We can “Make in India”
The key to economic growth is self-reliance in as many sectors as possible. Just like green revolution was intended not for exports but for self-reliance in agricultural production; “Make In India” will truly succeed the moment we change the tone of campaign from ‘Manufacture in India with the end result of export’ (as is the current tone); to ‘Produce to meet high consumption need of fellow citizens’.
Why I opine so is because the moment the thrust is on “Export”, it gives the impression that the unit is going to be ‘large’. Per se, “Export” is not at all a stigma, but a vital part of macro-economic system. Big has grandeur no doubt. Retain iconic development model, no problem. But we need to throw open ideas in the market, looking to transform our showcase with small artefacts. Experience shows, “Make In India” has not added meaningfully to India’s export volumes in last 3 years. Indian exports are assured. Those who are exporting, have been exporting, and will continue to export. Each country is home to certain raw materials and some distinct products and services. Whatever is to India’s advantage, will continue to be harnessed. This position is static. When a country grows economically by 8% every year, a few percentage points of export increases cannot be attributed to the so called Make in India movement. Domestic growth of 8% should be seen as a lot of activity in a variety of sectors and slight increase in exports is a ripple effect of the same. It had to happen anyways.
In fact, when domestic industry picks up with addition of new products that are actually Made in India, it will open the funnel of new entrants fuelled by new products. This would then actually add real count of exporting entrepreneurs, and also cause quantitative jump in product portfolio for exports. The current tone is targeted towards inviting foreign investors. I suggest the tone to build domestic entrepreneurship. Make in India is currently based on the idea that FDI would come, ie., MNCs could get interested to use India as a manufacturing hub for feeding their globally penetrated markets. Perhaps China would fail and fall or become less lucrative resulting in shifting of some manufacturing to India. With Trump rhetoric melting down, clever American businessmen have showcased resounding faith in their strategies to back their president in provoke; while “keep going’.
Lets discount the China theory of falling under its own weight. Nothing dramatic is going to happen. On the contrary, China continues to exhibit more strength and attraction. We should in any case pray for our enlightenment rather than for failure of other. That’s why we have Shri Ram and Buddha popular and no worshipers for god Indra! Make in India on our own strengths.
India by its own growth rate is attractive for FDI. Size of India’s population and growing middle class are visible elements for anyone to see. Once a global manufacturer makes up mind to add fresh green field capacities, at that stage alone he may think for alternate manufacturing centre in India. India is definitely better than most other Afro-Asian- Latin markets outside China. Seeking these opportunities would be proactive, which too is welcome. But I think, businessmen would themselves seek India, only we have to keep the domestic tempo going. And
with more vigour.
There are hardly any manufactured items which once produced, will not get consumed. Even if emphasis on meeting domestic demand, eventually the excess production will make route to foreign markets.
In the 1960s, when the population of the country was hitting 600 million and our food grain kitty could support only half the multitudes, the need of the hour gave birth to the Green Revolution. The world had written off India, lost hope and willing to count us amongst nations living on alms. But we did it then. All this while, most countries lived under dictatorship. We enjoyed democratic freedom.
Make in India is the same need of hour as we underwent in 1960s to fight hunger. Government run on visionary leadership has already recognized it well, and hence the 3 year movement to setup framework and infrastructure necessary for take-off. We just need to ignite it with domestic acumen. Let the world see the change happening and feel the hit of missing opportunities. We need to move and not keep waiting for someone else to make us move.
What we export and to whom we export, are questions linked to our existing product portfolio. Close it, and keep it on shelf. Open it like an encyclopaedia after 5 years! I want Make in India to succeed. Official Make in India 3 year plan will be over by the year end. In the interim, what the government has achieved is giving India a good make over in international image and standing. Our recognition abroad is a great plus. Broadly a more transparent policy framework; directed towards ease of doing business has improved ratings. We can boost of a country with stable currency. Skilling initiatives are now making their effect felt in different sectors. Swachh Bharat is a huge success with ordinary Indians participating in appreciation of first glimpse of what sanitation and health means. Issues of safety and security are perpetually in public debate causing great awareness and real life enmass education. Digitization of citizen related services has led to restoring faith of common man in the system, reduced corruption and enhanced accountability of Babus. By all means, ground is much better prepared now than ever before. Kick start with a domestic plan!
Success of Make in India lies in identifying products we consume for sure, but are being imported. Shouting on top of voice, make it here, make it here, will really not change the things. Nobody is going to come to make it here, but definitely is already here to feed us our needs in another form. We are not the flag bearers of Swadeshi, not that we do not love Swadeshi. We are consumers and will continue to consume all those things which we need, irrespective of their manufacturing origin. Something Made with Love in India is all the more welcome!
This article is written by my father, Sanjay Chowdhary. He asked me to publish it, but you should follow him on Twitter for more of his words.