At the “Make in India” week exhibition held in Mumbai, India’s financial and commercial centre, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared as “India’s first salesman”, vowing to transform the country into “global manufacturing center”.
Modi implemented the ‘Make in India’ policy after he took office, with the hope of attracting investment and add energy to the development of the manufacturing industry. What has been the impact of this policy since it was introduced? How far is India from becoming a “global manufacturing centre”? The “Make in India” week offered a glimpse of some answers to these questions.
The ‘Make in India’ exhibition was held from February 13-18 in Mumbai—India’s financial and commercial center. The objective was to showcase to the world India’s manufacturing capacity and further attract domestic and foreign investment.
In order to fully demonstrate the strength of ‘Make in India’, the Modi government selected “the best on offer” enterprises from the national defense industry, auto parts, software, pharmaceutical and other manufacturing industries to attend exhibition. Visitors were able to get up-close and examine the Aakash missile, drugs and other daily appliances which are made in India.
In addition to showcase the achievements of the manufacturing industry, the aim of ‘Make in India’ week is to attract domestic and foreign investors and add to the India manufacturing industry
The “Make in India” programme was officially launched on September 26, 2014, to appeal to investors—domestic and foreign—to invest in India. To attract people from all walks to invest, set up factory and expand local employment, etc., the Modi government issued a series of new policies, including providing a one-stop service to domestic and foreign enterprises who intend to invest, reform labor laws, taxes, and simplify approval procedures. The new policy involves 25 industries, including automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, information technology, tourism, aviation, ports, railways, renewable energy, mining, electronics, among others.
Modi, together with several other ministers, attended to ceremony of ‘Make in India Week’, which included 2500 international companies, 8000 local Companies and representative from nearly 70 countries. Modi once again played the role of “India’s first salesman ”.
Modi said the biggest advantage of India manufacturing industry is young people— “65% of India’s population is under the age of 35” he outlined. “ India has emerged the most favoured global destination…since I became Prime Minister, FDI into India increased 48% and foreign capital inflows to India last year were the highest in the history.” He added, ” the India government is actively trying turn India into a global manufacturing center. Manufacturing as a sector should contribute 25% to the GDP”
Well-known Indian entrepreneurs: “it is impossible for a elephant to dance within a few months”
The Times of India, among other local publications, specifically mentioned there were not too many Chinese companies that attended the ‘Make in India’ week. However, this journalist discovered that China was brought up many times in the when discussing ‘Make in India’.
Its clear that whether it is technology or investment, ‘Make in India’ is closely linked to China.
This reporter recalls a local friend who said that many Indian products are actually “OEM” assemblies, not really “made in India”. For example, the best-selling mobile phone in the India market is an Indian brand but the main parts are made in China. According to some local experts, the so-called “India manufacturing” is just “unscrew the screws” in an Indian factory rather than actually be“ Made in India” the way the Modi government talks about it.
Ultimately, what is needed to really ‘Make in India’? This was the subject of a debate among India experts, including government officials and business executives who joined the ‘Make in India’ week. Kant expressed that a changing manufacturing industry has already become “fashionable”. Consequently, India must transform its methods of manufacturing. It should introduce digital processes to allow intensive labor to become more value; then it can become the world’s factory.
India’s Defense Minister Parrikar stressed that India needs to bridge the labor skills gap, and that the labor force should welcome challenges of manufacturing using new technology. “We need specialists in high-technology field who are trained with regularity and have the capacity to absorb technologies and put them into the defence industry.
Commerce and Industry Minister Sitaraman added that although emphasis is on “Make in India”, India can not fully stop imports. It should encourage domestic manufacturing enterprises to seize the market to connect themselves to the global value chain.
Executives from Tata Group, Jindal steel & power companies and other large Indian enterprises took a different tune to that of the Indian officials. They complained that the backward infrastructure of the country hinders economic growth.
Following the launch of “Make in India”, ”Clean India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India “, “ Innovation India, among other auxiliary plans were launched one after another. It indicates that Modi government recognizes that ‘Make in India’ is a “systems project” involving a macro investment environment, personnel training, corporate training and other aspects.
However, it requires more time to succeed. Kumar Birla, chairman of Birla Group, one of India’s well-known enterprises, said at the meeting of ‘Make in India’ week “actually there is no secret about industry that we are unclear about, but just like making an elephant dance, it is impossible make that happen in a few months.”