India: Highlights of the ‘Make In India’ Week

February 15, 2016

Campaigns in lieu of Make in India initiative

Schemes like Start-up India are umbrella initiatives aimed to steer a series of other programs already undertaken like Make in India, Digital India, and Skilling India to tackle one of the major challenges for this country, that is, to provide employment to a growing number of educated and aspiring youths. Infrastructural support to the manufacturing industry has truly reached its nadir as described by Rajesh Agarwal, the founder of Micromax that a consignment from China reaches the Mumbai port in approximately 12 days, but it takes nearly a month for it to reach its factory in Uttaranchal.

Despite its incredible growth rate, India has always fallen behind China in terms of manufacturing potential due to the volatility of the Indian market and the ineffectiveness of past governments. To help rectify this issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced ‘Make in India’ to help improve India’s status as a global manufacturing hub. The ‘Make in India’ Week is being held in Mumbai, is being organized by the Department Of Industrial Policy and Promotion to showcase India as a preferred manufacturing destination. Prime Minister Modi also held bilateral talks with the Prime Ministers of Sweden and Finland and Deputy Prime Minister of Poland. In his talks with his Swedish counterpart, Mr. Stefan Lofven, Narendra Modi lauded Sweden as a significant participant under the Make in India initiative. He invited Swedish companies to forge partnerships in the fields of defence, electronic goods, medical equipment etc. Putting technology to good use, PM also discussed areas of cooperation in food processing, clean energy and transportation sectors.

The PM said that the main purpose of this event was to showcase the potential of design, innovation and sustainability of India’s manufacturing sectors in the coming decades. The week-long event offered foreign investors and businesses unprecedented access, insights and opportunities to showcase, connect and collaborate with young Indian entrepreneurs, industry leaders, academicians and government officials at the central and state levels. The private sector also needs to participate in the government’s vision to strengthen the road sector. Key opportunities in sectors like auto and auto components, defence and aerospace, food processing, infrastructure etc., were showcased through seminars and discussions among the major stakeholders.

Design has missed its rightful place in the policy of industrial development due to the popular perception of design being just an aesthetic endeavor. However, industrial design, on the contrary, was rather a process which could augment manufacturing through product innovation, improving functionality and visual appeal. Our policymakers have recognized the importance of design and the role it plays in making India’s manufacturing sector globally competitive. The Make in India program meant to turn India into a global manufacturing hub also acknowledges the role of design. The government has plans to showcase the potential of design and innovation in some of India’s key sectors. It’s estimated that the manufacturing sector can touch US$ 1 trillion mark by 2025 and contribute to 25-30% to India’s GDP. It can help in the creation of 90 million jobs. Meagre awareness of design and over dependence on low-cost substitute for innovation have also been responsible for making India’s manufacturing sector uncompetitive. The general lack of finesse, safety, convenience, visual appeal etc. makes Indian products uncompetitive in the world market. To encourage new innovators and as a build-up to Make in India week, Qualcomm has introduced Qualcomm Design in India Challenge in collaboration with NASSCOM. This initiative is a corollary to PM Narendra Modi’s Make in India vision to shift from a services-driven model to a manufacturing model for indigenous products in the domains of smartphones and tablets for Healthcare, Education, Banking, Automotive, etc.

Technology, design, innovation, skill, infrastructure; the success of Make in India will depend on many such enabling factors. Policies dealing with these sectors should converge. For example, the National Design Policy and Skill India need to come together to create a workforce skilled in design and design-led innovation. Similarly, technology and design also need to augment each other.

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