Make in India is a program initiated by India’s dynamic new Prime Minister Narendra Modi that aims to increase the level of investment and innovation in the manufacturing sector and to enhance skills and build a best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. On my current visit to India, I gained some insights into the success of this program and learned about a new Start-up India initiative.
Flag raising ceremony on Independence Day in India
On my first visit to India and I went to 4 cities (Mumbai, Indore, Kolkata and Delhi) and participated in a series of events that introduced Solid Edge ST8 to the local engineering communities. Growing up in Birmingham in the UK I've had many school friends from Indian families, and two of my managers in my engineering career have been Indian also. I have had many glimpses of Indian culture, but this has been a great opportunity to see the ”real” India.
Fortunately I was in India for their Independence Day, and the bell boy at my hotel proudly invited me to their flag raising ceremony on the morning of 15th August. All the hotel employees and some local schoolchildren participated in the event. After a short speech from the hotel manager, the flag that had been filled with orange, white and green petals was raised and unfurled. I was given a small Indian flag badge to wear during the ceremony and inadvertently pinned it on upside down! Fortunately, a kindly Indian gentleman discretely pointed out my mistake before I risked causing an international incident.
All our Solid Edge events were well attended by an enthusiastic, and it must be said, patient group of engineers. The start time of the events seemed to slip easily from the advertised 6pm start to 7pm or later as the attendees had long travel times across busy cities. The events often went on to 11pm – but everyone seemed quite OK with this. It was great to talk with so many engineers who were pleased to show me the products they design and manufacture and invited me to visit their sites.
In his previous role as Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, Modi helped to develop the state’s economy by inviting foreign companies like Siemens to invest in manufacturing plants. He also helped develop the infrastructure of the state to support a fast-growing manufacturing base. That philosophy is now being applied to the whole country through the Make in India initiative, and Siemens is an active participant in this program. You can read more in Dora Smith’s blog about how Siemens is opening six centres of excellence to help increase the technical skill levels of the local workforce.
India has a huge pool of young, well-educated people that can benefit from the "Make in India" program
India has several advantages for manufacturing companies; for example, average pay rates can be significantly lower than those in European or North American countries. There is a also a huge and well educated pool of young people (50% of India’s 1.2 billion people are under 36) eager to develop their skills and work hard. In my limited experience, some of the infrastructure needs significant investment. There are many deeply rutted roads in the manufacturing areas, and the power went out twice during a visit I had to one manufacturer. Just as well that they had an impressive generator on standby that looked like it could power a small town! But I also have the impression that the dynamism, love of technology and focus on education means that they are one of the countries who can afford, and will get big returns, for this investment.
Amruta Engineers - one of many smaller manufacturing companies using Solid Edge to speed product development in India
Modi announced a new initiative on this 2015 Independence Day - Start-up India which will focus on making financing easier to obtain for young entrepreneurs. I saw good evidence that in the manufacturing sector start-ups are already thriving. Several of the engineers I spoke with are in small companies formed in the last ten years, and their companies are growing fast. One example is Amruta Engineers who are using Solid Edge to design construction equipment and expanding to meet the demands of India’s many infrastructure development projects. Solid Edge is a popular choice to speed product development for manufacturing start-ups with its affordability, comprehensive capabilities and excellent ease-of-use. In several countries we are adding monthly subscriptions for Solid Edge to the existing perpetual licenses. These are proving to be of great interest to start-up manufacturers as they offer considerable flexibility and the ability to avoid the relatively high initial cost of perpetual licenses.
I can see that the Make in India and Start-up India programs will help focus resources and attention on these key areas for economic development in India. But for me the enthusiasm, technical expertise and drive of India’s young engineers is proving to be just as important for the growth of the manufacturing sector.