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India to announce new industrial policy in October

The Indian government is likely to announce a new industrial policy in October, the ministry of commerce and industry said, and sought feedback from the public.

Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Seetharaman will hold a final round of consultations with stakeholders soon, it added. “Sitharaman will hold consultations with stakeholders, including industry captains, think tanks and State governments in Chennai, Guwahati and Mumbai,” it said.

The ministry said it has put up a ‘discussion paper’ on the new policy on the website of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

The ministry said said it welcomed “comments, feedback, suggestions from the public regarding framing of the new Policy.”

“All comments, suggestions, feedback on the new Industrial Policy may be sent to DIPP at kokila.jayram@nic.in or jsvk-dipp@nic.in,” it said. The feedback has to be sent before Sep 25.

The last time India had done a total overhaul of its industrial policy was in 1991, when the Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao government removed tight restrictions around industrial activity in the country and demolished the license and quota system that had been in place for decades.

The move is partly credited with raising India’s economic growth levels to 7% from 3.5% before that.

Though a similar overhaul has not been attempted since the 1991 exercise, the UPA government had come up with a new manufacturing policy under the then commerce minister Anand Sharma.

However, many new trends — especially with regard to the emergence of robots and automation — were not taken into account at the time.

“With strong macro-economic fundamentals and several path breaking reforms in the last three years, India is equipped to deploy a different set of ideas and strategies to build a globally competitive Indian industry,” said the ministry, explaining the rationale behind the exercise to revamp the policy.

“The new Industrial Policy will aim at making India a manufacturing hub by promoting ‘Make in India’. It will also suitably incorporate the use of modern smart technologies such as IOT, artificial intelligence and robotics for advanced manufacturing,” the government said.

The new Industrial Policy will subsume the National Manufacturing Policy, it said.

After the initial success, India has not had much luck trying to spur manufacturing in India. Instead, most of the manufactured items consumed by Indians are imported from China, an increasingly belligerent neighbour.

While Anand Sharma tried to attract international manufacturing companies with specific policies and initiatives such as the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Special Economic Zones, implementation has not kept pace with plans.

Many Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese companies are setting up manufacturing operations in India, partly to reduce their exposure to China.

The consultation has been divided into six themes: Manufacturing and MSME; Technology and Innovation; Ease of Doing Business; Infrastructure, Investment, Trade and Fiscal policy; and Skills and employability for the future.

A Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation has also been constituted which will provide inputs for the policy.

India has had some success in manufacturing, especially in tie-up with South Korean companies. Korean companies, such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG have had manufacturing and assembling operations in the country for decades. Japanese companies like Suzuki, Hitachi and Sony too have manufacturing operations in India.

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