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back to index backASIAtalk February,  2017


India: Focus needs to shift to manufacturing: Nirmala Sitharaman

India’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ project is aimed not just at getting more foreign investments into manufacturing in India, but stepping up investments in manufacturing in India -- regardless of the origin of the investor. Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said the government expects more from India Inc as well. “We want them to commit more. There is lot of scope for making in India, and much more.”

Ms. Sitharaman said the government was working on removing bottlenecks for Indian manufacturers by simplifying the regulations so that the manufacturing segment gets the much-needed boost. The government has embarked on the Make in India programme with the aim of reviving the manufacturing sector, so that the contribution to the GDP goes up to around 20 to 25% from the around 13 to 15 %, she revealed.

In an interaction with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and MD of Biocon, the Minister said, the government has a three-stage plan for this. One, identify the sectors; two, simplify regulations, and three, constant engagement of the government with these sectors.

Stating that it’s risky for any government to rely on just one segment for contribution to the GDP, Ms. Sitharaman said there were huge opportunities in the domestic market which could be served by the Indian businesses.

In reply to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s observation on changes in the employment landscape in the light of increased automation, Ms.Sitharaman spoke of the emergence of the new-collared workers alongside the blue collared and white collared ones, and said, “While we need to ready ourselves to this new world of automation, I believe there is still demand for the traditional kinds of jobs in India.

She referred to the systemic anomaly that resulted in import of apples and wheat from Australia being cheaper compared to purchasing the same products from within India. A similar problem existed in electronics, wherein importing the full product was more cost-beneficial in comparison to importing the parts. “We are addressing these issues,” she said.

She lauded the contributions of the pharmaceutical sector saying many foreign countries depended on India. In reply to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s observation that the pharma segment was unable to unleash its full potential owing to a variety of complex regulations, Ms.Sitharaman said the government was doing its best to address these issues.

On the electronics sector she said the government was looking at the new scenario of many hardware companies wanting to move manufacturing to India.

She said the fact that many states are in a healthy competition with one another to attract investment was a good sign.

Stressing that the government has not given up on the land acquisition Bill, the Minister said that lot of SEZ land wasn’t being used for which was primarily acquired.

On the emerging trend of protectionism, she said, “We are facing this. Not to be protectionist is not on the table. Protectionism is growing; it is a complicated situation.”

Source: The Hindu - GAI





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