The Indian Engineering sector has witnessed a remarkable growth over the last few years driven by increased investments in infrastructure and industrial production. The engineering sector, being closely associated with the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, is of strategic importance to India’s economy.
India on its quest to become a global superpower has made significant strides towards the development of its engineering sector. The Government of India has appointed the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) as the apex body in charge of promotion of engineering goods, products and services from India. India exports transport equipment, capital goods, other machinery/equipment and light engineering products such as castings, forgings and fasteners to various countries of the world.
India became a permanent member of the Washington Accord (WA) in June 2014. The country is now a part of an exclusive group of 17 countries who are permanent signatories of the WA, an elite international agreement on engineering studies and mobility of engineers.
The capital goods & engineering turnover in India is expected to reach US$ 125.4 billion by FY17.
India exports its engineering goods mostly to the US and Europe, which accounts for over 60 per cent of the total exports. Recently, India's engineering exports to Japan and South Korea have also increased with shipments to these two countries rising by 16 and 60 per cent respectively. Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have also emerged as the major destinations for India's engineering exports.
Engineering exports from India increased for the sixth straight month at 12.4 per cent year-on-year to US$ 5.3 billion in January 2017, outperforming that of the overall merchandise export.
The engineering sector in India attracts immense interest from foreign players as it enjoys a comparative advantage in terms of manufacturing costs, technology and innovation. The above, coupled with favourable regulatory policies and growth in the manufacturing sector has enabled several foreign players to invest in India.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India's miscellaneous mechanical and engineering industries during April 2000 to December 2016 stood at around US$ 3,296.07 million, as per data released by the Department of Industries Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
In the recent past there have been many major investments and developments in the Indian engineering and design sector:
- Engineers India Ltd and Gazprom PJSC, the respective domestic companies of India and Russia in the engineering and oil and gas sectors, will prepare a blueprint for laying a gas pipeline between India and Russia, which is expected to help India diversify its energy mix and increase trade with Russia.
- Hexagon Capability Centre India (HCCI) in collaboration with National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal, launched first-of-its-kind NextGen 3D Lab costing Rs 7.7 crore (US$ 1.15 million) at NITK Campus. The lab aims at making budding engineers industry-ready by the time they graduate.
- Engineering and construction major L&T entered into a joint venture with European defence major Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia (MBDA) Missile Systems for development of missiles in India. L&T will own 51 per cent stake in the JV named L&T MBDA Missile Systems and the rest 49 with the European partner.
- American plane maker Boeing Corporation has launched the Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center in Bengaluru. The centre will employ hundreds of locals who will work to support Boeing, including its information technology & data analytics, engineering, research and technology, and tests.
- Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd said it has signed an agreement with the US Navy for undertaking service, maintenance and repair of Seventh Fleet of US Navy at the Reliance Shipyard at Pipavav in Gujarat.
- Rolta, an Information Technology (IT), engineering and geospatial services provider, has been awarded a seven-year, multi-million pound contract by a UK based major utility company UK Power Networks, to manage and update the firm's spatially-enabled network asset information.
- India's Texmaco Rail & Engineering has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia's ROSOBORONEXPORT (ROE) for modernisation of Armoured Vehicles operated by the Indian Army.
- Volvo Penta, a marine and industrial power system manufacturer, plans to produce five and eight litre industrial engines at the VE Powertrain (VEPT) plant in Pithampura near Indore from 2017.
- Toshiba Transmission and Distribution Systems (India) Pvt Ltd has bagged Rs 226 crore (US$ 33.9 million) contract from Kenya Power and Lighting Company for around 8,000 distribution transformers.
- L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE), a subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro, has bagged an onshore EPC contract of over Rs 650 crore (US$ 97.5 million) from Gujarat State Fertilisers and Chemicals (GSFC) for setting up 40,000 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) Melamine Plant at Fertiliser Nagar, Vadodara.
- Toshiba Group's water services company UEM India bagged Rs 220 crore (US$ 33 million) design, builds and operate (DBO) contract for a wastewater treatment and recycling plant in Oman.
- Essar Projects, the engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) arm of Essar Group, in a joint venture with Italy’s Saipem has won a US$ 1.57 billion contract from Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) for setting up part of the Al-Zour Refinery Project in Kuwait.
- India’s engineering and construction major, Punj Lloyd, won an order worth Rs 477 crore (US$ 71.55 million) for Ennore LNG tankage project from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.
- Honeywell Turbo Technologies partnered with Tata to develop their first ever petrol turbocharged engine. The new Tata Revotron 1.2T engine launched in the 2014 Tata Zest delivers improved power and torque and a multi-drive mode, according to a Honeywell statement. Honeywell's engineering teams in Pune and Bangalore leveraged local capabilities and global expertise in petrol turbo technologies to address the specific needs of a local customer.
- The engineering and R&D division of HCL Technologies will likely cross the US$ 1 billion mark in the next financial year as the company sees larger deals in a market that's widely expected to be the next big source of growth for the Indian IT sector.
- Engineers India Ltd (EIL) inked a US$ 139 million consultancy deal for a 20 million tonnes (MT) refinery and polypropylene plant being built in Nigeria by Dangote Group.
- Tractebel Engineering (India) acquired Cethar Consulting Engineers Ltd. (CCE), the renowned and respected engineering consultancy company. This acquisition makes Tractebel Engineering a key player in thermal tower sector in India and strongly enhances the portfolio of offerings, which include gas pipelines, Liquefied Natural Gas, hydro power sector.
- Bharat Forge acquired Mecanique Generate Langroise (MGL), French oil and gas machining company, via its German arm CDP Bharat Forge GmbH. Bharat Forge will benefit from MGL’s expertise in precision machining and other high value processes like cladding which have critical application in the oil and gas industry.
- Leading aircraft maker Airbus announced it has begun sourcing components for almost all its jets from India and it aims to take its cumulative sourcing from India to US$ 2 billion by 2020.
- Larsen & Toubro bagged construction orders worth Rs 1,099 crore (US$ 164.85 million) which included jobs from power transmission and distribution sector worth Rs 517 crore (US$ 77.55 million) and a rural electrification project under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian engineering sector is of strategic importance to the economy owing to its intense integration with other industry segments. The sector has been de-licensed and enjoys 100 per cent FDI. With the aim to boost the manufacturing sector, the government has relaxed the excise duties on factory gate tax, capital goods, consumer durables and vehicles.
- The Government of India is planning to merge 6 engineering consulting Public Sector Units (PSUs) to create a mega consultancy firm that can take up projects across sectors and compete with the likes of Bechtel of the US and domestic majors like Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
- Steps have also been taken to encourage companies to perform and grow better. For instance, EIL was recently conferred the Navaratna status after it fulfilled the criteria set by the Department of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India. The conferred status would give the state-owned firm more financial and operational autonomy.
- Government of India has also taken initiatives to provide a level playing field to domestic and foreign private players bidding for the government contracts in defence sector. The government has withdrawn excise and customs duty exemptions granted to goods manufactured and supplied to the defence ministry by state-owned defence firms. These steps will also encourage participation of foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, etc., in the sector.
- The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US$ 201.50 million IDA credit agreement for the Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP III), aimed at improving the efficiency, quality and equity of engineering education across several focus states.
- Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi announced a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, to advance the "Smart Cities Initiative." The Smart Cities Initiative is a historic effort to promote economic growth, improve governance, and deliver more effective and efficient public services to India's urban residents.
The engineering sector is a growing market. Spending on engineering services is projected to increase to US$ 1.1 trillion by 2020.
Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.015 as on February 9, 2017
References: Media reports, Press releases, EEPC India, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)