Nitish Kumar: Why I don’t like him anymore?

Nitish Kumar after working for a year or two for some low hanging items of development, went into full electioneering mode with a single objective of keeping the chief ministership of Bihar safe for himself by be-fooling the most illiterate, ignorant and backward people of the least developed state of the country. Nitish is no more a person focused for the growth and development of Bihar and eradication of its poverty.

@. Nitish has allied with family run parties such as Lalu’s RJD and Sonia’s Congress, both corrupt and with no faith in developmental politics.

@. Nitish will have to be casteist in company of Lalu, becoming messiah of Mahadalits, Muslims with Yadavs . Lalu might have agreed to have Nitish as CM but if he wins sufficient number of his own MLAs, he will certainly push out Nitish and run his own agenda. It will affect development and governance. It is not at all a natural alliance. The alliance hardly have faith in making Bihar a strong developed state.

@. Nitish from day one of his era has planned and worked to keep himself in the driving seat of the state. He kept on going on yatras all over the state with that single objective. He never talked about the improvement required in social setups and weaknesses of individual Biharis to improve the image of Bihar and its hardworking people.

@. Nitish certainly did a good work on law and order as well as road construction. But it became noticeable as the previous governments under Lalu and Rabri had created a ‘jungle raj’, and the situation had touched rock bottom.

@. Nitish could not promote any other city but Patna. Even Patna didn’t see the development that other capitals of Indian states have achieved. Gaya, Muzzafarpur, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga could have been improved to much better status. Gaya could certainly become a city of international attraction with an international airport linking SE Asian Budhhist countries.

@. Nitish could have encouraged yoga all over through the educational institutes through reputed Munger school of yoga. Instead he finds satisfaction by criticising Modi for getting Yoga an international event.

@. Nitish hardly did anything to make Bihar a ‘must visit’ state for domestic and foreign tourists with its Budhhist and Hindu circuits and yoga. Yoga could have been a big attraction and source of employment.

@. Nitish failed to encourage and take the traditional art such as Madhubani paintings to the national and international stage. Even his Litti-Chokha could not reach the Indian metros.

@. Nitish with Lalu are satisfied by declaring the people of Bihar as poorest and had hardly taken any out of the box policy to eradicate poverty through empowering. Can they feel proud when a Kashmiri driver tells them too that the agriculture and construction in Kashmir ( perhaps all over India) will collapse if Bihari workers move out?

@. Nitish has hardly done to train and skill its uneducated millions to get a better remuneration and respect in labour market. Is it very difficult to train masons, drivers, electricians, plumbers, tailors or cooks and housekeepers that the migrant workers from the state get engaged in.

@. Nitish didn’t do sufficient work to make solar and biomass electricity light every nook and corner of Bihar to improve the quality of life. If states like Gujarat and Rajasthan can do it, why couldn’t Bihar? Nitish hardly took up major irrigation project to take care of draught with so many rivers criss-crossing the state.

@. Some young entrepreneurs set up their startups in Bihar, but Nitish Kumar did not provide the required assistance and encouragement to scale up in a large manner to impact the economy.

@. Nitish and Lalu with all their clout in Delhi with Manmohan and Sonia hardly did anything to get the projects of the two railway loco plants in Bihar implemented that would potentially make Bihar a manufacturing state if properly executed.

@. Nitish hardly took a significantly large assistance step to encourage MSMEs that all backward states such as Orissa and Madhya Pradesh have been doing.

@. Nitish hardly took any initiative to get set up the proven models of good schools in rural Bihar, where one or more of schools such as Kendriya , Navodaya, or Kashturba Gandhi Vidyalayas are required in each block. As per the media, he was against them, when that can only be the way out to uplift the rural education. Every block of the state must have a good school of that proven model.

@. Nitish Kumar and Lalu have not taken any step to educate the people at large against the mass copying in all examinations in Bihar thereby damaging the image of Bihar.

@. Nitish did not do anything to attract good professional engineering and medical schools, nor he did anything to improve the older educational institutes of higher education to be in the national ranking. Today, Bihar depends totally on other states for good higher education.

@. Nitish Kumar didn’t do anything to stop rather his government encouraged the spread of country liquor shops even in the remotest nook and corner of the state. All the rural habitations of Bihar has lost its old culture, its traditional festivals and I now avoid going to even my own village. Nitish Kumar hardly did anything to involve all the villagers in running the Panchayats. Mostly, it is run by goons of different types with help of some of their sycophant followers.

@. Years ago, I used to get amazed when in my village every one had two questions for any unknown visitor: first what was your caste, and if the visitor happened to tell that he was employed, the obvious question bombarded was if he got some outside income (bribe). The condition is no different even today. Every one earning through wrong means, say bribes, is considered smart. All the hypes of the actions against dishonest employees has not changed the situations. Biharis have earned an image of corrupt. Nitish could not bring any change.

Nitish with Lalu can’t be the answer for the growth of Bihar. It is for the people to decide if they wish Bihar as state in the league of developed states or remain at the bottom of the ranking when all other Bimaru states but that with ‘B’as the first letter, racing ahead.
(To be continued)

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Our Vacation in Kashmir

सुना था, पृथ्वी का स्वर्ग हैं कश्मीर । कुछ महीने ख़्याल आया यमुना के साथ अपनी शादी की हीरक जयन्ती मनाने का। सोचा असली स्वर्ग तो देख न पाऊँगा फिर अपने देश में जो स्वर्ग है उसे क्यों न देख लूँ इस मौक़े पर । बिना किसी को बताये हुये सारी ब्यवस्था की और काश्मीर पहुँच गये, यमुना के साथ ।
First day: We spent the evening in a wonderful sikara ride in Dal Lake.

Second Day: Pahalgam We saw six points, the last the best, Baisaran with wonderful marvellous meadows with tall pine trees and snow clad mountains at distance at 8000 ft from sea level on ponies. The car journey through NH1 along River Lidder was pretty good through rice fields with going on rice transplantation and many shops of Kashmiri dry fruits of various types. We could also see Apple gardens and walnut trees. As I love the archeological sites, I stopped for Martand Temple while returning.

Third Day: Sonmarg along River Sindhu, a tributary of the main Pakistani river, Thajwas Glacier from distance through local Sumo. Except for the snow capped mountains, the experience was not very good, as we could not take the pony ride up to the glacier.

Fourth Day: We went to Gulmarg, good road NH1 and Gulmarg Road; real nice winding valley at 8000 ft from sea level. The drive up to the top for hotel was really wonderful because of the winding road and exciting scenes from the heights.

Fifth Day: Gandola ride up to second stage at 14500 ft from sea level in Gulmarg, up to base from the hotel by snow scooter. I wish there could be a better way to reach the base of the Gandola, and the facility could be more user-friendly for older people. The cleanliness and entertainment facility such as sledge cars at the top was not up to the mark.

Sixth Day: Visited an emporium and an artisan house in a village off Gulmarg road while returning to Srinagar.

I was talking with my driver in Srinagar who comes from a well-to-do family. He is on Facebook too. According to him, the centre does not help the state government so the roads are bad. I tried in my own way to convince him. But it appears a lot of marketing is to be done about the role of state. Srinagar could become Jannat, if Swachh Bharat Aviyan could get a special boost here. The help must come from all in community and particularly institution responsible and involved in the task- municipality, all DMs, IPS officers. Even army with that large a presence can assist. The schools and college must be encouraged to participate. People at large here are very intelligent.

June 13, 2015. I had two engagements while returning to Srinagar from Gulmarg. In the first I met a Kashmiri family of the artisan with wife and three daughters, that engages itself in the fine needlework on the famous pashmina shawls in a village off the Gulmarg Road. In the second I met the deputy director of tourism, J&K and complained against the dismal condition of services provided for thousands of tourists by the providers, and the government must intervene and improve it by providing a feedback forms on the front desks of hundreds of hotels. Both gave me some personal satisfaction.

Seventh day: June 14 (60th marriage anniversary), climbed up to Sankaracharya Temple 290 stairs, built at 1000 ft from sea level by, as some says by King Ashoka’s son Jaluka or Jehangir; Salimar Bagh built by Jehangir for his wife Noor Jehan, Pari Mahal of Dara Shikoh, the son of Shahjahan of Taj Mahal fame and ended with a Shikara ride in Dal Lake, 32 sq. kms in area with Char Chinari, its stationary house boats and floating boats of various types of vendors and shops.

I made two special entries in Facebook:
शादी के साठवें साल गिरह पर

सोने की रातें थीं
चाँदी के दिन
सपनों से बेहतर थे
बीते वे साठ साल
चलते, लड़ते, सँभलते
खोजते नई नई राहें
नये गीत
नयी प्रीत
चलो आज भूलें सब
याद करें मधुर क्षण
मधुर सब
लिये आश….
बीत जाये
बाक़ी भी एेसे ही…..
June 14, 2015, Some Scary Experiences: The day being the 60th wedding anniversary, Our first programme was for visiting the Sankaracharya Temple. Yamuna had to stay back at the base station, as it meant to climb some 290 stair steps before reaching the temple. I was alone but took the decision to reach the temple. It is with a huge Lingam in a cave like crude structure. I realised that I was now nearing 76 years of my age and perhaps old by the definition based on age. It was tiring. I was getting breathing difficulty and I had to rest at the flat portions built in after every few stair steps. It was scary, as I was alone. At one point I thought of returning. But I got inspired by the people going ahead- the kids, young and old too – and going up. The last part of the day was to be in sikara for an hour in the evening in Dal Lake. We were enjoying the beauty of the lake. But ver soon, the wind became cool. It became a little too much windy soon and when the water splashed in the sikara, we got scared for a while. However, this time Yamuna was with me along with boat man. A second boat man also joined us to assist in steering the boat, as the owner was seeing the boat and the weather condition from the bank. Very soon we started enjoying it. Yamuna could not visit the temple. But in sikara we were together, got photographed in Kashmiri dress for remembrance, enjoyed the ride and also the Kashmiri kahwa at a floating shop.

June 15, Because of a tyre burst of an Air India flight on the runway of Srinagar Airport, all incoming and outgoing flights got cancelled. We had to stay in Srinagar.
जन्नत से अपने घर ….ख़ुशनुमा मौसम और यह चिपचीपी गरमी.. यही अन्तर है… पर घर की सागरोटी जन्नत में नहीं मिलती….

Kashmir Visit- a simple inference: Kashmiris can easily make the state most developed with highest per capita income. As the saying goes, ‘पहले शकल, फिर अकल’। शक्ल सभी की भगवान ने ही अच्छी दे दी है। Only if the Kashmiri parents start focusing on the modern education of their kids-both girls and boys, the state can go ahead of other states. They can get into all sorts of jobs in all over India. काश्मीरी बड़े हुनरवान हैं और घर से हाथ का काम कर हीं अच्छी कमाई कर लेते हैं परिबार के लिये, चाहे क़ालीन बुनना हो या शाल पर कढ़ाई करनी हो या लकड़ी या काग़ज़ की बस्तुयें बनानी हो। कब कुछ लोग इन्हें गुमराह करना छोड़ेंगे। होटलों में लडकें इतनी तमीज़ से बात करते हैं । हाँ, लड़कियाँ अभी उतनी तादाद में नहीं आ रहीं हैं।

Eighth Day: Yusmarg, about 65 kms from Srinagar, very mesmerising scenic huge meadow. As the story goes, Jesus Christ passed through Yusmarg valley. The “Yus” of Yusmarg is the short form of Youza or Jesus and marg means a meadow.

Near the villages of Naugam and Nilmag, about 40 kilometers south of Srinagar is a large plain called the Yuz Marg, the meadow of Jesus. It is said that from Murree, Jesus proceeded to Srinagar entering Kashmir from the pass now called Yuz Marg, and he rested at Aish Muqam, about 50 miles south of Srinagar, where a sanctuary was erected containing the horns of ‘God’s ram’ and a walking stick that is considered Moses’ stick, later used by Jesus. It is also here that some of the tribes of Israel are supposed to have settled after 722 BCE to live as shepherds, which is still a major occupation in the area today.

Finally, after a lot of worried moments we could get a flight from the airliner for June 17 at 5.15PM from Srinagar reaching Noida home by 9pm via Chandigarh. As my cell phone has a prepaid shim, I could not use it in Kashmir. J&K allows only the use of post-paid cell phone. But with pretty good Wi-Fi in hotels, I could remain in contact with Anand and Rajesh.

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Make-in-India:How China is Killing Manufacturing

I had been writing about the Chinese manufacturing since 2005 after I had visited US and read there a lot on the Chinese manufacturing during my stay of six months. Every developed manufacturing country then was tired of the Chinese fakes including India. Even the Baja Auto fakes were available in the Chinese market. This article however is based on an article that appeared in ‘India Today’. It has become more relevant after the ‘make-in-India’ campaign of Modi. It is also very important when a finance minister makes a statement on the country’s concern on its CAD. This article shows how Indian manufacturing sector has been spineless over the years.

Unscrupulous Indian traders are snatching the work from the hands of craftsmen, artisans, and weavers of India, are taking the samples from India to China, are getting manufactured the fakes in China, and importing them to sell to the ignorant Indian buyers. “The display at the small shop of Zhao Qingfeng, Yijie Crafts Company in the the Yiwu commodity market include the paintings and statues of more than half a dozen Hindu deities such a Tanjore-style painting of baby Krishna or the distinctive Saraswati-on-a-lotus portraits that are a common sight in many Indian homes. These paintings, crafted almost perfectly in Cangnan, one of the many bustling factory towns in Zhejiang province in China’s southern manufacturing heartland. From Cangnan’s factories, the gods and goddesses make their way to the sprawling Yiwu commodity market.

If there’s a “Made in China” product in your home, chances are it passed through Yiwu at some point along its Chinese supply chain.You cannot walk 10 yards through the Yiwu market without stumbling across a trader from India. Yiwu’s suppliers themselves say that trade with India, above all, drives their businesses. Every year, around 400,000 Indian businessmen descend on Yiwu, accounting for three out of every four foreign businessmen in the city. There are 250-odd Indian trading companies with permanent partnerships in Yiwu city, where around 1,000 Indians now reside permanently. Yiwu shipped $750 million worth of goods to India last year-more than any other country. Indian companies find it cheaper to send designs to a factory in rural Zhejiang and have products- whether a baby Krishna painting or custom-made furniture or children’s toys-shipped to Kolkata or Mumbai.” Is it an illustration of the success of the China supply chain or the failures of Indian manufacturing, or its murder by the India traders? The story goes further. It is actually common for Indian traders to be held in hotels as “collateral” while payments are due. There are traders from every corner of India patrolling the corridors of the Yiwu market, looking for bargains.

On a recent afternoon, spotted was a trader from Rajasthan procuring cartons of “authentic” Rajasthani jewellery from a Chinese entrepreneur. “All these foreign tourists who buy traditional jewellery in Jaipur,” the trader chuckled, “it all comes from Yiwu.”A trader from Chennai said there was now a factory in Zhejiang that was even producing “authentic” Kancheepuram silk sarees-Kancheepuram weavers had reportedly even been flown in to Zhejiang by an enterprising Chinese company for their brains to be picked -that were now being sold in Tamil Nadu to unwitting buyers (investigations into this company’s whereabouts did, however, prove fruitless).”

I want to ask if the ongoing business of these fakes is legal and if the government of India too encourages it. If not, why can’t the government take some effective steps to stop the business of these Chinese fakes? It’s done world over. Almost every developed country has experienced the menace of the Chinese fakes.

Today, electronic equipment comprises the bulk of China’s exports to India, but why it be followed by machinery, engines and pumps, organic chemicals, fertilisers, iron and steel, and plastics that have sufficient manufacturing know how and capacity in India? India has from April to December 2014 a trade gap of $37 billion. Surprisingly China imports from India mainly raw materials, though India exports a lot of sophisticated engineering goods to many developed countries too. Indian enterprises import because it’s easier. Over the years, the imports have gone on increasing. The government hardly showed any concern. Why should the Indian OEMs take the pain of developing vendors as Maruti Suzuki did it in initial period or when the government does not show any concern about the import of all sorts to any extent?

Today, as much as 80 per cent of power plant equipment for Indian projects is sourced from China, even though India has now sufficient manufacturing capacity and the quality is better. China is dumping them as those are available off selves because of over production. And further it is a known fact that the Chinese manufacturers provide all sort of illegal benefits to the Indian buyers that can’t be done by Indian manufacturers, particularly the PSUs.

In 2013-14, imports of products such as engine pistons, transmission drives and steering and body components totalled $2.6 billion and comprised 21 per cent of auto imports to India. India, on the other hand, exported parts worth only $300 million to China. Indian auto parts manufacturers have better brand image. Many of them are recipients of Deming Prize for quality. They export to many global auto manufacturers world over. But still they can’t export to China. The problem is more shocking for the aftermarket parts. “The aftermarket requirements of auto parts in India is estimated to be around $6 billion and over 36 per cent of this is counterfeit, mostly coming from China.” Here too the samples of the parts reach the Chinese manufacturers through traders who are importing the fakes. Why are the Indian OEMs quiet on this? The business of Indian spare parts manufacturers is dwindled.

Even a low tech item such PVC pipe and lightings are mainly Chinese in market. With demand for PVC pipes rising rapidly from irrigation projects, Chinese imports are handy. Why can’t the Indian manufacturers increase their capacity to meet the requirements? The large number of Home Town and Home Centre outlets of furnitures and fittings of Future Group are all imported from Malaysia. Why can’t the Future Group develop it from local sources if IKEA can do it? Why doesn’t the government raise even a finger?

Should not the government of India take some corrective steps for these skewed imports from China? How can the CAD be improved? How can the ‘Make in India’ happen? No amount of campaign can solve this dismal situation. The government must intervene.

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A Bihar Battle for Becoming Emperor

I don’t know why the recent political development in Bihar reminds me of the year when Dr. Sri Krishna Sinha had proposed a merger of West Bengal with Bihar. Dr. B C Roy agreed first. But very soon Dr. Roy could understand his mistake, and he retreated. The going-ons for a Janata Parivar alliance must take some lessons from history.

Historically, Nitish replaced the misrule or jungle raj of Lalu Prasad and his clan and ruled Bihar successfully with BJP.
But Nitish’s ego ran supreme and he broke the alliance with BJP in most unceremonious manner before the general election. Nitish has not understood the people’s mind correctly and lost poorly to BJP alliance in Lok Sabha poll in 2014.

Nitish also tried a sabbatical leave by putting Manjhi as chief minister. It must have been in poor taste if not for him but certainly for the people of Bihar. It was certainly a blot in Nitish’s political career. Manjhi has been removed unceremoniously. All those must have gone against Nitish. But then Nitish tried to form a grand alliance against BJP alliance. It appears to have failed. Mulayam has ditched. Now Nitish is trying to go to poll with an alliance or merger with his one time greatest foe Lalu Prasad.

Lalu Prasad has refused to commit Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial face for the Bihar elections. Nitish forgets that Lalu now has two of his sons helping him in his politics of Bihar. A tough situation awaits Nitish. It will not be that easy to work with Lalu. Even if his alliance with Lalu wins (though the chance is little) and Lalu agrees to have Nitish as chief minister, Nitish will never have the same comfort as he was having with BJP as an ally. There will certainly be a second centre of power that will have its headquarter in Lalu’s family house with Lalu’s playing their own cards at different critical occasions. Bihar and its development will suffer.

I am sure the people of Bihar who though vote for caste in many cases, will play their cards intelligently and will understand the totally loose loose condition with Nitish-Lalu win. A BJP led alliance with full support from the centre will certainly serve the interest of the people of Bihar better.

Bihar needs a government that moves on real development in the state. It must focus on quality education that is not damaged by the exponential boom of coaching centres. All the institutions of higher educations- colleges, universities, medical and engineering colleges, skilling institutes, other professional technical institutes focus on quality teaching. Rogue teachers, students and goons are eliminated with a heavy hand. The government focuses on the growth of MSMEs to reach every village. Small land holders must be encouraged to shift from traditional crops to vegetables, fruits, fishery, commercial plantations and animal husbandry. All canals must be widened with solar parks on it and good roads on both sides. Panchayats must run effectively and a plan to reduce the number of family under BPL to zero over next ten years must be put in place. If not in all the parameters but certainly in some, Bihar must get into the category of better states where the people of the state love to live peacefully with all amenities and never think of leaving.

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Power- Performance, problems, Promises and Piyush Goel

Will the independent analysers evaluate the promises of Piyush Goel in right perspective?
A. Performance one year
1. 22,566 mega-watt (MW) of generation capacity was added in the last one year. 2. There has been the highest ever increase in transmission line capacity of 22,100 circuit km and highest ever increase in sub-station capacity of 66,554 MW.
3. Power deficit at 3.6 per cent in India is the lowest in its history.
4. Coal India Ltd produced a record 32 million tonnes of dry fuel and is looking at producing 100 million tonnes by 2020.
5. The price of LED bulbs have been brought down from Rs.310 last February (2014) to Rs.250 in September, Rs.149 in November, Rs.102 this February and finally Rs.81.3 in March—a decrease of 74%.

B. Problems
But there are some key concerns too:
1. State electricity boards, with a debt of Rs.3.04 trillion and losses of Rs.2.52 trillion, are on the brink of financial collapse.
2. Despite possessing 300 billion tonnes of coal reserves, India imports coal to meet its power requirements.
3. India’s per capita power consumption, about 940 kilowatt-hour (kWh), is among the lowest in the world—by comparison, China consumes 4,000 kWh per capita and rich nations average 15,000kWh per capita. India has an installed power generation capacity of 267,637 MW.
4. Electricity shortage continue to hamper export manufacturers. Over two-thirds of Indian exporters are small producers and are unable to benefit from alternatives such as having a captive power plant.

C. Promises
Based on the above achievement, what can one expect from the future plans of the Government:
1. Raising renewable energy capacity by more than five times to 175,000 MW by 2022, five ultra-mega power plants totalling 20,000 MW, reduction in peak load shortages through revival of stranded gas-based power plants, Rs. 1.09 lakh crore investment in sub-transmission and distribution and Rs. 1 lakh crore of new transmission projects to be bid out in the current year.
2. Clean energy will be prioritised with 25 solar parks of about 100 MW each planned and a Rs. 38,000 crore green energy corridor being set up to transmit renewable energy.
3. The government plans to increase India’s coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020, with Coal India Ltd (CIL) responsible for producing 1 billion tonnes, in a bid to do away with the need to import coal.
4. In the coming 3-4 years, if all households employ LEDs, we can save peak load in the amount of 27,000 MW. This will reduce 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.

Will by 2019 when the country will go for next general election, Indians will have trouble free 24×7 quality power supply?

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Make-in-India Mission

Make-in-India and Modi’s France visit: There are two good news emanating after Modi’s visit to France that may help Make-in-India drive worthwhile. As expected, after off-the-purchase of 36 Rafale aircrafts, Dassault will, in near future, set up an independent manufacturing facility in a joint venture with HAL or more likely with one of the Indian private companies such as Tata Advanced Systems. TAS is already a reliable vendor in business of manufacturing aircraft components.

In another deal with Arevas for the Jaipur Nuclear Plant, the L&T is expected to get orders for making heavy and critical components such as pressure vessels and steam generators for the plant to cut down the cost of the plant. These orders will be executed by L&T Special Steel and Heavy Forgings (LTSSF), a joint venture between L&T and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India in its manufacturing facility in Hazira, Surat. “Localisation may bring down the tariff at Rs 7 per unit (kWh).”LTSSHF is recognized as India’s largest integrated steel plant and heavy forging unit. With state-of-the art facilities, LTSSHF is capable of producing forgings weighing 120MT each. India and France both will be benefitted if the deals go through.

French defence major Dassault Aviation may be entering into a joint venture with state-run HAL or any private player to set up a base here for augmenting its existing production line. The production rate of Dassault Aviation for Rafale stands at about 1 aircraft per month. However, the company has bagged three major contracts this year totalling to 84 aircraft, all of which have to be delivered fast. Under the original deal, 18 Rafale jets were to be bought off the shelf while 108 were to be manufactured by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)or in a JV with some private company.
I get amazed to read that the Indian electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) market will grow from $76 billion in 2013 to $94 billion in 2015. India as a country was always good at semiconductor design. However, India does not have a fab to manufacture chips. Several efforts were made to get into getting fabrication factory, but everything failed. I was amused to know that a start up called Cricket Semiconductor with a logo that resembles the traditional red leather ball, would set up a Rs 6,000-crore fabrication unit in Madhya Pradesha start up plans to set up a unit. However, I seriously suggest that the government must intervene, find out from biggies like Sunil Mittal of Airtel or Ambani brothers with big presence in telecom if they will be interested to get into the business. If they are not interested, the government must pursue a company such as Samsung to setup a unit giving all it asks for. India must take this strategic decision. It is a shame that the country has no fabs to manufacture chips just as yet. If over the years countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and China can have fans to manufacture chips, why should not India be a major manufacturer? With a prediction for the industry is to touch $400 billion by 2020, it will be prudent to have it soon. Interestingly, many reputed electronics companies have already their manufacturing bases in India. Hyundai, Samsung Electronics, Posco and LG- are all household names in India. These and many other companies are just to expand their footprints in India, and make India their second important manufacturing hub.
Years ago, I had visited an ordinances factory on Jessore Road in Kolkatta. The purpose was to see its manufacturing facilities that machine bore with very large length and diameter ratios. It is surprising that India is still not indigenously producing the big guns and system such as Bofors ones.

According to a recent report, “an Indian 155 millimetre, 45-calibre artillery gun called the Dhanush has cleared its field trials and is ready for manufacture in numbers.” If everything goes alright, it may take still years for India to become a reliable enough manufacturer with globally competitive product in the required number.

Interestingly, at least two private companies have shown intensive interest in manufacturing of artillery systems.

Bharat Forge has invested heavily in setting up a plant to manufacture artillery systems. As reported, Baba Kalyani group has bought not only an artillery factory from Swiss firm RUAG and set it up in India but also purchased technology from an Austrian gun manufacturer to jumpstart its entry into the defence manufacturing sector.

Punj Lloyd is another company ready to enter the major league of defence manufacturers with an investment in a manufacturing facility at Malanpur.

However, perhaps the army is not ready to use indigenously manufactured equipment very happily. None of the India companies have got any order.

Even after all these progresses, there is hardly any road map or time line for finalisation or testing for the howitzers. Instead very recently the government announced the acquisition of 145 pieces of M777 Ultra-Light howitzers from the US under a government-to-government deal. There was no mention for making these American howitzers in India, though the company had offered to shift the manufacturing and testing facility from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to India. Unfortunately, even after the make-in-India mission, the mindset has hardly changed for the switchover. Even if it is there, the speed is dismally unrecognisable.

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Make in India: What I Wrote

Every month, Micromax sells 3 million mobile devices in India, 70,000 televisions and 70,000 tablets. But these are all perhaps imported ones from China. Is the volume not good enough to start production in India? There are other MNCs and domestic players selling these electronics devices in million in India, totalling as per one estimate to 300 million. Someone in government, be it Mr. Modi, Jaitley or Prasad may call the heads of these companies and ask why can’t they ‘make in India’ even when the volume of sale is so good, and provide all the possible assistances. How long the world depend on Chinese factories for the supply? Interestingly, as per media reports, with the slowdown in China, the manufacturing is shifting to other Asian countries including Mynnamar, Cambodia and Indonesia.Why can’t it be India? If India misses on this opportunity this time, it will miss for ever.
The story of the Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel plant of Odisha is a glaring example how the government both the centre and the state work in India. It also exemplify how the vested interests are kept above the national one. The MoU for the proposed project was signed way back in June 2005. I really wonder why the South Koreans have not yet quit the project. Perhaps it is because POSCO must have already spent huge amount in a hope to get project going, and in process many unscrupulous Indians would have become millionaires. Who will expose the real story that could very easily become a subject matter of a PhD?
Modi’s one point mission in visiting developed countries is to invite investments, technology to India. He has done that with confidence loudly and effectively. In doing so, the companies, in turn, will get benefited immensely because of the market size of India and the region in South East. It will be win win for all. No other prime minister in India took the Make-in-India mission so forcefully, not even Atal Bihari Bajpai.
I have been knowing about the manufacturing facilities that was available with Hindustan Motors and Daewoo Motors India. I knew about Nokia manufacturing facility as it grew as Nokia India. Nokia sold its entire device and services business to Microsoft for $7.5 billion last year, but could not include the Chennai plant, one of its largest handset making facilities, in the deal because the asset was frozen by the central government following a tax litigation. While Birla has managed to sell Hindustan Motors’ huge land unscrupulously that it got almost free from Dr. BCRoy to a private company, and also a lot of capital equipment, it still has huge manufacturing facilities in stamping press shop, Forge and Foundry as well as machining division and tool manufacturing. Daewoo Motors in Surajpur also had a huge land bank, a modern press shop, transmission gear, and engine manufacturing as well as Injection moulding. It happened the Nokia way when GM bought Daewoo Motors of South Korea. I am sure Indian banks would have lost a lot of money in these cases. Why could not the take overs happened the way Mahindra Tech took over Satyam, one of the top tech companies when Raju revealed his unscrupulous financial management. Mr. Modi and Jaitley must see that such closures are proactively stopped and the capital assets not get rusted and junked because of legal holds up. All the three cases are poor planning and strategy and that too of capital intensive manufacturing sector. India can’t afford it any more.
Hind Motor: I got a shock of my life when I heard from Mrs. Bina Laxman Singh that the whole of the residential complex including temples,school and hospital is without electricity and water. Wild grass has grown all over, and it is scaring to move inside right in evening. This is what a bad family management, a poor government and adamant unions can cause. I am sure the managing family and its men have sucked the company totally. Perhaps all the usable machines and equipments would have been sold. It is unfortunate that in a democracy, no one is held responsible for this sort of criminal acts against the nation that aspires today to be a manufacturing giant under Modi. I was also told of one suicide and one heart attack because of this closure. It is painful for those with the memory of the glorious day of the place. But we can’t even have a condolence.

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