Planting the Seed of Manufacturing in India’s Hinterland

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Source: Zinnia Banerjee

“To make an impact we need to collaborate with the state governments and the manufacturing industry and have the right plan to implement”- Jibak Dasgupta, Director General and CEO, IMTMA

January 2024 : At IMTEX Forming 2024, Zinnia Banerjee, Assistant Editor at Pro Mfg Media,engaged in a free flowing conversation with Jibak Dasgupta, Director General and CEO, IMTMA, where he pointed out IMTMA’s focus on planting the seeds of manufacturing in India’s hinterland. Some areas of India’s hinterland are witnessing the manufacturing sector to get a push in the backdrop of proactive government policy. Mr.Dasgupta underscored IMTMA’s approach in leveraging the favourable government push for better outcomes in the long term.

What is IMTMA’s approach in promoting manufacturing in India’s hinterland?
Whenever you go to the hinterlands of India to plant a seed of manufacturing, it is a long run process. It is not that we invest today and tomorrow we get the return. The industry takes its own sweet time to mature.
When we say hinterland we are essentially referring to the eastern states such as Bihar, Odisha, some parts of Uttar Pradesh in the eastern side, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and so on. These states are not as advanced in manufacturing as states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. So, to make an impact there needs a lot of effort, not only from our side but it also requires the effort of the state government to collaborate with us (the machine tool industry) and the manufacturing industry and have a right plan to implement.
Now, we see, some of the state governments are becoming pretty active in terms of promoting manufacturing, probably with the policy push from the central government. In this IMTEX (IMTEX Forming 2024) itself, we have a state government setting up a stall. It actually gives us a very big indication that we can actually collaborate with them and promote manufacturing in those places where it has not gone till now. It will take time. A lot of discussion needs to happen, a lot of roadmap needs to be put in place and the right combination is needed. So the state government, industry bodies like ours and other government bodies as well as private players need to come together and actually make this happen. And I think this is the right time for India to look into those places where we have not penetrated in terms of manufacturing yet.

What kind of engagements do you have in mind for the stakeholders in India’s hinterlands?
We have started doing small b2b shows with a focus on Tier-II and Tier-III cities. These are not big exhibitions, but a form of interaction between the players over these places and the larger industry to have a dialogue. These dialogues will help create a roadmap. We need to understand that associations like IMTMA is a national association. But there are regional associations where all the regional players are connected. So, we have to create a collaboration between the regional associations and the national association to create the whole ecosystem. While as a national association, we will provide all the latest technologies but we need to keep in mind the regional needs and the current situation that can happen through a collaborative process. In Kolhapur,what we did is that we actually collaborated with all the associations in and around Kolhapur for MTX Connect. And, we feel that it is the right way to go forward. With the support of the state and local government we can expedite that.

Do you have any plans on skill building in the hinterlands?
Yes. Skill building is very important. There are a lot of skilled people available in the hinterlands of India. The only thing is that they are not getting the opportunity. IMTMA, as an institute, has certain centres in Bengaluru, Pune and Gurugram where we skill students as well as the industry professionals who want to upskill themselves. However, we do not have the reach as of now to the tier-II and tier-III cities but we are open to work with local bodies to train the local population any which way they want us to do.