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PM urges ministers to ramp up manufacturing

A panel led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday decided to ramp up the manufacturing sector, especially production of steel, textiles, civilian aircraft and electric and hybrid transport.

Addressing a meeting of the High-Level Committee on Manufacuring, the prime minister called for removing the bottlenecks hindering the growth of the sector in the country.

The meeting was attended by all the ministers and officials of departments relating to the manufacturing sector including the Ministers of Science & Technology, Heavy Industry, Civil Aviation, Steel, Textiles & MSME and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. The discussion centred around the proposals made by the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council which were presented by the Chairman, Dr. V. Krishnamurty. 

"Often, our production is at the lower end of the value chain. Our exports consist of raw materials and primary goods and our imports consist overwhelmingly of manufacturing," the prime minister said.

"We need to remedy this situation by removing the bottlenecks that hinder our progress in manufacturing and taking full advantage of our strengths."

To boost manufacturing of steel and textiles, the prime minister asked the concerned ministries to come up with "action plans".

"On electric and hybrid transport, civilian aircraft production and advanced materials, I agree that we should start working for the future, even if it takes time and even though there are uncertainties on the horizon," he said.

The prime minister pointed out that India has done well in some sectors like automobiles, auto-components, pharmaceuticals, metals and cement in the last two decades.

"However, we have not been able to leverage our strengths both in traditional industries and in emerging sectors to the extent we could have. We hardly have any manufacturing capabilities in electronics and telecommunications," he said.

Singh said boosting of manufacturing output was essential to achieve 8-9 percent growth rates.

"If we have to grow at 8-9 percent in the future, this has to come through sustained growth in manufacturing, particularly labour-intensive manufacturing."

India's economic growth rate slumped to 5 percent in the financial year ended March 31, 2013, the slowest in a decade.

"Manufacturing and manufacturing alone can absorb all those who need better livelihood opportunities," Singh added.