The tasks of making India a country where manufacturing becomes globally competitive, and creating a socially just society, are very difficult, argues Maruti Suzuki chairman R C Bhargava.
The problems have been compounded by losing almost seven decades after Independence without becoming a competitive industrialised country, he says, adding during this period, the gap between the rich and poor grew wider and various conditions developed that are inconsistent with competitive manufacturing and a socially just society.
Manufacturing, at present, is far from competitive and contributes only 15 per cent of the GDP. As a result, removing the wide socioeconomic disparities remains a distant dream.
But Bhargava is optimistic.
"Despite the difficulties, it is still possible and necessary to achieve the objectives that have eluded us for so long, provided we exhibit a strong will to change and jointly work for the development of the country," he writes in his book "Getting Competitive: A Practitioner's Guide for India".
"What needs to be done to industrialize India and to create an equitable society? Becoming competitive is a task in which everyone in the nation has a role and needs to contribute to the full extent. The government or industry alone is insufficient."
In this book, published by HarperCollins India, Bhargava draws upon his experience of more than 60 years as a policymaker and industry leader to give practical suggestions.
"Getting Competitive" is the "cumulative result of interacting with all those who, during my entire life, have been enablers in my journey of learning", he says.
According to the author, it is necessary to build trust with the political system, governments, bureaucracy, judiciary and industrial leaders.
"Each has to play an important role in this task, but the top industrial leadership has to take the lead in creating widespread confidence in itself. Private sector industry will now have the responsibility for the most important area of national development, and the ability to successfully do this will require the people's trust," he suggests.
Policymakers also have to recognise their role in making manufacturing competitive, he says, adding the ministries concerned, including those in the states, need to develop greater expertise in framing and implementing policies that are concerned with the establishment and operation of manufacturing industries.
Bhargava suggests that socialistic industry-related policies should be replaced with those that would promote competitive manufacturing, and western management culture substituted with that of the East to create trust with citizens and partnership relations with industrialists, workers and the government.
He says that becoming a competitive manufacturing nation requires special attention towards building a strong supply chain. Equally important would be the possibility of attracting global component manufacturers to India.
"Changes for making manufacturing highly competitive may take some time. Meanwhile, these component manufacturers need to be attracted to invest in India and export a substantial part of their production. Possibly a special, flexible scheme could be evolved for this purpose," he suggests.