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Engineering new growth avenues at Hannover

Ravi Capoor, Former CEO, IBEF

Apr 21, 2015 12:43

India's participation as Partner Country at Hannover Messe 2015 has been a grand success, with the country effectively showcasing its competitive strengths in the engineering sector as well as its evolving stature as a destination of choice for business and investment.

While speaking to an august delegation of more than 300 global leaders in business, technology, industrial scientists and policy makers at the opening ceremony, Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi reiterated that Make in India is not merely a brand or a slogan, but a new national movement that encompasses the entire spectrum of government, society and business in India. He also underscored the government's firm commitment to accelerating economic growth, creating employment, building world class industry and infrastructure, transforming cities and villages, cleaning the environment and improving quality of life.

The Brand India showcase at Hannover effectively portrayed how the country is well poised to take centre-stage as one of the world's most powerful economies in the 21st century. The India pavilion at Hall No. 6 of Hannover Messe illustrated how major national projects such as industrial corridors and smart cities are expected to unleash new dynamism in the economy. Key government initiatives like Skill India and Digital India were also focus themes at the event, as were the country's most potent sectors like biotechnology, renewable energy, space, IT and BPM.

Some critical initiatives were announced to boost the country's engineering sector. Some of India's leading public sector firms like BHEL, Instrumentation Ltd and HMT signed six MoUs with leading firms from Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Bulgaria to strengthen Indian manufacturing in high end sectors like precision instrumentation and engineering solutions. The electronics and electricals segments have been highlighted as key areas for Indo-German partnership. India's homegrown domestic electrical equipment industry is currently pegged at US$ 25 billion, contributing 1.4 per cent to India's GDP in 2011-12. Through the Make in India initiative, the government plans to increase output of the electrical equipment industry to around US$ 100 billion by 2022 by balancing exports and imports. A US$ 250 million R&D project has been announced for development of Advanced Super Critical Technology for power generation to boost the electronics and electricals segments, and a scheme has also been introduced to promote electrical and hybrid vehicles in India.

In order to boost the skilling ecosystem in India, the government signed a letter of intent on April 16 to establish five experimental centres in the country to gain critical insights into the German model of dual system of training. EEPC India signed an MoU with the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) to leverage business opportunities in both countries with specific focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Under the MoU, the two agencies will exchange important information on trends and opportunities in trade, investment and technology transfer and also help visiting business delegations from either country.

A major section was dedicated to Indo-German partnerships and how the two countries can take their engagement further in mutual interest. Germany is India's sixth largest trading partner, and Indo-German bilateral trade stood at US$ 20 billion during 2013-14. Cumulative FDI inflows from Germany into India stood at US$ 350.96 billion during April 2000 to November 2014. FDI was led by the automobile industry with 20 per cent share and miscellaneous mechanical and engineering industries with 18 per cent share. Investments have increased significantly from US$ 4.03 billion in 2000-01 to US$ 27.4 billion in 2014-15 (up to November 2014). Sectors that hold great promise for Indo-German collaboration going forward include engineering, environmental technologies, infrastructure, electronics, renewable energy, water and food processing.

Hannover Messe 2015 has indeed played an important role in showcasing the strengths of Indian engineering as well as the robust growth path the country is expected to tread, driven by the government's visionary initiatives and the inherent economic drivers of the Indian economy. More critically, it has helped strengthen India's business engagement with Germany, which is expected to benefit both economies immensely going forward.