Let's first discover India and its potential

In order to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), it is essential and imperative that we devote the time to First Develop India and to do so effectively, we need to First Discover India, in what it can offer!


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his "Make in India" campaign in the presence of host of Indian and foreign business tycoons. There was no standing space in the Vigyan Bhavan at Delhi and millions watched the proceedings in the comfort of their own homes, and heard the PM speak with awe and attention.


In his hour-long extempore speech, Modi mentioned that the government had identified 25 sectors in which India has the potential of becoming a world leader. This list included automobiles, Information technology, pharma, ports, aviation, tourism, hospitality, wellness and railways.


Narendra Modi assured the audience that the government would take steps to make governance more effective and investor friendly, both in the states and at the Centre. These, he said would be fully visible soon on the ground.


The campaign highlights global vision through both "look east" and "link west" approach. "Such a move would be mutually beneficial for many countries, for employment generation. It will enable exchange of talent and expertise," according to Naomi Isshi, managing director of Toyota Kirloskar Motors.


The cream of the Indian business community was present. Among them, mention may be made of Cyrus Mistry of Tata Sons; Mukesh Ambani of Reliance; Azim Premji of Wipro; KM Birla of Aditya Birla group and bankers like Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, besides a host of government officials who would make the wheels go into motion. Among the foreign dignitaries, mention may be made of Keruchi Ayukawa of Maruti-Suzuki, Franz Hauber of Bosch India, Vittorio Colao of Vodafone, Kemichiro Hibi of Sony India and Phil Shaw of Lockheed Martin.


It may be noted that, in the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business Rankings", out of 189 countries in the list, India stands pitifully by holding 134th rank. India's manufacturing sector accounts only for 16% of the GDP, and is posting a negative growth now, while it is 36% in China, 34% in South Korea and 22% in Germany. We need to catch with these countries, as our aim is to reach 25% by 2022, as stated in the National Manufacturing Policy as well as create 100 million jobs. At the moment, it takes, according to the press reports, 12 procedures and 27 days to start a business; 35 procedures and 168 days to get construction permits and 1,420 days to enforce contracts in India. All these have to change and be brought down to the least possible levels, if we are to succeed in "Make in India" campaign a success.


The reaction from the leading executives present on this occasion has been encouraging. Mukesh Ambani, CMD of Reliance, confirmed that, in the next 12 to 15 months, they have plans to invest Rs1.8 lakh crore and create job opportunities for 125,000 people. Cyrus Mistry, chairman, Tata Sons, felt that stable policies and competitive tax structure would be needed apart from giving priority to e-governance, cost effective energy and flexible labour laws with safety net for workforce.


Arvind Panagariya, professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University is reported to have said, "Indian labour laws and interventions have gone too far even by the standards of democracies. Today, Indian corporates avoid labour-intensive industries such as apparel like the bubonic plague! When they do invest, they go for machines for tasks that workers could readily perform. It is time we reconsidered our labour laws."


There were other favourable reactions too. Phil Shaw, Lockheed Martin India CEO spoke of how, within a year, the company's joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems set up a factory and was manufacturing parts of the company's Hercules C 132 J aircraft.


Sony India MD Kemichiro Hibi mentioned that they had shut down operations in 2004, having preferred to import their needs from Thailand, Malaysia, china and Japan, may now reconsider India as a potential base to restart a manufacturing base. This is also because of the free trade agreement India has with some countries.


Overall, industry experts and analysts have termed the "make in India" campaign as "extremely progressive", but to make this happen, they point out, rightly, hurdles in infrastructure development; bottlenecks in environmental clearances and unfriendly tax regime have to be removed to create a level playing field. The scrapping of coal licences, for instance, due to the Supreme Court's verdict may also instil fear in the minds of investors. They would need some kind of guarantee that these would not happen again.


There is no doubt in the minds of investors, both domestic and foreign, that the government needs to create a sense of "trust" in its policies. Government needs to bring about a goods and services tax (GST) regime to reduce the cascading of taxes and comprehensive labour reforms.


However, in order to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), it is essential and imperative that we devote the time First Developing India and to do so effectively, we need to First Discover India, in what it can offer! If it is coal as a source of energy supply, we need to completely overhaul this sector by inviting the very best in the world to begin the coal mining operation in the country. Licence to operate should cover both coal and methane gas that is being needlessly wasted and which evaporates into thin air at a great loss to the country. This has to be tapped. With a heavy hand, power pilferage that goes undetected needs to be stopped. Solar power, which is perennial and free, needs to be tapped on a national scale.


Let us First Discover India and its potential. Armed with this information, we can Develop India.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

Tapas Giri
9 years ago
Kindly share your 5 minutes, This is a survey to understand the consumer perception towards Indian products https://http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MadeInIndia
9 years ago
Let's first discover India in SWISS banks where our hard earned money lying 4 years and than its potential comes as BONUS to the CITIZENS of INDIA as ENERGY.
9 years ago
Made in INDIA. Very well thought out idea and articulated in right manner. It is like creating castles in the air. There is no problem with it, unless it is backed by laying of firm foundation for the same.
The Government's first priority should now be converting at least ten promises in to reality and has to substantiated:
1-Good Governance
2-Blue Print of ideal village
3-Suchalaya Toilet Programme
4-women empowerment- Save Girl Child

The Progress - Performance metrics of each ministry and departments should be published in newspapers. In case of failure to achieve set objective within time frame it should be supported with reasons.

Time for Prime Minister Mr Mody to come back,head the seat of Governance and make the machinery work in the directions of policy announcements.

We, the people of India on our part should try to do necessary for betterment of India and avoid falling in to perdition.
Dr Anantha K Ramdas
9 years ago
Thank you Mr Warrier. Inspite of the high cost of imported coal and other raw materials, our manufacturers take the easy way out to get the job done by importing, as we are no longer in the "import control/licensing regime"!

The oldest coal mines in operation may be found in the UK and yet in the last 7 years I have not seen one press report, or a statement from the monopolistic Coal India Management that they have taken the efforts to contact the British Coal Board or successfully operating companies to come to India to help us out.

We need to get the best of the Coal miners in UK, USA, Australia or any other European country, or in fact,from anywhere in the globe, and invite them to pitch their tent and mine OUR COAL waiting to be dug up!

Indigenous coal is about Rs 800 per tonne versus rs 4000 of imported variety, as against Coal India's rs 2000 per tonne. Surely, we put our heart and soul into this biz alone, imagine the amount of money that we could save (Rs 95,000 crores, by last reckoning) which could be used elsewhere in education, construction and, as PM Modi said, even in building the much needed essential toilets!

Hope God gives the strength this Narendra Modi led government to lead the people from darkness to light.

If you think back, seriously, we have NOT DISCOVERED India yet!
believe me!
MG Warrier
9 years ago
The comment “Let us First Discover India and its potential. Armed with this information, we can Develop India.” should go deep into the thought process of planners and policy makers. India is yet to even measure the country’s resources including gold. The government should own up responsibility for not exploiting and managing nation’s resources for the welfare of the people.
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