India first, tie-ups, long-term strategy will boost mfg sector: Mahindra MD

At a time when the government and industries are trying to grab opportunities that are moving out of China, Pawan Goenka, managing director (MD), Mahindra & Mahindra, said India should have “plug and play infrastructure” for largescale manufacturing like Vietnam.
“To realise the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat and become a key part of the global chain, we must put India first, opt for partnerships and have a longer horizon, which will help the manufacturing sector to grow,” he said.
Speaking at the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI’s) chamber day celebrations recently, Goenka said global supply chain realignment due to geopolitical events and Covid-19 was throwing up opportunities for India. “A holistic plan with a stronger focus on three areas — put India first, partnerships and a longer horizon — will help grow the manufacturing sector,” said Goenka, adding that Atmanirbhar Bharat is not about making everything in India.
Goods are imported mainly due to lower costs, capacity constraints and technology gaps. In many sectors, by improving the capabilities and industry-government partnerships, the share of imports could be reduced significantly over a period, said Goenka.
He called for a partnership approach between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers as well as between OEMs and governments.
Goenka, who heads the steering committee for advancing local value-addition, said India has tremendous cost disadvantages because of power cost, logistics cost and cost of regulatory compliances.
He said India was lagging in capabilities in high tech manufacturing and its share in global high tech trade is under 1 per cent. In contrast, Germany’s share is 8 per cent, South Korea’s 8 per cent, and China’s 26 per cent.  
“India does not have a strong manufacturing brand — most affluent Indians use foreign brands,” he said, adding that there are very few areas where India owns intellectual property rights. “There is very little tech innovation happening in India.” He said India had huge potential when it came to electric vehicles, specifically for shared mobility. “Now is the time to invest in technologies pertaining to electric vehicles.”