India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with a growth expectation of 11.5% in 2021. Despite the implication of the coronavirus outbreak, India is still on the roadmap to become a $5 trillion economy. However, India has been only a small player in the global manufacturing map that has been dominated by China and the USA. With the pandemic disrupting the global supply chain, many countries are reassessing their manufacturing and production dependency on China. This creates a unique opportunity for India to step up and open its doors to foreign direct investment into the country and achieve its full potential as an emerging global manufacturing hub.
In recent years, the government of India has formulated strategies to bolster domestic economic growth which includes initiatives like the Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. The government of India has left no stone unturned to help domestic industry to get back on its feet and conduct business with ease. For instance, the PLI scheme provides incentives to local businesses that will act as a catalyst to Indian manufacturers and enhance domestic manufacturing. With the support from the government, the Indian manufacturing sector, especially the electronics, consumer durables and household goods present an opportunity not only for the domestic market but also for exports.
In the face of the covid-19 crisis, most industries have shown tremendous agility in leveraging digital technologies and adapting to the new normal. More and more companies are accelerating the adoption of cutting-edge technology and expertise to manufacture high-end technological products in India and boost the manufacturing process. Keeping up with global manufacturing trends, Indian companies must evolve beyond traditional manufacturing methods and employ technology-driven processes for developing products. Smart manufacturing with fully integrated, collaborative production systems is the future of manufacturing. Investing in smart technologies as well as state-of-the-art infrastructure will be instrumental in helping India leapfrog into a global manufacturing destination.
The current share of the manufacturing sector in GDP is about 15 per cent. As per the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), India is aiming to enhance it to 25 per cent by 2022. This along with the integration of modern technology in manufacturing will create jobs and a need for skilled labour. The supply of a skilled workforce is therefore essential to the successful implementation of innovative technologies and practices. While there is a government-sponsored programme like Skill India to support the untrained labours, corporates must also take initiatives towards skill upgradation. This effort will promote innovation and the easy application of indigenous technologies. Companies can start by curating and sponsoring upskilling programs for their employees as it is very crucial in the current times, where every sector need to undertake various training and upskilling programmes to stay relevant with the latest developments in the industry.
The disruptions caused by the pandemic has presented us with a unique opportunity to position India as a global choice for manufacturing, thereby becoming a global hub. In order to achieve this goal, we need to take aggressive and radical steps that would create a stable business ecosystem with the latest technology, robust infrastructure and skilled workforce. While the government offers support through policy reforms, Indian industries must commit to staying on the course of development and innovation. Technology along with an army of skilled workforce can help tackle the issue of India’s manufacturing lag and turn it to an ultimate global hub.