The Make In India campaign conceived by prime minister Narendra Modi has opened new doors for entrepreneurs. Amid vast investment opportunities there is visible momentum,energy and optimism. The world’s largest democracy is well on its way to becoming the world’s most powerful economy
S N Aiyer
An unusual exercise was launched by the Prime Minister in September 2014 as a part of his overall vision for a whole new, wider set of nation-building projects. This bold and foresighted initiative, given a neat name, “Make in India”, was essentially devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, not to just manufacture for the Indian people but to establish “Make in India” internationally too.
In economic terms, the initiative of the Prime Minister quickly became a “powerful galvanising call” to business leaders and an open invitation to potential partners and investors around the world.
Today, Make in India has shown that there is much more to the Prime Minister’s ingenuity than merely raising an inspiring slogan. The 25 “focus sectors” chosen by the government for the purpose are diverse and in-depth, representing at the same time an exhaustive thinking for what is being called “a comprehensive and unprecedented overhaul of out-dated process and policies”. Most importantly, it symbolises a complete change of the Government’s mindset—“a shift from license-issuing authority to business partner”, in keeping with Prime Minister’s tenet of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’.
The net result is that the entire exercise now has been able to inspire confidence in Bharat’s capabilities amongst potential partners abroad, the domestic business community and the citizens at large. This was made possible by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) inviting participation from Union Ministers, state governments, industry leaders, and various knowledge partners.
The action plan for the next three years, aimed at raising the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25% of the GDP by 2020, resulted in a roadmap for the single largest manufacturing initiative undertaken by a nation in the recent history. It also demonstrated the transformational power of public-private partnership, and these steps have become a hallmark of the Make in India initiative. In a short time, the DIPP could showcase that the obsolete and obstructive frameworks of the past have been dismantled and replaced with a “transparent and user-friendly system that is helping drive investment, foster innovation, develop skills, protect Intellectual Property (IP) and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure”.
The most striking indicator of progress is the extraordinary opening up of key sectors—including Railways, Defence, Insurance and Medical Devices—to dramatically higher levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Investors’ Facilitation Cell
The assistance of the World Bank group also enabled the DIPP to identify areas of improvement in line with the World Bank’s ‘doing business’ methodology. An Investor Facilitation Cell (IFC), dedicated to the Make in India campaign was formed in September 2014 with an objective to assist investors in seeking regulatory approvals, hand-holding services through the pre-investment phase, execution and after-care support. Besides, DIPP has set up a special management team to facilitate and fast-track investment proposals from Japan. A team known as ‘Japan Plus’ has been operationalised from October 2014. Similarly ‘Korea Plus’, launched in June 2016, facilitates fast-track investment proposals from South Korea and offers holistic support to Korean companies wishing to enter the Indian market.
Major developments which highlight the scheme relate to the 25 main sectors, of which strategic ones have been opened up for investment like Defence, Railways, Space, etc. Also, the regulatory policies have been relaxed to facilitate investments and ease of doing business. Six industrial corridors are being developed across various regions of the country. Industrial Cities will also come up along these corridors. This will give the much-needed boost to the infrastructure requirements which extend support to all sectors of the economy. This is a critically burning subject, severely neglected since Independence.
Above all, four major facets of the Prime Minister’s thinking become obvious from his Make in India formulation: one, high reliance on a totally transparent approach to doing business, with all within the country and even more so, with the global fraternity. This is resulting in upward movement of Bharat, like never before, on the global Ease of Doing Business Index, set to improve even further. Two, a determined thrust on identifying quickly (and removing even more quickly!) the hurdles, mindsets and bottlenecks which impede progress and development, translating on the ground in job creation and all-around ‘Vikas’. Three, an abiding faith and deep confidence in the creative skills and productive abilities of Bharat’s people, the zeal and commitment of its industry and business, and, above all, the support and strength of our extensive reach of global partners. Lastly, an innovativeness and uncompromising ambition in wanting to make India Change to usher in a New India. This is the message here.
A New Window
To that extent, Make in India experiment is several notches above the pre-Independence Swadeshi Andolan too, as it seeks to paint on a greater canvas, bringing in global giants and tapping the Indian strengths—both rolled-in-one. Critics will, of course, say that the milieu of the era of Gandhiji was different from now, but the advantages from the current approach outweigh such considerations.
These can be enumerated as: one, taking on the destabilising forces of globalisation while grabbing their positive outcome; two, encouraging (and simultaneously reining in) the restive and heady multitudes of young India to join the formal sectors of the Indian economy with the needed skills and attitudes; three, securing better optimisation for industry/business from the gigantic market that a growing Bharat now offers and above all, metamorphosing the government machinery into a supportive role player.
This will certainly augur well for the economy if all the cogs in the wheel, set in motion by the Prime Minister’s imagination, mesh together and function in a well-oiled manner to benefit the nation. A challenge indeed.
(The writer is a Delhi-based columnist)