Expert Speak

Challenges to Realizing the Great Indian Dream

Challenges to Realizing

At the recently held twentieth annual session of MAIT in Delhi, the theme of the meet was an ambitious �Designed in India: Made for the World�. The thrust of the speakers was on developing the hardware �ecosystem� and making it world class.

p____p Chief Guest DR. R.Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, made a valid point when he said strongly that India will have to design and develop its own hardware if it has to emerge as world class manufacturing base. He pointed out opportunities in embedded systems, smart cards, encrypted chips etc and ended with the concern that Indian companies need to look local capabilities and capacities.

p____p Mait has also released a publication listing the names of seventy-five companies involved in R & D and product development and the database of 150 such companies.

p____p These are all positive steps. However, we must not forget that despite discussing more or less the same points for years together, little gets done. There are issues that need to be tackled at macro & micro levels.

p____p What we perhaps forget is the fact that not many Indian companies have the capital to invest in manufacturing. They need to be enabled to generate that capital.

p____p Second, there is the argument that Indian market volumes are too little to justify manufacturing. In fact, Vintron Informatics, which had invested heavily in manufacturing plants was forced to close down a couple of them and concentrate only on the Delhi plant. The reason in its case was rising overheads and unused capacity. Although this may be a singular case, it is perhaps enough to highlight the malaise.

p____p Third, but not the least, the reluctance of global majors such as Intel to invest in a full- blooded manufacturing base in India and restrict it only to design development. In fact, recently Intel has made it clear that all the development on its next Xeon chip will be at it Bangalore development base but actual production will be done outside India.

p____p All the three above are besides the menace of the taxation system. So therein short, lies the story of the great Indian dream. We need to tackle the problem at all three levels; huge capital mobilization, creating a larger domestic and exports market and also correct the serious reservations of the global majors on India as a manufacturing outsourcing base.

p____p Since stories of India as a successful manufacturing base in a quite a few sectors seems to be finally emerging, it is quite possible that the dream in hardware will also be realized. The industry bodies need to take the lead for this.

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