Bhargava said the public sector is a big drag on our ability to become competitive in manufacturing.
A lot of big names in India Inc are backing the government's push for an 'Atmanirbhar' or self-reliant India. The latest voice to support the government's move is that of Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava, who says the world will look at Indian products and brands as an option if they offer better quality and cost-competitiveness. The focus, he says, needs to be on making Indian products desirable.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Bhargava said to boost the competitiveness of Indian goods, we need to give customers more value by reducing cost, improving quality and after-sale service. He noted that even though the country has corrected some of its past mistakes in this field, we still need to focus on these aspects to make Indian products more desirable.
Policymakers need to understand that the world will buy Indian products only if they offer better quality at lower costs. Quality is largely the job of the manufacturer, but the cost has a huge input from government policies. That's where the government needs to look at every single policy, interaction with industry, and look at how that is affecting the cost and quality of products, he said.
A lot of work remains to be done on the cost side, and it is necessary to focus on bringing down costs, he added.
Bhargava, who was formerly a civil servant, pointed out that right from the 1950s, bureaucrats have had no understanding of what makes for industrial growth. They did not, he added, look at cost of production as a factor affecting competitiveness.
He also added that the Prime Minister's focus on 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' is in the right direction, adding that we have come to the current situation because the country's manufacturing sector has not been developed over the years.
On the question of the aspiration to make India a manufacturing hub, the Maruti Suzuki chairman said we have lost a lot of advantages that we had 70 years ago. He said he has no doubt that to become competitive in the arena, it is a given that all stakeholders need to work together as a team.
Bhargava said the public sector is a big drag on our ability to become competitive in manufacturing. He said the PSUs are usually responsible for infrastructure. However, most foreign investors lament the quality of infrastructure in India.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here