India’s move from a low-cost manufacturing centre to one of the world’s innovation hubs is a long-term process but there seems to be a very tangible shift in the right direction. Could a new electric scooter that is designed, made and sold in India soon accelerate the process?
The lesser known fact about India’s IT and software credentials is that one of the world’s leading giants, Cisco, derives a large chunk of its global revenues now from Indian innovation.
Purushottam Kaushik, managing director, sales, Cisco (India & Saarc), revealed at India Inc.’s Digital India Conclave: “Few years ago when we started our business in India, it was supposed to be for cost reasons and as a back office. But today, India has the front office of Cisco.
“We generate almost one-third of the company’s global turnover ($50 billion) from India and products from end-to-end are innovated and designed in India. We have around 22,000 people employed for designing all these products.”
India Inc. Founder & CEO, Manoj Ladwa, has also reiterated the importance of shifting India’s perception as the “back office of the world” to “front and centre”. It is time India is ambitious to leapfrog into the future without being tied down by its legacy as a low-cost manufacturing hub, he believes.
So is the message finally clicking through where it matters? Tech expert Nitin Dahad seems to believe so. He uses Indian start-up Ather Energy’s smart scooter as an example of a new phase in the growth of indigenous innovation and manufacturing.
He explains: “The company stays true to the ‘made in India’ mission, with a manufacturing unit in Bangalore. It will also revolutionise the distribution model it says – with no dealers, but its own customer experience centres and online only purchasing. The company also aims to set up an ambitious public charging infrastructure in every city it will operate in, partnering with government and private enterprises.”
This is the ideal formula that fits into the innovation vision promulgated by the likes of Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, who recently said: “Manufacturing should be democratised, digitised and decentralised.”
And the government is making efforts to ensure the right ecosystem exists for this democratisation and digitisation with programmes like Make in India, Start-up India and Atal Innovation Mission.
“We have to take India to the next level,” said Kumar Mangalam Birla at the recently concluded Make in India Week.
And, the next level is one that is high-end, technology and innovation driven and ready to compete with the best in the world.