The anti China sentiment is quite high, not only in India but the entire world. As I wrote in the article, “#BoycottChina- A myth!….” with the widespread use of Chinese products, from cheap everyday items to high end machinery and electronics, it’s simply not feasible to stop using them altogether.
What’s the solution then? As it turns out, it’s been with us this entire time. Make In India. This initiative, coupled with others such as Digital India, if implemented properly, could reduce the worldwide China dependence for a range of items.
SN Subrahmanyan, the CEO and managing director of Larsen and Toubro, in a recent interview with Financial Express, stated how a long term perspective of at least 4-5 years would benefit India. And at the same time, any rash decisions regarding the import of Chinese products would prove to be counterproductive.
This is true not only for big conglomerates which have orders of massive amounts of incoming material/products in the pipeline but across all segments for people of every economic background.
A systematic approach needs to be followed for the different segments and the immediate impact must be considered, especially at a time when the economic outlook of the country and the world in general is grim (un ironically, due to a virus which originated from China).
The two major steps the Indian government (and public) must take to convert India into a large manufacturing hub are:
-Improve the education system
-Improve the work culture
An important thing to keep in mind is that Education system is not limited to with schools or colleges or universities. This includes the trade schools and skill development centres like ITIs as well.
A conscious effort has to be made to ensure that if MNCs worldwide decide to move to India from China, we must have workforce ready which would consist of workers of every skill level, from labour which shall be responsible for doing the ‘heavy lifting’ to the engineers and scientists carrying out the R&D work to the managers and executives to take care of the daily working of plants/offices/factories which shall be set up.
This ties into the second step which is a little ambiguous, but everyone knows it. The work culture in India is lethargic. Low pay, mundane jobs and other factors lead to a stagnation of workflow as evident in the government offices where even menial tasks take take days, weeks, and months to get completed.
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The workers need to be more mindful of the fact that if work is done properly and efficiently, it would actually spur on the system to get creative and give more exciting work to themselves, opening new avenues.
It’s obvious that the aforementioned steps will take time, so the area where immediate action can be taken is the import of Chinese goods.
For the cheap products, imports can be made from countries like Taiwan and Vietnam, two nations quite agitated from China in their own ways. Special preferences and reduced import duties would incentivise them to increase their business with India and the Indian people to buy their products over the Chinese, with the lure of lower prices.
While taking into consideration how much it would affect the bigger companies if the import duties are increased on Chinese goods, this particular route should be taken very carefully.
It is a long road and would take time for the world to reduce its dependence on China, but the current situation has given India an opportunity to strategically put into motion the process of overtaking China as the preferred destination of setting up industries and be a global player when it comes to supplying products and goods made in our country.