways to connect villages but also develop I-Ways for successfully implementing “Make in India: program with vision of inclusive growth.
Seamless fusion of technology for “Make in India”
India is highly capable of developing state-of-the-art indigenous technology for integrated growth and development of the country. Most Indian technologies are relevant to our environment and have been making significant social and economic impact. But our fascination for global technologies and their consistent performance have time and again madeour technologies look obsolete and irrelevant. Therefore there remains a temptation to adopt global technologies but often times, it is done without customizing them to the Indian environment. Just as one shoe does not fit all, similarly no global technology in any sector can be super imposed upon the Indian environment. They key to satisfaction with any technology lies in first setting the level of expectations right.
There have been some phenomenal indigenous technologies like that of Bio-digester for toilets developed by DRDO as early as 2005 which was intended to put an end to the manual scavenging in the country. Unfortunately it has been labeled by most as a failed technology for no real fault of the technology itself. The user expectations or ignorance levels while applying it suitably to meet applications have always been unreasonable thus blaming the technology that cannot stand up in its own defence, for its inability to deliver. Similarly in early 2013, the Government of India, in all its wisdom approved the use of Silobags, a non-conventional bulk grain storage system that has been very successful in every developed country in the world. This technology for storage of food grains in bulk is most ideal to replace the CAP system and protect precious grain from pilferage and rotting. However its use has been extremely limited with only the State of Madhya Pradesh adopting it partially. Its use has been limited mainly due to the fact that the domestic wheat procurement system from farmers needs to be upgraded significantly and unless done, there will always be a gap in demand and supply essential to deliver the benefits of using Silobags. A wider use of this single technology alone can improve the quality of food grains consumed by the common man in India, besides controlling malnutrition, shortage of food grains and spiraling prices on account of this shortage.
More than technology, our project management has also been an area of major concern in technology being outdated with time. The most relevant example is that of LCA Tejas, which has been developing the indigenous fighter aircraft for last 32 years and requires another 5 years for getting combat ready. While at the same time, Delhi Metro has been the best example of fusing indigenous and foreign technology to revolutionize mass rapid transit system. It is little wonder that we have seen the Metro implementation thrive in the country versus any other modern public transport system.
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME PHENOMENAL INDIGENOUS TECHNOLOGIES LIKE THAT OF BIO-DIGESTER FOR TOILETS DEVELOPED BY DRDO AS EARLY AS 2005 WHICH WAS INTENDED TO PUT AN END TO THE MANUAL SCAVENGING IN THE COUNTRY.
One of the biggest challenges we face today in India is that of our perception towards the technology we possess. We are always enamored by advanced technologies available globally without understanding the fact that they were developed for and are surviving in an entirely different environment. This clouds our thought process and makes us feel that the technology that we possess is irrelevant and outdated compared to the advanced versions. Technology cannot be considered as a fashion statement and should always be viewed with a pragmatic point of view. The need of the hour is to scale up our technology to a level that makes it more relevant in context to our requirements.
Strengths & Opportunities
Indians are experts in being adaptive and in reverse engineering. It is because of this unique ability that we are successful in every nook and corner of the world. We need to tap our expertise and in-depth experience in bridging this gap and bring the best available technology at our disposal for integrated growth and development. Fusion of technology for making it relevant for us will set the tone for growth and progress.
India itself has a large domestic market, which will foster the growth of manufacturing and also the service sector. Manufacturing is the key to employment at lower levels, technology and service prowess.
We need to have policy that also needs to push all kind of entrepreneurship along with manufacturing. We also need to create an internal market rather than exportcentric market as of now. An inclusive growth plan focused on manufacturing based infrastructure development will build a strong domestic demand.
Hence, Make in India – By India, For India is the answer to this initiative. Making in India will increase job opportunities, give boost to integrated growth and development and also increase the purchasing power of individuals. Before trying to become the global manufacturing hub we need to make sure that our local demand is fulfilled by the products manufactured in India rather than importing and this will be the stepping-stone to the next level. Fusion of technologies will also make manufacturing more imperative and relevant instead of just looking fascinating and fashionable.
An entrepreneur with rich global exposure and distinct understanding of cutting-edge technologies, Parag Agarwal is a leading expert on “smart cities, urban planning, emergency, response and disaster management”. He is an acknowledged thought leader, speaker and author.