For a large nation like India, the role of the manufacturing industry is very important and critical for economic growth, employment generation & development. A smaller country can have great economic stability depending only on the service or tourism sector but not a large country with a huge population and size like that of India.
Keeping this in mind and the need for economic stability, absorption of technology & providing employment opportunities for the masses, the government had immediately put a lot of emphasis & focus on the manufacturing sector after independence, by setting huge facilities & plants across the country in the public sector and supporting many in the private sector. These companies did fulfil their roles to a large extent in the initial years. They have been successful in the absorption of technology and providing the necessary impetus for the growth of the nation. However, after the markets were opened up in 1991, the fate of many in the manufacturing companies, particularly in the public sector, dwindled down as the country started looking for cheaper & easier imports and that too of a technologically more advanced version, putting Indian manufacturing companies in a huge disadvantageous position.
Another reason for the downfall of the Indian manufacturing companies was the reluctance to upgrade themselves with the latest technologies & methods and be contended to be more of an assembly unit of imported subassemblies. This resulted in the country becoming dependent on imports of many hi-tech manufacturing solutions.
Notwithstanding the above, there are exceptions, and many manufacturing industries have played a major role in the nation-building exercise in all core sectors of the industry – particularly in the nuclear & aerospace area, where dependency on imports today is almost nil. With the emphasis on Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the ban on imports of various items in the defence & other sectors, the need for self-dependency in the manufacturing sector has shot up substantially. The year 2021 is envisaged to be the beginning of a great period for the industry and to be able to meet the challenges as we try to achieve the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan goals. It will be very essential for manufacturing companies to ramp up their engineering and Quality Assurance skills to meet this challenge of churning out products of global standards.
Another essential for manufacturing industries will be the need to implement the Smart Factory concept – Industry 4.0. It has to be compulsorily extended to the MSMEs so that the parts & components from these sub-vendors are also of the highest level of quality & workmanship. This will be the driving force for the manufacturing sector to be globally acceptable & competitive in the days ahead. India has the potential to be the global leader in the field of manufacturing, and as part of the nation-building exercise, the exports of manufactured goods will play a crucial & significant role. Indian companies in the manufacturing sector should not miss this golden chance and should encash the excellent impetus provided by the government for this & thereby play that significant role in nation-building.