On Thursday, September 25, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his ambitious Make in India Campaign at a spectacular ceremony, studded with the top most echelons of industrial and business fraternity. The grand ceremonial start has drawn mixed reactions, from rave comments to politically tinged berating, even rubbishing ones. Well, each one has a right to air ones personal views, but then there is a very thin line between an objective and unbiased opinion and a personal, biased one. And, to be acceptable to people at large, it has to be as realistic and balanced as possible.
Boosting Economy through Manufacturing Sector
At the very outset, the campaign happens to be Modi government’s massive attempt to rescue the languishing Indian economy and raise it to a reasonable level. It seeks to achieve that by boosting the manufacturing sector. But how? One cannot expect miracles to cure the age old maladies overnight. What Modi government’s plan implies is to start with measures for easing business processes and attracting foreign companies to set up factories in India and invest in the country’s infrastructure. Once the initial steps succeed, a positive environment would be made, and then there would be no stopping for the great economic revival.
However, the moot question stands, why would a foreign investor choose to invest in India? India enjoys the dubious distinction of being close to the bottom of the World Bank list of countries according to ‘ease of doing business’ My god, people like me never knew that there existed such a list and the position India held on that. Quite a dis-incentive for the investor.
That was not all. The hurdle was further compounded by a chronic bureaucratic sloth, shielded by their political bosses for reasons known to all. The irony was that all along, the blame for all the mess was put on the big industrial and business houses themselves and they were made to look like villains of Indian economy, trying to rob the nation, especially the common man, of all its wealth. Just imagine, would anyone dare putting ones hard earned money in such an environment? Consequently, manufacturing, a formidable pillar of national economy, kept languishing, decades after decades in utter chaos. No wonder, the investor (foreign) was scared away from the shores of our country.
Modi had already diagnosed the trust deficit between the investor and the successive governments, and the havoc that had played. He was already seen taking the first few steps to overcome that. His Gujrat experiment and performance was a showcase to project the atmosphere of collaboration between entrepreneurs and the government departments. It was not difficult for him to replicate that at the national level. We all saw the bonhomie shared by the key players at the launch ceremony itself.
Restoration of Trust and Confidence
In his bid to dissolve the trust deficit, Modi promised to replace the red tape with red carpet. The symbolism was obvious to all the concerned players.The launch was attended by the likes of Reliance Industries Chairman, Mukesh Ambani; Tata Group chief, Cyrus Mistry and Aditya Birla Group’s Kumar Mangalam Birla. Their optimism was palpable in their enthusiastic observations. That marked a restoration of trust and confidence among them. Some of their observations speak for themselves.
Mukesh Ambani observed that the ‘Make in India’ campaign has inspired the world. “Make in India is about the present and the future. Global competitiveness is the key to succeed,” he said.
Cyrus Mistry, Chairman, Tata Sons, called the NDA government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign ‘an opportunity for industry and government to work together,
According to him, the biggest challenge for India is to create employment.
KM Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group said, “Today India embarks on a new mission helped by the vision of PM Modi. For us India is already a manufacturing hub, Make in India has a special resonance for us. Dreaming big and imagining bold is important for us,”
Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director, ICICI Bank, said, “We are all inspired by PM Modi’s Make in India vision,” she said and added: “Manufacturing is very important for job creation. Make in India will drive next phase of growth for India,”
The Dark Spots
Success of Modi’s programme would lie in its effective implementation, at all levels. That would require cooperation from all the states too. But going by the records, especially of some of them, that may prove a cause for a slight worry. However, with due care and insight, even that can be handled. After all, states’ economies also stant to benefit if investments come to their lands. Employment, revenue and all those benefits can be availed of by them too if they join hands for the great national cause of bringing the economy to a sustainable point.
Gandhi ji’s Swadeshi and Modi’s Make in India
It is but natural for some analytical minds to draw a parallel between Gandhi ji’s Swadeshi and Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and try to draw comparisons. Basically, both stress on indigenous manufacturing of things, to the advantage of the Indian economy. But the comparison stops here. Why? It’s like this.
Gandhi ji’s Swadeshi was aimed at hitting at the economic interests of the British in India. His movement to boycott the British goods became thoroughly popular all over India. Their goods were either boycotted by people or publicly burned. Losing a major market was a big financial blow to the British economy. They started receiving negative dividends for their exploitation of India. And finally they had to leave India for good.
Modi’s Make in India, on the other hand, is a direct exhortation to investors (especially foreign) to invest here, set up units and manufacture their things. They would find a huge market here. That would fetch them substantial profits and revenue for the exchequer. It is thus global partnership for economic development.
Promise of an Economic Revolution of Sorts
Thus, Modi’s brainchild, Make in India campaign has made a start on a positive, optimistic note. That was the ceremonial part of it. We have already witnessed the blueprint taking shape and the first few steps being taken. Now, it has to get operational as fast as possible to show the initial results. It may take at least one year to get in a tangible form and become a part of our industrial arena. If things go well, who knows it could turn out the like of a Green Revolution that made India self sufficient in food-grains, or a White Revolution that fulfilled our dairy products requirements to a great extent. Modi’s dream plan seems to carry the promise of an economic revolution of sorts. If it does, Indian economy is bound to rise to its next level.