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Unleashing the Future of Manufacturing Convert India’s Talent Pool to A Digitally Empowered Workforce – CII Panel
May 11, 2022

“India has great opportunities in manufacturing to marry the capabilities that we have with the opportunities that are coming towards us, and build a future where we have a strong backbone in manufacturing”, said Mr T V Narendran, President, CII and Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Tata Steel Ltd, while addressing the session on “The Future of Manufacturing” of the 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022, held from 11 – 12 May 2022. He stated that as a country, India is moving in the right direction to enable this growth, with measures such as 100% FDI in key sectors and focus on labour intensive manufacturing in the recent PLIs

Mr Narendran opined that the MSME segment is the backbone of the manufacturing sector with a contribution of 30% to the GDP. It is imperative to scale up the MSMEs, in a manner which has been successfully implemented by the automotive sector. Mr Narendran mentioned that for the future of manufacturing to unleash, the industry must look at business transformation by means of redefining products and processes, capturing data, adopting circularity and sustainable business practices and by leveraging the demographic dividend. India is a young country with a vibrant start-up ecosystem, which also provides an opportunity to create cleaner and greener businesses, he said. CII through the Centre of Excellences and policy advocacy measures at various levels is empowering the industry ride over the challenges, he added.

Mr Baba Kalyani, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Forge Limited, noted “To address the future of manufacturing, it is crucial to build technology enabled innovation and the country must strive to own its Intellectual Property Rights”. He outlined some other key factors for the objective including – strengthening the foundational capabilities in manufacturing by developing a electronics and semiconductor industry; building a highly skilled, digitally empowered workforce; driving competitiveness by creating an enabling environment of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) – covering the state levels as well; and aligning with Net Zero ambitions. Mr Kalyani mentioned that the Indian industry has the capability to achieve Net Zero much faster as compared to counterparts in Europe and other places.

Mr Kalyani mentioned that the dramatic recovery of the Indian industry has been enabled by Government’s initiatives like the Gati Shakti, which has ushered investments in modernising infrastructure and other conducive measures. India offers scale in its domestic markets, holds competitiveness in many products, and has favourable demographics. However, he noted that we need to convert the existing talent pool to a digitally empowered workforce.

Mr Narendran and Mr Kalyani collectively opined that to accelerate economic growth, we would need to break the silos. They commented that while this has largely been achieved at the Centre, states must also follow through. Further, there needs to be greater alignment between the Centre, states and local bodies for addressing issues related to manufacturing and increase competition among states to promote EODB and reduce the cost of doing business (CODB). Both the speakers were of the view that vocational skills are critical to create a successful manufacturing landscape. The government and industry must collectively work at increasing the attractiveness of vocational training and thereby lend support to creating a digitally empowered workforce.

Though the vision of the manufacturing sector accounting for 25% of the country’s GDP seems a little distant at present, the change in the geopolitical dynamics with COVID and Russia-Ukraine conflict have generated a renewed focus on India, said Mr Soumitra Bhattacharya, Chairman, CII National Committee on MNCs, Regional President, Bosch Group, India and Managing Director, Bosch Limited. He noted that India’s achievements in PLI and getting advanced technologies in place are exemplary, however he stated that we must now collectively devise a strategy to leapfrog and create milestones in manufacturing as well.

11 May 2022

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