From ‘Jaan hai To Jahaan hai’ to ‘AtamNirbhar Bharat’, What is there for Manufacturing Sector? 

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Almost 8 days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made some major announcements in his exclusive style at 8 pm on national television. In his national address, A comprehensive package of Rs 20 Lakh Crore was announced while introducing Aatmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan or Self -Reliant India. Well, this economic package is considered a lethal weapon to combat COVID-19’s attack on the economy.  

Well, the PM concluded his speech saying that the detailing on this package will be delivered from Finance Minister over the next few days. From the very next day, Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman started a marathon season of Press conferences in which she explained and presented the breakup of this mega economic package. 

In the first of her five press conferences, she made some significant announcements for MSMEs. 

Action Around New MSME Definition

The new MSME definition was also part of her initial announcements. Well, the new MSME definition which was tabled on 13th of May from FM Ms. Sitharaman has raised a few critical issues related to the classification of medium-sized businesses. Well, due to this, MSME Minister Mr. Nitin J Gadkari came out within six days of the introduction of this new MSME definition and mentioned that this new MSME definition is going to get amended very soon. 

Well, it is Mr. Gadkari’s mandate to look after the MSME sector and it is the MSME Minister who has the authority to understand the MSME sector better than any other policymaker. 

I am sure, that Mr Gadkari’s statement on 19th of May about the reworking on this new MSME definition came as a result of his multiple and continues interactions with MSMEs of various industry verticals and across India. 

PM’s Vision & MSMEs’ Roadmap 

Well, in the last 8 days the Indian economy has got a proper framework and planning to fight back the COVID pandemic.  

Moreover, financial experts and credit rating companies have also started unleashing their understanding of this mega relief package. Some even raised very critical observations on this announcement.

Well going back to PM Modi’s speech highlights, he spoke about five pillars of AatmNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, 

  1. An economy that doesn’t talk of incremental change but a quantum jump. 
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Technology Driven Systems
  4. Demography – Our Cultural Legacy as our strength and source of our energy.
  5. Demand. This is critical as Our Hon’ble PM urged fellow Indian to drive the demand for local products.

However, in the series of press conferences by our Finance Minister highlighted preference of procuring from local manufacturers. 

Well, this is a critical aspect as it clearly defines the promotion of local manufacturing. In addition to this, earlier this month, New secretary for MSME Ministry has resumes charge. Immediately after joining the position of secretary MSME, Mr. AK Sharma indicated that he will be keen to contribute in making Indian companies a global brand.


Role of Manufacturing in Re-Building Indian Economy

Well, since we all have acknowledged the role and potential of MSMEs in re-building the economy, we must be referring to the local small-sized manufacturing entrepreneur who is struggling to survive. 

The way, our economy is bent and the only source to re-establish our growth path is non-other than the manufacturing segment. 

Although in my observation the entire Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhigyan is leading to a boost for manufacturing ecosystem there still is a need for a direct push. 

Yes, be it migrant labours issue, or MSME credit or Market demand, manufacturing as a whole needs a strong intervention and strong structural reform to build back the economy. 

The ground reality is: trading is becoming a new preferred approach for entrepreneurs. We have witnessed huge inclination towards PPE kits manufacturing, Mask or sanitizers production. All these are fine and much required but all these products are either getting produced for large institutional buying or they are highly time-bound activities.  

From the fact that the manufacturing segment in need of a push because of the scale of the market demand. 

Some segments which need utmost support from the government’s policy interventions are garment & textile manufacturing, cycle Manufacturing, machine tools, home furnishings, stationery, furniture and household appliances, kitchen equipment, electronics, electrical appliances, clothing accessories, food processing etc.

However, other major manufacturing segments such as automotive and turn key-based engineering services are already under policy discussions. They also need a well-defined strategy to drive their business. 

Some common and much-needed demands for these segments is about financial support, tax holidays, compliance relaxations, access to markets and much more.

Even while promoting local products as a nation India has always believed in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which can be translated into -the world is one family. PM himself mentioned this by adding, “Our definition of self-reliance is about including everyone, who believe the earth as mother. When such a country becomes self-reliant, then the prosperity and happiness of the world is included in it.” PM Modi, however, also clarified that the definition of self-reliance has changed post-COVID-19, self-reliance does not mean “isolation” or “protectionism”. So let us welcome all, welcome new ideas and new energies to rebuilding the economy.

With COVID-19 becoming a harmful pandemic, let us counter it with a strong robust entrepreneurial willpower.


Faiz Askari

Faiz is a mediapreneur specialised in Small Business and Technology domain.

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