MAKE IN INDIA-My Dreams, My Views


Defence Services are failing ‘Make in India’: Bharat Karnad, Professor for National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, writes in Open Magazine this week, “The three services also have in common the acute institutional hankering for Western military hardware, which was thwarted for 30 odd years (the mid-60s to mid-90s) by Cold War politics and the availability of Russian equipment in the Soviet era at ‘friendship prices’. Now that that constraint is lifted, they are reverting wherever possible to buying cost-prohibitive Western armaments with a vengeance, often at the expense of indigenously designed and developed weapon systems, such as the Arjun Main Battle Tank and Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), that have proved as good, when not better, than foreign items.” The frequent media reports of infightings between the defence ministry, DRDO, Ordinance Factories, and Indian Army and Indian Air Force authorities or may be, vested interest of powerful individuals or politicians might be behind the preference of ‘import’ by making technical specifications unnecessarily different and difficult.

Instead, all these departments and the core team working on the projects would have been working on the principles of the concurrent management with each individuals working missionary zeal to attain the goal.


Make-in-India with world-class innovation: All PSUs will have to innovate with tremendous speed to get ahead on its own rather than collaborating for foreign technologies of MNCs, be it HAL, BHEL, BMEL, BEL, as ISRO has established itself. If necessary, let these firms have as strong R&D and development centres as Tata Motors, Mahindra, or Bajaj and Hero MotoCorp have established over years to compete with global auto companies operating from India. India just can’t be in manufacturing with laggard steam era technologies and can never think to complete with global companies. Those heading HAL, BHEL, BMEL must dream take to the level of Boeing, GE, Caterpillar or bigger and the government must support that. All these India companies and many more must get into the top 5-8 in the world. Here is one story from ICF of Indian Railways:


Make-in-India: We all know that this campaign of MiI is the only saviour to get into manufacturing sector in a big way. But perhaps we are in confusion in deciding how to go for it. Make-in-India will not come only if we get Boeing or Airbus to manufacture high-tech items such as fighter planes in collaborations with local partners such as private houses of Tata /Mahindra or public sector company such as HAL. It is to happen in every sector in India. With rising population of aspiring consumers with surplus to buy different contemporary commodities in large numbers that makes the scale good enough to setup viable domestic manufacturing facilities unlike some years ago. For example, the huge banking sectors and users forced to switch over to digital transactions from cash economy because of demonetisation suddenly discovered that India does not have sufficient number of the companies which manufacture equipment like PoS machines and micro ATMs or finger print readers, biometric cards and PIN cards or even provide services required to modifying the ATMs to accept the new currency notes. If the mindsets of Indian entrepreneurs are only of trading, importing everything India needs today or as we go on developing from China, Malaysia or some other country, may be Bangladesh or Nepal, how can India be a manufacturing nation any day? 

Let us look at huge housing sectors under implementation and the related accessories , hardwares and machineries required, and access its volumes and revenues. Why did our entrepreneurs and factory owners get into manufacturing those items rather resort to importing all those items? 

The most stunning case is that of mobile phones and other electronics. Indian government could not bring any other large scale manufacturers once Nokia had to close its largest in world plant near Chennai. 

At initial stage of MiI, it appeared the defence ministry under an IITian honest Minister with Modi would be more decisive and move fast on the indigenously manufactured items and equipment. A country that can be globally competitive in satellite and missile technologies could certainly build world class tanks, fighters or guns investing and focusing on its developmental work in number required for domestic requirements and even exports. The government could have gone ahead simultaneously working speedily with clinching the offer of building a totally greenfield projects offered by Boeing or Airbus or any other on its term. It is all a story of indecisive administration and red tape everywhere. 

On the grassroots rural level, India must follow the way China did. I know a China story of how China became the sole manufacturer and supplier of shocks of all type all over the world. It started with one teacher of a village leaving her job and starting producing shocks using just one machine and the village became a huge cluster of shock suppliers. Rural India has huge potential in exploring its capacity of low end manufacturing of all the items that we import and that are supplied through e-retailers of household items such Amazon, Snapdeal or many.

Innovation in Manufacturing-an unique new approach: ‘Public sector defence major Bharat Electronics (BEL) and HAL are jointly setting up a R50-crore defence innovation fund. The objective of the fund is to promote start-ups in the defence sector and enable them to design and develop products for the armed forces. Both the companies will set up a joint venture company to take this initiative forward. “To begin with, both BEL and HAL will contribute R2.5 crore each and create a R5-crore fund and going forward, it will be enhanced to R50 crore. It will be operational by the end of the current financial year.’ It will give innovative young entrepreneurs to get into high tech manufacturing. Will it mean many startups coming in manufacturing?
LCA fighter of HAL: I don’t think the order will stop at the current 123. Defence ministry is planning a single engine fighter to be made in India with the industry but even after that, there’s a gap of 200 odd fighters that we can make good. We have planned our manufacturing capability at 18-20 fighters a year and have started subcontracting – the wing to L&T and central fuselage to Vem Technologies. If they start delivering, it’ll enhance our capability. We are also making a more advanced version of the Hawk that will have a modified wing for high speed maneuverability and engine with more power. This we are looking for the external market. The Air Force did not express keenness for the project when we started but once we start proving the capabilities, even the internal market could get interested.
The Indian Navy’s rejection of the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas provoked sharp reaction from former DRDO chief VK Saraswat on Sunday.
“We have recently heard that the Navy does not require the naval variant of the LCA. It is an unfortunate decision without understanding the complex technologies involved in making a fighter,” said Saraswat, now a member of the Niti Aayog, at an aerospace seminar here.
Without naming Navy Chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, the former Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said people who have poor information should not be bad mouthing something.
“Hopefully good sense will prevail and the LCA naval variant will go into production as it can be a good contender for a foreign aircraft,” Saraswat told about 1,000 delegates participating in the international seminar being held as part of the biennial Aero India 2017 expo here.
when the international community had been denying technology to India, decision-makers should not lose faith in the capabilities of the Indian establishments, their scientists and engineers.
Make-in-India and Apple: As reported, “Apple India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker Apple Inc., seems to have reached an agreement with the Karnataka government to set up a manufacturing plant in Peenya Industrial Area of Bengaluru. …….Apple has chosen Taiwan-based contract phone maker, Wistron Corp., as its manufacturing partner in India. .And Wistron is believed to have identified a facility in Peenya, an industrial suburb of Bengaluru. ……The company will make phones for the Indian market in the first phase of its operations……Apple India reported a profit of Rs294 crore in the year ended 31 March 2016 on revenue of Rs9,997 crore. It recorded sales of over $1 billion in India in 2015.” However, I am still not very excited with this news, as it will neither have any significant value addition or investment in India nor create a lot of employment. For electronics manufacturing, more and more manufacturing startups must get into components. It requires a thrust on R&D in the sector and product development of world class.
‘Make in India’ Achievement- ‘Dhanush’ and Republic Day: People will see India’s first indigenous, long-range artillery gun ‘Dhanush’. Over so many years, the gun ‘Dhanush’, a towed howitzer, has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board, Kolkata. It is based on the technical documentations under the ‘transfer of technology’ of the Bofors gun deal in the late 1980s. As claimed, ‘Dhanush’ is comparable to the latest weapon systems used by different countries. Besides features like electronic gun-laying and sighting systems, the indigenous gun has a strike range of 38 km, which is 11 km more than the imported Bofors guns. It showcases well what the active cooperation from other ordinance factories and PSUs such as SAIL, BEL, and many private sector companies can do. But the story would unfortunately in all probabilities end here. The gun like so many other defence products such as Avadi’s Arjuna tanks or Tejas will never be productionised in scale sufficient to meet the requirements of our army, upgraded and exported to attain global recognitions. This is the most unfortunate part of the India’s capability to become a manufacturing power. We can never become Japan, South Korea, China or even North Korea or Malaysia in manufacturing. Our private sector even when endeavours is not encouraged by the corrupt system to get into globally recognisable manufacturing sector. as I know both Bharat Forge, L&T worked and developed the gun but the government run by the IAS tops and their politicians bosses hardly bothered to let them go ahead. Even Modi and his men are hardly different so far Make in India is concerned.. I and perhaps many don’t have any big hope.
Make-in-India On verge of Happening: Here is a right news that I have been talking for some time. As reported, ‘Reliance Industries has asked its Chinese and Taiwanese original device manufacturers (ODMs) partners, including Foxconn, to make its Lyf branded 4G smartphones, smart set-top boxes, home automation and automobile telematics devices among others in India.’ It’s very prudent decision and will have a big support of potential rational Indian customers and must get special support from the government too. Reliance with its deep pocket and competitive superiority can make it globally competitive product and services too, if Mukesh Ambani decides so.
Make in India for survival: There is hardly any hope of the business houses in private sector investing in a big way in the greenfield manufacturing projects and facilities in India. The only course left out for the government is to focus on PSU manufacturing companies in various sectors such as defence, power generation, transmission and distribution equipment including nuclear and non-fossil renewable, railways, oil refinery, electronics. The government must think of re-engineering the organisations engaged in say aircraft manufacture such as HAL. HAL must go for a reorganisation based on products- helicopters, fighters, and transport planes- each world class in research and product development , manufacturing, assembly and testing facilities. It must expand in serial production scale and product quality excellent enough to be globally competitive exporting about 30 percent of its output such as that of Tejas and advanced helicopters. Similar approaches are required to be taken up in shipbuilding sector. India has a great traditions in shipbuilding since many centuries. India can over the year become global leader in shipbuilding of all types- from aircrafts carriers, frigates, and submarines including the nuclear ones. With fully developed vendor companies, it can provide a huge employment potentials because of the manual nature of fabrication it demands. In every sector in India, say road construction, metro or mobile network, because of a huge domestic demand, its hardware requirements will provide commercially viable volume for setting up the manufacturing facilities. However, every manufacturing facilities must be backed up by product development facilities to keep it in the top few of the world. Without a big push for manufacturing hardwares and machinery related in every sector, India can not hope to be in the league of top powerful countries. )
Make in India: I-Phones vs. Tesla Electric cars
The news of Apple asking for certain special concessions from Indian government to start manufacturing facilities of i-phones in India. As suggested in a report in ‘The Mint’, ‘If concessions have to be given to persuade global companies to set up manufacturing in India, they are better off given to those at the forefront of technologies that will drive the future. Last year there was some talk of the Indian government urging the revolutionary car-maker and energy storage company Tesla Motors to set up its Asian manufacturing hub in the country and offered it strategically located land near major ports. Tesla isn’t convinced yet but said that it would evaluate the proposal depending upon the sales of its Model 3 car in India.’ It will certainly a prudent decision to have the manufacturing facilities for something like Tesla Electric car, power packs or solar roofs and to be in the right league of high tech manufacturing of tomorrow’s products.
Focus on Demonetisation perhaps killed the driving force required for Make-in-India that would have been the top priority of the governments-centre and states. Perhaps India and Indians lack the political will and the necessary leadership for getting ahead in manufacturing. Many a times, I am forced to believe that India does not want to be in the race for getting into manufacturing as it is a difficult sector and requires the tenacity for hard work for many years without lucrative enough profits that Indians look for as their first goal. India must create an ecosystem that breeds manufacturing related innovators and entrepreneurs such as Wright brothers or Elon Rusk. Forget about China, we don’t feel bad with getting behind Bangladesh and Vietnam doing better. The country that was the prime innovators and exporters of textiles now only tries to find excuses for loosing position as in every field. It is a shame. ‘Make in India’ seems to have lost the steam.
My comment on Airbus setting up manufacturing base in India: “Government must decide fast enough about the greenfield project of fighter manufacturing in India where the best of the two- Boeing and Airbus with an Indian partner out of Tatas and Mahendras establishes the fully integrated plant with R&D, design and development, production engineering and manufacturing facilities with world best testing facilities to cater to Indian as well as exports requirements for years to come. It must encourage and develop the network of strong vendors’ facilities to meet domestic as well as global requirements. It will be an image booster for India and take it into high tech manufacturing.” Interestingly, Boeing supply-chain includes 30 direct and 120 indirect suppliers in India.
‘Make-in-India’ can’t happen with total apathy of private sector in investing for any greenfield project in country. Big business houses are scared of manufacturing sector. Their education and nearness with USA have made them follow its model and allergic to manufacturing. However, USA still remains the only hope in high tech product manufacturing. In good old days, the Indian business houses of the time used to complain about the absence of market in India and were sceptical about the technical prowess to compete with global players. With the existence of near to the biggest number of R&D centres of all global companies developing its products for world in India, it is clear that India does not lack talents. Indian business houses are getting cosier and safer with easier businesses of services and finance sectors. India must go for positive competitive manufacturing strategy with China. India has become one of the biggest clients of Chinese photovoltaic and smart phone manufacturers. The central-government must plan to lift India’s own installed capacities in both the sectors as well as to create an export industry. India wants to raise renewable capacity to 175 gigawatt by 2022 from 45 gigawatts at present. It has market requirements of smartphones every year year in millions. The volume in both sectors and its business value is good enough to have a wholly integrated manufacturing sector in India. It obviously require to set up huge manufacturing capacities that with deep pockets and good market share. Reliance, Tata BP, Airtel, Videocon, Micromax, Birla can invest in manufacturing. Even BSNL can go great with professional management and autonomy and encourage some Indian mobile cell manufacturing with preferential offers. Unfortunately the government will have to tae some brave decision. And private sectors must be convinced to invest in sectors such as manufacturing that can only create the desired amount of employment push. But they have a mind set to squeeze all benefits from the government and let all be done by the government. Will India’s private business houses rise to the national need of the hour, cooperate in the task and help building related manufacturing sectors?
Make-in-India military planes : For quite sometime now, this government is talking about getting a joint venture for building military planes in India between a known foreign company such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus or Sweden’s Saab and a domestic player such as Tata or Mahindra or any other capable and interested companies . As it is reported in media time and again, Lockheed Martin is interested in setting up a production line for its F-16 plane in India for not just the Indian military, but also for export. And Sweden’s Saab has also offered a rival production line for its Gripen aircraft. Government must encourage the private companies with deep pockets to go ahead and facilitate them. The new company must have its own product development to remain with products of latest in technologies and beside making its planes for Indian defence requirements must also export to keep the business viability in tact. The promised deal for 200-300 single engine planes may be a good number for the local facility. India as such is growing on with production facilities of the major components for Airbus, Boeing or Lockheed Martin. Perhaps the government is not that proactive rather it is hesitant. It must make up its mind to live with private companies in defence sector. Modi must shake off the old tradition of Nehru era. It must happen by 2017.
Infosy’ Make-in-India Award: In its bid to encourage innovators to make in India, Infosys has started ‘Infy Maker Awards’ in the country. For the first Indian edition, 20 winners were selected from more than 280 entries and over 2,500 registrations from categories like health, energy, education, sound and music, social change solutions, robotics, art and design, artificial intelligence and electronics, among others. Each of the 20 winners will be presented with Rs 5 lakh each, a trophy and a certificate.

Further, Times Network, part of India’s largest media conglomerate Times Group, has launched the Make In India Summit and Awards, which are aimed at laying out key imperatives and the framework for turning the vision of ‘Make In India’ into a reality.
GE India, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Bharat Forge, Indian Space Research Organisation, Bosch India, Patanjali Ayurved and Tata Steel were given awards for their work in taking this initiative forward.
28.10.2016 Mukesh Ambani! Be bold, manufacture your own smart phones to offer to your clients in India and export too. This will be something to feel proud of and create an Ambani Legacy. If not now, it will be never for an Indian manufacturer. As reported, “India has overtaken the US in smartphone connections and is second to China, said Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA). The country is expected to grow its unique mobile subscriber base to approximately one billion by the end of 2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9%.”)

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