‘Make in India’ is already a success story for some companies; this should inspire others
As Hero MotoCorp rolled an Xtreme 160R off its manufacturing line at Gurugram on Thursday, it might have been just another motorcycle rolling off the line. But this one was being ridden off the line by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. That was because this was two-wheeler number 100 million to roll off one of Hero’s various lines across India and abroad. The company, which has been the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer for a few years now, and also in India where it has a market share of about 46 per cent, reached this milestone after four decades of operating, and has seen its sales shoot up after breaking up with its erstwhile partner, Japan’s Honda Motor Company. And Pawan Munjal, the chairman of the company, believes that Hero will sell its second 100 million within the next decade as it expands globally from Central and South America and even Africa. And while the spotlight might be on Hero, others — such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors — have also been huge ‘Make In India’ superstars with Bajaj, in particular, one of the strongest performers in the export market, its name ubiquitous in many parts of the world for their three-wheelers and the Pulsar motorcycle, has been so successful that Bajaj’s Chinese rivals have taken to copying it. India’s success story in the two-wheeler segment proves that Indian companies can be champions in manufacturing as well, and the narrative that India lost out to China in manufacturing does not hold true. Much like Bajaj, another Pune-based company, the Serum Institute of India (SII), is playing a major role in manufacturing the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine for the world. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed its work and importance by saying that India’s fight against the Coronavirus pandemic strengthened the country’s health infrastructure through the ‘Make in India’ mission. Lauding companies like the SII, Bharat Biotech and others, he said that India took quick, proactive decisions and did not wait for the problem to aggravate.
Similarly, the Cabinet Committee on Security last week approved a Rs 48,000-crore agreement for the acquisition of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force — the largest indigenous procurement deal to date. The Defence establishment also unveiled a slew of new, indigenously-developed equipment at an Army innovation event that included Shakti, a cutting-edge bulletproof jacket, a 9mm machine pistol and a surveillance ‘microcopter’, among other technologies. India cannot only be self-sufficient, India can and must manufacture for the world. While our services sector has proved that India can be the back office for the globe and we can make software for the entire world, manufacturing in India can employ millions and turbo-charge job creation which should be the priority of the Government right now. As companies seek to diversify their manufacturing chains away from China after the pandemic, successes like Hero, Bajaj and TVS prove that India can do it and that it can be a destination for high-quality manufacturing. Yes, there remain some pitfalls in terms of compliances, legal and regulatory issues, and as the recent incident in Bengaluru shows when an irate Communist mob attacked the facilities of Taiwanese company Winstrom that was making iPhones, there are still some major problems. And those have to be resolved if both the Government’s ambitious schemes — ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’s and ‘Make In India’ — are to go to the next level.