'Manufacturing sector must get top priority'

N. Ramakrishnan
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Mr N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus of Infosys
Mr N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus of Infosys

Most of the ventures being started are in the e-commerce space or have something to do with the Internet. Very few engineers choose to start manufacturing ventures. Is this a problem that you see in the country?

This is a very big problem. This country has to focus on manufacturing, in particular low-tech manufacturing because that is how we can create a large number of jobs for semi-literate and illiterate people. China has done it with extraordinary success. China has pulled about 150-200 million people into the manufacturing sector. And, created reasonable disposable income jobs for them. Even for India, if it wants to solve the problem of poverty, the best way to do it would be to focus on manufacturing, particularly low-tech manufacturing.

When we talk to small-scale companies in the manufacturing sector, they say that financing is just not available easily for them, especially from banks for start-up companies…

I personally think that we have no such assumption. If we find an interesting entrepreneurial idea in manufacturing we would certainly look at it. But the reality is this. In our country thanks to our policies in the 1970s we have made manufacturing very difficult. We have made manufacturing a very unattractive proposition.

We have to make sure that manufacturing receives top priority because as I said before that is our best hope of creating large-scale employment. We will have to create infrastructure — power, ports, airports, roads, faster clearance systems, banks, faster clearance through banks and customs — so that the supply chain for our manufacturing can operate with efficiency.

(This article was published on January 22, 2012)
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