Make in India 2.0: Boosting Manufacturing and Skill Development for Self-Reliance

India has a rich history of crafts and arts. Our trade history all across the world has been well documented and accepted. So, manufacturing is well within our DNA. Even though in the past few decades, we have been well overtaken by China with their advanced manufacturing expertise, India’s manufacturing excellence is not to be ignored. We are considered to be a rising alternative to China in the manufacturing circles, and several leading companies are setting up manufacturing units in the near future.

This post is an attempt to look at Make in India 2.0. 

Make in India 2.0 is a vision to fast track India’s manufacturing capacity to the next level. It is true that we do have several gaps in our manufacturing capacity, and that we could cover these gaps well too. What could really be some methods to cover our manufacturing shortcomings? How could we quickly accelerate our manufacturing bandwagon?

We are looking at a few aspects such as capitalising on our excellent engineering education network and fixing our low focus on R&D and design. Also, by focussing on infrastructure development, establishing skill development centers, and increasing government support for manufacturing practices, high technology companies will find India as an attractive destination for setting up a huge network of cutting edge factories.

Additionally by striking an optimal balance between exports and domestic consumption, there could start a story of Indian Manufacturing excellence on the global stage.

Leveraging India’s Engineering Education Infrastructure

India is almost synonymous with B.Tech/BE holders. The number of engineering degree certificates generated in India each year would exceed entire populations of certain countries by several multiples.

Our engineering graduates do have the capacity to solve a lot of problems, and are very under utilised today. In sheer manpower terms, we have a huge pool of engineers, who could easily be put to jobs in order to rewrite our manufacturing saga.

India is in dire need of collaborative efforts among the engineering universities, industry, and government to put our fresh graduates to good use. Our engineers could be trained to play great roles in process optimization, quality control, innovative tech, and several other advanced processes that are taking shape in the manufacturing space.

Moreover, an emphasis on interdisciplinary education can foster cross-domain expertise, encouraging engineers to collaborate across sectors and develop innovative solutions to complex challenges. The compartmentalised thinking of whether a job falls under Branch A of engineering or Branch B of engineering should totally disappear.

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Addressing the R&D and Design Gap

It is known that Indian R&D and Design are weak. Also, these capabilities are not going to improve in the near future. We could think about advanced homegrown R&D facilities in years to come.

For the near future, India will need to work with other nations which have good R&D facilities, and are willng to transfer their R&D expertise for a fair exchange of money, profit shares, or people. We will need help in terms of knowledge, technology transfer, or sharing of intellectual property with leading research organizations and companies.

Through such collaborations, India stands to gain access to invaluable R&D and design expertise from developed nations. We can strategically invest in paying royalties for access to research and design, to improve our industry credentials.

By obtaining licenses or permissions to make use of advanced technologies, Indian companies can effectively enhance our production processes, efficiency, and product quality. This would lead to improved competitiveness in global markets, which results in attracting foreign investors who wish to invest in Indian manufacturing space, all creating a good self sustaining cycle of high end production.

Infrastructure Overhaul and Supply Chain Improvements

Good R&D and great production faciltiies need strong infrastructure in terms of road systems, railways, ports, and other facilties.

The significance of a well-developed transportation and logistics network is big. Streamlined supply chain mechanisms and efficient distribution networks are key to reducing production lead times and operational costs for manufacturers. As a result, companies operating in India can enjoy better market demands and increased customer satisfaction.

Better infrastructure is also a major driver in attracting more investors to consider India. Foreign direct investment flows in when investors see the potential for easier operations, reduced logistical snags, and easier access to local and global markets.

The ongoing infrastructure projects also pave the way for the development of industrial clusters and special economic zones, helping to connect related industries and providing access to shared resources and support services. These clusters act as hubs of innovation and collaboration, further bolstering the overall manufacturing landscape of India. Manufacturing typically needs a network of several players, big and small, working well with each other to really get results.

Inviting High-Tech Companies and Building a Network of Factories

The Make in India initiative’s pursuit of transforming India into a global manufacturing hub requires a strong perspective to attract foreign investments and drive industrial growth. A great way to do is inviting high-tech companies from around the world to establish their manufacturing facilities in India. By encouraging major global players across diverse sectors to invest in India, we can unlock  opportunities for innovation, research, and development.

Along with advanced technologies, these high tech companies bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be used to improve India’s industries quite a lot. Their entry into the Indian market brings healthy competition, which motivates domestic companies to enhance their capacity. Also, these foreign investments inject capital and resources into the our manufacturing sector, boosting overall economic growth and job creation.

An essential component of India’s industrial transformation lies in the creation of a comprehensive network of factories, well linked to foster collaboration, share resources, and assist with technology diffusion. This network acts as a detailed ecosystem, where manufacturing units work together, strengthening each other’s strengths and collectively driving progress.

Collaboration among factories is a powerful catalyst for innovation. Adding individual units on common systems improve our collective strength many times. By sharing ideas, best practices, and research findings, each manufacturing unit benefits from a collective pool of knowledge, accelerating the pace of technological advancement. Also, such collaborative efforts facilitate joint research and development projects, enabling companies to address complex challenges and ride on emerging trends collaboratively.

Resource sharing within this network is very helpful. Good utilization of resources, be it raw materials, energy, and logistics infrastructure, actually helps to improve efficiency and reduce wastage. By leveraging economies of scale and pooling resources, factories can minimize costs and optimize their production processes, ultimately benefiting the entire network. Collectively, we win.


Skill Development Centers for Manufacturing: Bridging the Gap and Nurturing a Skilled Workforce

Investing in vocational and technical training centers becomes a strategic necessity in preparing our workforce for the industries of the future. These centers act as hubs for specialized skills and expertise demanded by modern manufacturing practices. By bridging the gap between traditional education and industry requirements, vocational training centers produce a workforce that is industry-ready and equipped to take on the challenges of the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

The role of these centers extends beyond providing initial training into continuous learning and upskilling. In an era where technology evolves rapidly, workforce needs to embrace lifelong learning. Upskilling initiatives, workshops, and access to digital learning platforms enable people to stay relevant and adaptable, ensuring that India’s industrial growth remains sustainable and inclusive.

The key to the success of these skill development initiatives lies in their alignment with industry requirements. By engaging in close collaboration with the manufacturing sector, these centers can tailor their programs to match the evolving needs of the industry, ensuring that the skills imparted are highly relevant and immediately applicable in real-world scenarios. This alignment between skill development and industry demand will pave the way for enhanced employment opportunities, as companies seek out these skilled individuals to drive their manufacturing processes. So, education and industry will need to work very closely with each other. The boundaries between two will have to blur out a lot.

Government Incentives and Support

The Indian government, both at the local and central levels, holds the key to shaping the manufacturing landscape and driving its growth. To attract foreign investments and encourage both domestic and international companies to establish their manufacturing facilities in India, the government can offer a good set of incentives.

One such incentive could be in the form of tax breaks and financial benefits for companies that invest in India’s manufacturing sector. These fiscal incentives not only encourage companies to expand their operations in the country but also act as a magnet, attracting new players to set up shop in India.

Another critical aspect of government support is reducing bureaucratic hurdles and streamlining regulatory processes. A business-friendly environment ensures that companies can set up their operations quickly and efficiently, without unnecessary delays or red tape.

Moreover, the government’s role in creating a long-term stable policy framework is of paramount importance. By implementing policies that support and nurture the growth of the manufacturing sector, India can provide companies with the confidence to make long-term investments in the country.

Balancing Exports and Domestic Consumption: A Strategic Approach to Sustainable Growth

While exports undeniably play a vital role in driving economic growth, it is equally crucial to prioritize domestic consumption within the manufacturing sector. By catering to the vast and diverse domestic market, manufacturers can ensure a stable revenue stream, providing a solid foundation for reinvestment in research, development, and innovation.

A focus on domestic consumption also acts as a buffer, making the manufacturing sector more resilient to fluctuations in global demand. By reducing reliance on external markets, India’s manufacturers can navigate economic fluctuations with greater stability, ensuring sustained growth even during challenging times.

Emphasizing the importance of domestic consumption does not diminish the significance of exports; instead, it presents a balanced and strategic approach that promotes sustainable growth within the manufacturing sector.

Photo by Yiğit KARAALİOĞLU:

Long-Term Impact: Empowering Indian R&D and Fostering a Culture of Innovation

As Make in India 2.0 gains momentum and takes root, its long-term impact will reverberate through various facets of India’s economic landscape. Collaborating with developed countries and inviting high-tech companies will not only strengthen India’s technological prowess but also foster a culture of innovation and creativity.

Access to cutting-edge research and design will fuel the growth of Indian Research and Development (R&D) capabilities. By working in tandem with global players and incorporating the latest advancements, India’s R&D sector will flourish, giving rise to indigenous innovation and homegrown intellectual property generation.

This upswing in indigenous innovation will lay the foundation for a thriving ecosystem of Indian research and entrepreneurship. As companies and individuals develop and patent their innovations, they will contribute to the growth of India’s intellectual capital, creating a self-sustaining cycle of innovation, research, and entrepreneurship.

Make in India 2.0 is not merely a policy initiative; it represents a transformative journey that envisions India as a global manufacturing hub and a technological powerhouse. The comprehensive strategy incorporates multiple facets, harnessing India’s vast engineering education infrastructure, bridging the gap in research and design capabilities, and investing in skill development centers to nurture a skilled and agile workforce.

Inviting high-tech companies to establish their manufacturing facilities within India’s borders is a pivotal step in realizing the grand vision of Make in India 2.0. By enticing major players from diverse sectors to invest in the country, India unlocks a treasure trove of cutting-edge technologies and expertise. This influx of foreign investment not only stimulates economic growth but also fosters a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing, propelling India’s manufacturing sector towards global competitiveness.

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