Make in India – the much awaited tagline for the manufacturing sector?

make in india logo

The recently launched Make in India campaign, is a bold and innovative step that is set to redefine brand India in global markets. “This is the step of a lion…Make in India”, is the statement made by the Prime Minister during the launch of the campaign. The campaign, which started as an investment drive to attract foreign capital has transformed itself into an umbrella for all industrial transformation agenda, set for India. With repeated push by PM Modi in international forums, the agenda gained exponential promotions in global media. The project even featured in ‘100 Most Innovative Global Projects’ of KPMG. What makes this campaign unique and different from similar campaigns, run by previous governments?

The launch of this campaign could not have come at a more opportune time. Despite an ambitious National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) of 2012, which set out plans for the manufacturing sector to reach 25% of GDP and create 100 million additional jobs by 2022, the share of manufacturing sector in overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remained static at 15% in the last few years. The Indian manufacturing share in the global GDP has fallen from 2.2% to 2.0% in the last five years (2009 to 2013).

Also the “Made in India” brand stands insignificant and commands lukewarm response in international marketplace. It is also the time when Global brands are producing “Made for India” specific products to leverage the youth market in India. In global surveys, India ranked poorly and scored a rank of 142 in the ‘ease of doing business’ survey, conducted by World Bank. This campaign is to counter those perceptions and push the government authorities to act as business facilitator for investors rather than being bureaucratic signatory authorities.

India’s strength lies in growing demand, low cost labor and increased entrepreneurial base. These advantages were completely marred by the poor infrastructure, power shortage, complicated labor laws, cumbersome policies and taxation. Unlike the yesteryear marketing slogans, the current tagline sets a clear and emphatic mission of setting up business-friendly environment in the country. It also provided a huge tonic for Indian manufacturers to hit the market confidently with “Made in India” tagline – like the recently launched Zoho tagline, “Made in India. Made for the World.”

While these initiatives have definitely turbocharged the sleeping lion in manufacturing sector, a strategic and systematic implementation is required to ensure that the plan is realized. The brand India should also be cautious to not suffer the fate of “Made in China” products.

Recent government projects like the Diamond Quadrilateral project (connecting the metros Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata) of Indian railways, to establish high speed rail network in India and National highway program are laudable steps in tackling the freight problems suffered by manufacturing sector. Opening up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways and defense sectors, promotions of MSMEs with “Make in India” pavilions in global events and labor reforms are some of the other strides in making a business friendly environment.

While the planning is good on paper, the execution is extremely tricky as Indian government projects are synonymous with delayed timelines and corrupt practices. The mission “Make in India” will kick-off to the next level, only when there is de-centralization of objectives from central to state governments and a strong push towards public-private partnership in expediting and completing the projects. Digitalization of government procedures and simpler single taxation structure are mandatory steps in tackling the corrupt practices and providing a secure environment for investors. The journey has begun, but the road ahead for “Make in India” is tough and requires consistent and determined measures to realize the fruit.

Make in India – The intent is made clear and a red carpet is thrown to global investors and entrepreneurs; the execution awaits…

*This article was reproduced from my post in news magazine.