A country that can design, manufacture and launch Agni V, RISAT-1 and missile defense system certainly has the skills and potential to become a great manufacturing power. Why then, India lags in manufacturing when compared to other Asian countries? While poor level of infrastructure (power, road, and port) remain India’s biggest hurdle for getting into global manufacturing, a huge potential of India remains, untapped.
Well, this is high time things must change! Demands are certainly rising in India, along with the multinationals’ desire to diversify their production to include low-cost plants in countries other than China. It is reported that India’s manufacturing sector can grow upto six fold by 2025, to $1 trillion, while creating 90 million domestic jobs. By 2015 the market for manufactured goods double, to nearly $8 trillion a year. China will probably capture much of the growth. The question is- can India must grab this opportunity? The government has to provide the boost to manufacturing by going aggressively in opening newer sectors. A transparent system in government ordering and procurement may indirectly help the manufacturing sector in a big way. We can adopt phased local manufacturing model and jump in as an alternative to the authoritative model of manufacturing China deploys. And at all cost, stories of Tatra and BMEL must not get repeated.
It’s unfortunate that the big industrial houses as well as young entrepreneurs of India, hardly show any interest in setting up of manufacturing businesses. As the world prepares for the third industrial revolution through digitization of manufacturing, it is high time, we capture the opportunities offered. The third industrial revolution will be driven by computers, where instead of bashing, bending and cutting material the way it always has been, 3D printers will build and design things by depositing material, layer by layer. India again, with it’s huge IT potential, has an obvious advantage here. Third industrial revolution is a 5 years old concept now, which never did materialize. As the world speaks about IT revolution, let’s not forget, it is the manufacturing sector, riding on the bandwagon of which, China forged it’s way to the top. Let’s not put all our eggs in the IT basket and focus on manufacturing as well, before it’s too late.
Like all revolutions, this one will be disruptive. Digital technology has already rocked the media and retailing industries, just as cotton mills crushed hand looms and the Model T put farriers out of work. Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted. Some carmakers already produce twice as many vehicles per employee as they did only a decade or so ago. Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets.