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The road to 'Make in India' 
(Fri, 26 Sep Pre-Open) 
 
The share of manufacturing in India's economic output - at around 15% - has stagnated for decades on end. And the country has always been quick to make it to ignominious lists of the 'worst places in the world to do business in'.

So when PM Narendra Modi launched 'Make in India' yesterday, an initiative that seeks to make India a manufacturing superpower, it begs the question - are we getting ahead of ourselves? Has the PM set out to do something sooner than it ought to be done, without the necessary preparations needed to achieve this feat?

A recent report in the business daily Mint gives an indication of what making such preparations would entail. It points out that in terms of direct manufacturing costs amongst the top 25 exporting nations in the world, India is estimated to be the second lowest cost manufacturing destination globally. In fact, even lower than China!

Despite such a good showing within the factory gates, once goods step out, all our competitiveness vanishes into thin air. India's disconsolate showing when it comes to the overall cost of doing business in the country completely ruins the show.

Some of the biggest reasons for this may be that these goods step out from the factory gates into a country rife with complex and disproportionately time consuming procedures all along the value chain, along with an extremely poor logistics infrastructure to move these goods around.

However, as they say, problems and opportunities are often two sides of the same coin. Surely, this is the case here.

For India has in the last decade made big strides in manufacturing and merchandise exports, even in the presence of these debilitating issues. Effectively, the manufacturing sector has been running with both hands tied behind its back all this while, and has still done quite okay.

If this is so, then imagine what a very focused solving of the above two problems can do for furthering our 'Make in India' agenda.

Indeed, coming up with glorious and slick slogans of 'Make in India' is the easy bit. The hard part comes next. And we have our work cut out for us.

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