Manufacturing in India or Make in India


Indian Railways: Bihar’s Great Opportunitiny is here to get into manufacturing sector in big way this time and if it can’t, it will be never. Even after the defeat in State assembly election, Modi government cleared the two major plants formanufacturing of railway locos- one diesel and the second electric. I am sure it would not happened at any other government or PM at centre. Just after the taking over the Railway ministry by Piyush Goel from Suresh Prabhu, there was a controversy reported on the GE’s Madhepura Plant. But the doubt has been clarified by Shri Goel. The project is very much on track. Both plants are now in execution stage, according to the media report. Alstom’s electric locomotive unit will be produced at Madhepura, GE’s diesel engine would be manufactured at Marhaura. Both are the joint ventures with Indian Railways. Indian Railways plans to buy 1,800 engines from the two facilities over 11 years. 1,000 diesel locomotives will be manufactured by the GE-led venture with a basic cost of Rs 14,656 crore, while the Alstom-led venture will manufacture and supply 800 electric locomotives at a basic cost of Rs 19,904 crore. GE is building two locomotive models for Indian Railways: the first a dual-cab locomotive with a 4,500-horsepower engine and the second features a 6,000-horsepower engine. It is claimed that the firm will produce India’s first diesel-electric locomotive that complies with the international standard on emissions, known as UIC 1. I don’t know the answers of some questions about the two projects? Will the manufacturing stop after 11 years or after the handing over 1800 locomotives to Indian Railways or will keep on going with incorporating the latest contemporaries technologies and new models? Will the joint venture will also have separate top class R&D facilities with each production plant so that India with help of the giant MNCs become big hub for all future loco manufacturing and exporting to other countries? Will some small and big first class vendors come up around the plants of both places, as the MNC manufacturers are already claiming to have 70% indigenous components? Will the people of Bihar allow these two OEMs run the plant with the best management practices with no interference from the local political and bahubali extortionists? Will Nitish government or the governments to follow, ensure that with a firm and ruthless hand? Why can’t the plant be brought under special manufacturing zone with an additional legislative act? Have a large number of ITIs and other infrastructure projects such best possible roads, schools, hotels etc been planned by the state government? Positive approaches to all these question will make the dream of an industrialised Bihar realised. And with that, the loss of Dalmianagar and Tatanagar would have been more than compensated. For status from media, one can go through this news report and I request readers with possibility to get some actual snaps of upcoming plants and forward. 

Interestingly, India Railways have two manufacturing plants for diesel and electric locos. The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in Chittaranjan makes electric locomotives. The Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi makes diesel locomotives. I wonder over the many years why could not these plants with collaboration as well as internal R&D could not become competitive to global companies. Should one conclude that a PSU can never be competitive because of the lack of either talents in engineering and modern management techniques or red tape of Railway ministry or board.

Make in India and an Indian Company: How many of us know about Tejas Networks, a 17-year- old Bangalore-based network equipment maker to emerge a marquee made-in-India product company that is today building a large chunk of India’s internet broadband highways? Tejas’ business was built on solid technology at prices that could rival those of Chinese manufacturers. Over the years, Tejas has generated over 250 silicon IPs in-house.” For every hardware engineer, Tejas has two software engineers, and its suite of software-differentiated products is among the sturdiest and the most advanced in the world. Post its IPO in June, Tejas has minted at least a hundred dollar millionaires within the company. …Tejas is in fore front of BharatNet and 5G ….. Tejas has also supplied equipment to the ambitious BharatNet project to provide broadband internet to all of India’s gram panchayats, and helped connect 40,000 villages so far……. Many of the 5G standards in optical transmission have been contributed by the Tejas team, so the company is equipped to handle the transition to 5G even before it happens. Why is the government so skeptical about the capability of Indian talents? Let it straighten up its red tape and decision paralysis. Defence manufacturing is another area that could not only be self sufficientu but also export. It has not happened or not happening because of the age old system and procedure of decision making that does encourages inefficiency, status quo and prefers mediocre talent. The main objective perhaps is to keep on importing that provides a lot of riches to some few important persons at cost of the security of the nation.

India needs brand new OEMs in defence sector and here is one such missionary big business man in manufacturing sector. His name is Baba Kalyani, and recently Baba stated in an interview with Ajai Shukla of Business Standard, “The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) team of Bharat Forge has created a new benchmark in 155-millimetre artillery. For decades, no similar gun has been designed anywhere in the world. This is the first gun in 30 years designed afresh, from scratch. This will be a world-beater. Next year it will be in every Jane’s magazine. Nobody has a gun like this. With a range of 45 plus kilometres, it’s an amazing weapon.” And, further Baba Kalyani prophesied “India will become one of the largest exporters of military hardware in the next 10-15 years” With dilly dallying decision on SPP other manufacturers such as the defence units of Tata, Mahindra, L&T for fighters, helicopters, submarines, or naval ships gradually developing the reliable tier1 and tier 2 vendors must also take this route. As it seems with the bureaucracy and rigid way of working of the armed forces, there is hardly to hope anything from DPSUs that are capable lacking the bosses or decision makers who have not mastered the art of innovations in management but for whom the rules are that which has been written in procedural books decades ago. 

In the press conference October 25, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson made a statement in New Delhi, “[W]e are willing to provide India advanced technologies for its military modernization efforts. This includes ambitious offers from American industry for F-16 and F/A-18 fighter planes.” As reported, “the F/A-18E/F is a fantastic aircraft and Boeing has the go-ahead from Washington to set up a plant to build the fighter in India.” In June this year, The defence arm of the Tata Group has signed an agreement with American firm Lockheed Martin to produce and export new generation F-16 fighter aircraft. If India does not agree for F-16 , will Lockheed agree for F/A-18 manufacturing and export? Lockheed, IAF, and defence ministry must negotiate and agree for setting up a line of manufacture and export here in India too.Tata Defence Group is already a tier-1 vendor for many including Boeing and Airbus. With the red tape of bureaucracy and the IAF historical way of fanatically changing of specifications/ requirements, will this SP joint venture come up? 

Till now only one SP contract has materialised. In May 2017, L&T entered into a contract with Defence Ministry for supply of 155/52 calibre Tracked Self Propelled Gun Systems to the Indian Army.L&T will be supported by its South Korean technology partner Hanwa Tech Win (HTW). These guns will have over 50% indigenous content and will be delivered from L&T’s manufacturing facilities including a new Armoured System Complex at Hazara. The contract took six years to materialise. In the mean time, two Indian manufacturers -Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) and Bharat Forge too will have their Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) ready to supply may be better guns to the Indian Army. It will be interesting to watch this Make in India competition. I wish the government could kill red tape delays and irrational way of Indian forces at decision making level, if it wishes manufacturing to flourish and employment generated.

Akash and Pinaka are indigenously developed and manufactured in India missile systems. The Akash system is over 96 per cent indigenous and sources its components from 330 Indian industries. The Pinaka, 92 per cent local, supports 43 Indian industries.As reported, both are required urgently by Indian Army. India Air Force requires Akash- a supersonic, all-weather surface-to-air missile which can shoot down enemy aircraft, helicopters, drones and cruise missiles 30 kilometres away – to protect airfields and vital installations.But for over a year now, orders worth over Rs 19,000 crore for these indigenously designed developed and manufactured weapon systems have been caught up in South Block’s red tape. The armed forces’ intent to buy additional Akash and Pinaka systems are yet to translate into contracts.What can be the reasons for the delay when India is to show its war readiness on China front too. Why should it not be the top priority of the highest authority of the government to sort out these shameful delays based on red tape issues of the defence ministry bureaucrats and some in forces who in name of getting the best technologies misguide political bosses towards a situation where they get forced to buy it from foreign suppliers at any cost? Why should they bother against their own interests? What will they get for themselves if they buy indigenous ones however good the products are? This is the reason that tier 1 and 2 vendors could not be developed for scaling up Tejas fighters to a squadron or more a year. This is also behind the fact that Arjun Main Battle Tank Mark II are not getting inducted in Indian Army though in performance it is better than many so called imported supplies. This is the reason that the projects of the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) have not seen the light of the day. How can any private company in SPP keep on wasting its resources to fight the impregnable red tape barriers waiting for it for years after years? Disruptive changes in bureaucratic way of operation is more important than demonetisation and GST for curtail the black money.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s