Competitiveness, the New Catchphrase


In today’s challenging scenario, can we afford to take growth for granted?

The economic headwinds are yet to recede. Both the developed and developing economies are struggling to find stability and growth in economic activity and job creation. Against this backdrop, a globalised India too is seeking its rightful place in the global arena.

In my view, there are two imperatives on the national agenda that need immediate attention: Energy and Food Security and Providing our citizens with basic health care, education and livelihood. The new government’s vision with the “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” tagline promises to deliver both by working towards inclusive growth.

With a large part of our population still dependant on agriculture, we need to make our agricultural sector sustainable. We also need to focus on building skills in the industrial sector and job creation for our young aspirants. India is a nation of entrepreneurs and SMEs contribute to job creation and social cohesion in a big way. In fact, SMEs are the early adopters of technology for skilling and re-skilling. We can leverage these existing strengths to ensure that there is long-term growth and prosperity.

We are improving on our productivity through technology adoption and incremental changes but now industry must innovate on products and processes to maintain a competitive edge and move towards higher value added activities. Competitiveness is the catchphrase we need to focus on if Make in India is to succeed.

The World Economic Forum in its Global Competitive Report has defined competitiveness as a set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. There are twelve pillars of competitiveness.

India is still at the first stage (Pillars 1 to 4), struggling with factor driven issues. Although we do have pockets of excellence, we need to make significant progress on several other fronts in order to gain a lead. To be called an advanced economy, we have to see advancements in higher education, research & development (Pillars 5 to 10) which ultimately leads to business sophistication and innovation. Knowledge, technology and innovation are the watch words of the present era. It is a proven fact that a nation’s growth and it’s competitiveness largely depend on industrial innovation (Pillars 11 and 12).

Currently, India has slipped to the 71th position in the global index. Before we can talk about ramping up productivity in manufacturing and regaining our competitive advantage, we need to address some of the challenges that stand in the way of us becoming a competitive nation

If we are to move successfully onto the next levels and be called an advanced economy, we must include every strata of society in our growth story. Inclusivity and sustainability need to be defining our economic policies. To gain competitive advantage, we need to grow with responsibility and make sustainability the cornerstone of our growth.

The need of the hour then is for visionaries to find out-of-the-box solutions and innovative methods to approach these challenges.

In the next post, I will share some insight on ways in which we can ramp up productivity in manufacturing and regain our competitive advantage and drive “Make in India”.

Photo Credit: Joymalya Das|Photography

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