Can the De­vel­op­ment of Smart Cities Give the De­sired Boost to the In­dian Man­u­fac­tur­ing Sec­tor?

Suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion of the Smart Cities plan will help In­dia ad­dress its key in­fra­struc­ture chal­lenges, at­tract­ing in­vest­ments into man­u­fac­tur­ing

Voice&Data - - CONTENT - [email protected]­ber­me­ (The au­thor is Founder, HCL)

—Ajai Chowdhry , Founder, HCL

With ur­ban­iza­tion grow­ing at a rapid speed, In­dian cities need to keep pace with it in or­der to ad­dress the so­cio-eco­nomic prob­lems aris­ing out of more and more la­bor mov­ing to de­vel­oped cities in search of liveli­hood.

While re­al­iz­ing the need for this de­vel­op­ment, the gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced the ‘100 Smart Cities’ plan to de­velop th­ese cities as satel­lite towns of larger cities to not just cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties but also pro­vide in­fra­struc­ture based on mod­ern tech­nol­ogy with high-speed com­mu­ni­ca­tion to boost the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. The gov­ern­ment also made an al­lo­ca­tion of `7,060 crore to­wards the Smart City plan in the Bud­get 2014-15 but the real test lies in its im­ple­men­ta­tion to reap the ben­e­fits as en­vi­sioned.

Making In­dia a Man­u­fac­tur­ing Hub

De­vel­op­ment of in­dus­trial cor­ri­dors and smart cities will play a cru­cial role in at­tract­ing in­vest­ments into man­u­fac­tur­ing. Global in­vestors are keen to in­vest in a large mar­ket like In­dia but they re­main ap­pre­hen­sive due to sev­eral chal­lenges

that ex­ist be­sides the ease of do­ing busi­ness and poor in­fra­struc­ture. The de­vel­op­ment and suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion of the Smart Cities plan can ad­dress some of the crit­i­cal fac­tors like con­nec­tiv­ity to a good port, road and air con­nec­tiv­ity, and avail­abil­ity of skilled tal­ent to strengthen the In­dian in­fra­struc­ture. This will also help bring spot­light onto In­dia as a global man­u­fac­tur­ing hub, at­tract­ing in­vestors from all parts of the world.

A lot of coun­tries can also be of­fered en­claves in smart cities like Ja­panese en­clave, Korean en­clave, etc, where spe­cial fa­cil­i­ties like their own food, ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties along with world-class in­fra­struc­ture will make it at­trac­tive. This will be good to get green in­dus­tries like elec­tron­ics to th­ese smart cities.

The ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gram has been in­tro­duced with an aim to boost the do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor and at­tract in­vest­ments from busi­nesses around the world. For a sus­tained growth of GDP, it is im­per­a­tive that the growth in In­dia’s do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor con­tin­ues with this new mo­men­tum.

Be­sides our own needs in ed­u­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment so­cial sec­tor projects, tele­com, and strate­gic sec­tors like de­fence/ space, the coun­try presents huge op­por­tu­ni­ties to other man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in hard­ware, au­to­mo­bile, etc. Also, one of the pil­lars of the ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gram is to strengthen the In­dian in­fra­struc­ture. Un­der the Smart Cities plan, fo­cus on ser­vices like ur­ban mo­bil­ity and trans­porta­tion, good IT con­nec­tiv­ity, ed­u­ca­tion, and sus­tain­able ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment can achieve this de­sired re­sult. While the im­ple­men­ta­tion of smart cities will play a key role in this de­vel­op­ment, the de­sired growth of man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia is also linked to avail­abil­ity of skilled pro­fes­sion­als. The gov­ern­ment also needs to look at train­ing and preparing a skilled work­force in th­ese cities to cap­i­tal­ize on the op­por­tu­ni­ties that man­u­fac­tur­ing will pro­vide.

From Vi­sion to Re­al­ity

The de­vel­op­ment of th­ese smart cities is with an aim to trans­form In­dia and by tak­ing up the smart cities pro­gram, In­dia can not just ben­e­fit from best prac­tices from all over the world but also make a mark in the global land­scape.

As per the plan, 20 smart cities will be iden­ti­fied in 2015, 40 in 2016, and an­other 40 in 2017. With coun­tries such as Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan, France keen to part­ner with In­dia on the ‘100 Smart Cities’ project, there can­not be a bet­ter time for the gov­ern­ment to ef­fec­tively uti­lize th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties and build a ro­bust plan for its roll-out.

The ‘100 Smart Cities’, ‘Make in In­dia,’ and ‘Dig­i­tal In­dia’ pro­grams have put In­dia un­der the spot­light in an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive global land­scape. With the right steps taken to­wards the im­ple­men­ta­tion of th­ese pro­grams, In­dia stands to be­come an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for FDI and uniquely suited to at­tract huge in­vest­ments into man­u­fac­tur­ing. With the pro­gres­sive vi­sion of the gov­ern­ment and am­bi­tious pro­grams in­tro­duced, it re­mains to be seen how th­ese can be suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented to ac­cel­er­ate In­dia’s growth story.

—Ajai Chowdhryr Founder, HCL

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