Make in India week kicked off Feb. 13 with an aim to attract international businesses to invest and manufacture products in India. But the country's top industrialists want Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship campaign to see beyond cheap labour to make this initiative successful.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group — one the largest conglomerates in the country — and Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of the Mahindra Group, share common interest on the need to introduce new technology and digitisation into the manufacturing sector, which currently takes advantage of cheap labour in India, for Make in India to succeed.
"Some people interpret the Make in India drive to be 'Come and put your Foxconns here, use us (India) as a workshop, as a sweatshop of the world'," Mahindra was quoted as saying by Indian Express during the CNN Asia Business Forum 2016 conference on Sunday. "Let me borrow how our Prime Minister likes to use his 3Ds. My 3D is democratisation, digitisation and decentralisation of manufacturing through 3D printing and other technologies and India must be first in that too."
During the inauguration of the Make in India week campaign, Modi had said the campaign was aimed at luring international companies to use India as a manufacturing base and create employment opportunities for the people in the country.
Birla, while speaking to Live Mint on the sidelines of Mumbai's event on Sunday, said India needs to learn new skills to make Indian brands get global recognition.
"India has a track record of setting up world-class cement, textile factories and oil refineries. We have to take India to the next level," Birla was quoted as saying by Economic Times. "New skills such as use of algorithms and remote sensing must be used in manufacturing to remain constantly contemporary."
Make in India has been acknowledged by several international brands. Some of them have already shared plans to invest and set up manufacturing bases in the country. Huawei, Spice, Xiaomi, Celkon, Lenovo, Foxconn Technology, Mercedes-Benz and Fiat have revealed plans that support the Make in India campaign.
Foxconn has said it will invest $5 billion in a new electronics manufacturing facility in India, while Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources, revealed plans to invest $10 billion to start the country's first LCD panel manufacturing plant in Maharashtra, and Lenovo has said the company will manufacture 50 percent of its phones in India in 2016.