An Optimistic Promise of India

This year and this decade started with the thunderous start of ELECRAMA, the biggest conglomeration of electrical industry in Asia and with it completed 30 years of starting this event. ELECRAMA, the flagship event of IEEMA in the last edition recorded more than 298,0000 footfalls and over 1,200 exhibitors showcased their products and services at the biggest showcase of electrical and electronics manufacturers. Business queries or more than 1 billion USD were estimated and visitors from 120-plus countries experienced transformational developments taking place in India and globally.

With India aiming for 5 Trillion USD economy by 2024, Electrical industry is going to play a significant role in achieving that goal. Although there is a lot of scepticism about achieving this goal, let’s not forget that USA added. Approximately 80% of TWO Indian GDP’s and China added ONE Indian GDP in last 5 years despite being matured economies with higher bases.

India being a developing country with medium HDI still has huge room for growth with an aspirational young population. India’s electrical industry can be a potential front runner in making 5 Trillion target come true. In last 5 years India achieved 100% electrification which is a considerable achievement considering our geographical, environmental and political diversity. Now the target of making power availability 24X7 by 2022 seems the right next step, though few challenges exist in terms of loss making utilities come out of red. A new program UDAY 2.0 is in works to make this happen. However all the government goal cannot be achieved without private partnership which could make our growth sustainable ELECRAMA reflected the aspiration and targets of New India. There have been few consolidation happening in the industry driving for Scale and ease of reach to consumers. The acquisition of electrical division of L&T by Schneider electric and of C&S by Siemens are few such moves bringing advanced technologies and customer support to end users.

This year ELECRAMA co-hosted multiple events like BuildElec, Rail Urja, World utility summit, Women In power. Its very heartening to see the industry recognition of more women participation thus bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to businesses. India’s wheel of 5 Trillion economy runs on multiple spokes. Exports is one of them. Exports not only brings precious forex, but also builds a Brand image of India across the globe. This brand image helps us in further accelerating the growth of Indian economy. With Protectionism rising across the world, it’s clear that exporting only commoditized product is not enough to sustain exports, but need more advanced engineering products. India need to increase its per capita R&D spend significantly if we have to export high value products. USA & China spent 581 & 519 billion USD in R&D, where as India spent 66 billion USD in 2019.

India spends less than 1% of GDP where as Israel spend 4.5% of GDP on R&D. USA spends about 3% of GDP on R&D and has about 5000 researchers per million inhabitants. India has less than 1000. Considering our human capital, this is the
most under utilized asset of our country. Realizing this potential Indian government launched many initiatives like Skill
India, Startup India, Mudra Schemes and many more to make the most of human capital. These are only the beginning and the Private industry need to make use of these schemes to aid their own growth. As young entrepreneurs, we see start-ups playing a significant role in building an innovation culture in India. We look forward to STARTUP related co-event at the
next edition of ELECRAMA. We hope IEEMA considers this request. As an aspiration class of India, we believe the 5 point agenda can make India become 5 trillion economy.

1. Autonomy to Electrical Utilities and Running them as PSU’s with independent decision-making capabilities and freeing from fear of decision making
For example Railways electrified an average of 496 kms from 2010-2014, where as it was 2008 kms from 2014-19 a 400% increase in growth. Such a phenomenal growth with same team is achieved only because of Fast leadership decision
making and a highly motivated team.

By Making Utilities indiependt in decision making and freeing from political challenges , the utilities will bounce back from red and will turn into most socio economical and progressive for India thus setting a global example

2. Encouraging Innovation based Economy by enforcing IP strictly thus making India an Innovation hub with respect for IP. Provide social security with Universal basic income for researchers
OECD countries have strong social security mechanism that encourage people to follow their passions. Though it will be difficult to provide social security for entire population due to limited resources of Indian government, we can consider giving social security backed by a universal basic income for researchers. We can define a research as the one who owns a Patent or have Phd degree or have published a paper in a scientific journal or publication which is cited by at least 3 international scientific publications originated outside of India. This would free researchers from social obligations towards their daily responsibilities and helps them focus on Research. A starting area can be in astronomical science where India is a
strong player with organisations like ISRO, which can help our research grow in this area.

3.Unlock the value of loss-making PSU’s by inviting private ownership who can bring new technologies for efficiency
In 2018-19 a total of 70 CPSE’s lost about INR 31,635 Cr compared to INR 32,180 Cr in 2017-18. If we can unlock the value in these loss making PSU’s by divesting the government stake and inviting private ownership, it would help add to add new investments in the economy.

4.Increase Women participation significantly in Leadership positions both in Government and Private Industries
Women bring new perspective to thinking and bring fresh ideas in execution. Their participation in next phase of economical growth helps us in sustainable way. Today women represent just 5% in leadership roles, which puts India among bottom 5. We need to remember it was under Margaret Thatcher , Britain has taken the most difficult decisions that put it on global map of advanced economies, though some of them questioned by critics.

5.Quality oriented economy
India is not a strongly regulated economy thus enabling low quality imports being dumped into the country. This led to a price sensitive competition pushing industries in downward spiral of low quality, low profit scenario.. As a national standardization body for standards BIS (Bureau of Indian standards) play a significant role in handholding and empowering industries towards a quality regime. Since BIS introduced CRS for IT products and increasing the scope of mandatory quality marking of ISI on more products BIS encouraged industry to rise to global standards. This in turn would help industry export to OECD economies and bring more innovation specific to India. With the right and participation from Industry
BIS would enable quality specific to India conditions and bring a level playing field for all competitors domestically and globally.

As an aspirational class member looking forward to 5 Trillion USD economy , we hope Government of India considers our proposals, since 5 Trillion is not a number it’s our promise to our Children.

By Nanda Kishore Pamidi

The author is the Director of Fanfire solutions, an IoT based start-up recognized by DIPP based out of Bangalore providing energy efficiency and IoT solutions for Wide range of Industries.