Vocal for Local : Building Brand Bharat

Local is the new global

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on June 25, 2020 Published on June 25, 2020

The changing geopolitical situation can provide impetus to Indian firms as they strive to reduce their dependence on foreign products

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for India to become ‘Vocal for Local’ can turn out to be a great opportunity for Indian electronics and telecom equipment makers to establish themselves in the global market.

The changing geopolitical situation, with China losing favour as the hub of manufacturing, can provide impetus to Indian companies to grab the opportunity.

“Indian brands have shown immense strength and resilience over the years and are quite competitive when compared to their MNC counterparts. Good Indian companies are investing in the MNCs’ stronghold like R&D, marketing, manufacturing, to name a few. and have bridged the gap immensely,” said a Havells spokesperson.

Over the last few years, many Indian brands have been actively investing in R&D and advanced manufacturing to establish a stronghold in the Indian market and export to global markets, Ankit Agarwal, CEO — Connectivity Solutions, STL, pointed out.

“The government’s vision of making ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is to reduce dependency on foreign products and focus on making local the new global, thereby, carving opportunities amid the crisis. However, the initiative doesn’t mean that India will cut itself off from the global development. It is promoting local manufacturing, local markets, local supply chain as the way ahead lies in local,” Agarwal said.

Focus on quality

Godrej Appliances has been working in line with ‘Make in India’ and upping its indigenous manufacturing capabilities for the past three years, said Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice-President, Godrej Appliances, who is also president of industry body CEAMA, adding that it is now ready to manufacture each of its categories in India. It will be prioritising further automation and digitisation, apart from introducing emerging technologies in its manufacturing, he added.

“But consumers today are discerning — they won’t buy Indian products and services just because the Government has mandated it,” Nandi added. Accordingly, Godrej Appliances is making efforts to focus on the quality of its products, rather than just the fact that they are being made in India, he said.

These companies also talked about the support they expect from the government for the same. The Government should promote design-led manufacturing of telecom products, having Indian IPR, said Sanjay Nayak, Managing Director & CEO, Tejas Networks Ltd. Private telcos in India should also be incentivised to buy domestic products compared to imports, he added.

 

Dedicated line of credit

“The recent geo-political situation has created a great export opportunity for Indian telecom projects, since customers want to diversify their sourcing from specific countries and are also concerned about security of their telecom infrastructure. While India has global brand recognition for ICT (information and communication) services, we need to proactively invest and build a brand for Indian ICT products,” said Nayak. The government should set up a dedicated line of credit of at least $1 billion for promoting telecom project exports, and set aside funds for providing subsidies for brand-building of Indian ICT products in global forums, he added.

Agarwal said the government can also accelerate investments of at least one per cent of GDP, in line with global benchmarks, towards strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure.

“The government should offer capital subsidy and production-linked incentives to local manufacturers in addition to offering protection via duties. To encourage local manufacturing further, the government should also promote and give incentives to buyers to purchase locally manufactured goods. This will take care of both the demand and supply side alike,” said Nandi.

(With inputs from Rajesh Kurup)

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Published on June 25, 2020
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