The department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) on Wednesday convened a meeting of senior industry executives to expedite its fresh push for manufacturing in “champion sectors”, including pharma, textiles, auto components, aerospace and defence, under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme.
The bid to shore up domestic manufacturing by successive government hasn’t yielded much success despite economic liberalisation and the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP has remained stagnant at about 15-17% for at least three decades now.
In the virtual meeting, DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra sought industry’s feedback to firm up a new strategy for manufacturing. Senior executives and members of industry bodies like CII and Ficci attended the meeting.
The focus was to not just to find ways to bolster manufacturing but also encourage domestic companies to invest despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, said a source. A contraction in manufacturing exacerbated in July, having recovered in each month until June following a record fall in April. The manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index touched 46 in July, compared with 47.2 in June, 30.8 in May and 27.4 in April, while a sub-50 print suggests contraction.
The Modi government had in 2014 sought to prepare action plans for 25 sectors under its Make in India initiaive, the scope of which was later widened to cover a total of 27 “champion sectors”—15 in manufacturing and 12 in services.
Recently, at an Assocham webinar, Mahapatra laid much emphasis on having “a lot of policy predictability in India so that policies are not changed from budget to budget or from event to event”.
Already, the DPIIT is working on a “genuine” single window clearance system for investors, finalising a land bank with the help of states and drastically pruning the need for a maze of licences for investors to set up units. Already, a status check ordered by a committee of secretaries (CoS) revealed that the 35 central ministries/departments among them are presiding over a regime of as many as 767 pre-establishment/pre-operation licences! Add to these the multitude of inspections and approval renewals an investor is required to go through after the commencement of operations and, one could call the country’s regulatory system anything but investor-friendly.
The department is also bolstering “an Investment Clearance Cell” that will put in place a one-stop digital platform for investors to obtain all requisite central and state clearances/approvals in a time-bound and hassle-free manner. DPIIT has already undertaken stakeholder consultations with investors, including Foxconn, Samsung, Wistron and Yazaki, and their concerns have been shared with the ministries concerned.
The 27 champion sectors also include bio-technology, capital goods, chemicals and petro-chemicals, electronics, leather & footwear, food processing, gems and jewellery, railways, tourism, medical value travel, transport and logistics, accounting and financial services, education and legal services.