The government of India has launched the Make in India program so that the products which Indians are importing at present are manufactured within India, it will prevent the flight of foreign currency abroad, provide jobs to millions of local citizens, make India a self-reliant nation, and then this initiative can also transform India into an export hub of manufactured goods. This initiative has already started showing positive results in several industry segments. In this panel discussion, the panelists discussed how far the Make in India program is relevant and beneficial in the context of the printers and printer consumables industry.
Moderator: Mr. Sukanta Dey, a B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Kolkata. He worked in senior executive positions in several leading MNCs and domestic companies.
Mr. Devesh Rastogi, Sr. Vice President (FAIITA) is a national platform representing State level Associations/Federations and standalone Association of Channel Partners, engaged in Computer hardware trade, Service providers, and systems Integrators in the field of Information Communication and Technology business.
Mr. Puneet Singhal, Founder & Current President of CMDA (Computer Media Dealers Association)-Delhi (Regd). He is also currently the Govt Committee Chairperson of FAIITA (Federation of All India IT Associations).
Ms. Aarushi Rajpal (D/o Pramod Rajpal), Director, Datalink Industrial Corporation (Brand owner of ProDot), a Make in India manufacturer and provider of IT accessories and dot-matrix and laser toner printer cartridges.
Mr. Rishikesh Awasthi, BDM of JIT Enterprises, a Mumbai-based manufacturer of toner powders for printers and copiers.
Mr. J.C. Joshi, Director, OPC Technology Japan Pvt Ltd (a manufacturer of OPC drums in India for copiers).
Mr. Sushil Kumar Aggarwal, Proprietor, itek Solutions, Kolkata (a prominent refiller and remanufacturer of laser toner cartridges).
Moderator: Mr. Sukanta Dey, a B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Kolkata, Making in India is a very great concept for India. I request the panelists to share their views on how the Make in India program is relevant to the Indian printer and imaging consumables Industry. After India attained independence from the British, India did make rapid strides in manufacturing, but still, we lag behind many other developed and developing countries in the world.
Mr. Devesh Rastogi, Sr. Vice President (FAIITA), we are very passionate about Make in India initiative and we believe that India is on the threshold of a major change in terms of domestic manufacturing. Now, India has crossed the Production Linked Incentive scheme 1 (PLI1) and moved into PLI2, showing that we are making steady progress. We are sure that in the coming years, we will move further ahead successfully. Now a lot of MNC manufacturers are coming to India and more will come in the coming years. I am sure in the next 5 years, the Indian manufacturing sector will expand significantly. In the present global conditions, only India can compete with China in manufacturing, in terms of volumes and variety. As we know, Pantum has already started manufacturing in India. I think within 3 years, most printer manufacturers will set up their plants in India. This will set off plethora opportunities for the Indian aftermarket product manufacturers too. Even chip manufacturing set to take off in India soon.
Mr. Puneet Singhal (CMDA): Make in India is going to progress at an accelerated pace in the coming years. However, for manufacturing to be successful, the demand in high volumes is essential. I am closely associated with FAIITA (Federation of All India IT Associations) and FAIITA is doing its best to identify the right sectors and products that can be successfully manufactured under Make in India and suggest the manufacturers and the govt to take things forward. Our focus is also on how to encourage manufacturing in India in an ethical manner and with a focused approach. For this, we need more aggressive participation from the domestic manufacturers.
Ms. Aarushi Rajpal: At ProDot, we started manufacturing in India 3 decades back on a small scale and scaled up in steps. We initially started with manufacturing dot-matrix cartridges with SKD and then we moved to manufacturing complete products. Even today, we have a major share in the dot-matrix cartridges space in India. Soon we are going to manufacture CCTV cables. Now we have over 40 mold machines and about 1000 people working in our manufacturing plant. In the future, we want to expand our manufacturing facilities and develop more products domestically and stop imports from China considerably. Today, at ProDot, we are able to manufacture several products from A to Z within our manufacturing facilities in India. We are sure in the coming years many more companies will start manufacturing in India.
Mr. J.C. Joshi: We started manufacturing OPC drums in India. Though we had support from the Japanese company, due to the lack of ecosystem for manufacturing in India, we had a tough job. It took us a few years to adapt and improve. Since we don’t have the advantage of the demand in big volumes, we focused on niche models for which OPC drums are not widely available and this approach worked well for us to survive and then grow. However, we are not still satisfied with our achievement. In India, the availability of raw materials is still a big problem for domestic manufacturing. In China, the government and the system provide a lot of support to the domestic manufacturers, which is lacking in India.
Mr. Devesh Rastogi: In general, the Chinese are not good at technology, but they know how to buy the technology and how to connect to the technology providers. They work closely with those who have the technology, give them the financial support and get things done. They have that knack.
Mr. Puneet Singhal (CMDA): Govt has started GEM, but the policy and definitions have a lot of loopholes; there is no clarity on what exactly they wanted to buy–on the one hand govt wants to encourage Make in India; and on the other hand, the same govt insists on purchasing OEM products.
Mr. Rishikesh Awasthi: In India, as a manufacturer of toners, we still have to import raw materials from abroad due to the lack of availability of the same in India. No matter how much better quality we try to deliver, we have to compete with the imported products at the end. If we develop the quality comparable to the imported products, our products will be costlier than the imported products. That will put us at an unfair disadvantage while pricing. To manufacture products of international quality at competitive prices, the support of the govt is crucial and the govt should help to create an ecosystem where raw materials and components are plentifully available. The companies in China could manufacture high-quality toners at lower costs because of the availability of raw materials and the support they receive from their government.
Mr. Devesh Rastogi: For example, in an HP laptop or desktop, most of the critical components, nearly 15, are provided by third-party manufacturers. But HP specifies the standards to the third parties and controls the quality and technology. The same thing applies to manufacturing in the other sectors in India. So to create a high-quality system, we need the right quality contributions from all the third-party manufacturers of different components. That means the total ecosystem needed to be quality-oriented for India to become a world-class manufacturing hub. This may take several years to develop.
Moderator: Mr. Sukanta Dey, From the expressions of the experts, it is obvious that while manufacturing in India, we should also develop and deliver the quality of international standards to be successful in competing with imports and then export. If the governments in India make it a strict policy to purchase only from the Indian manufacturers, it will help Make in India cause a lot and encourage the domestic manufacturers. Also, a serious commitment from the govt is indispensable for creating an effective platform for domestic manufacturing to be successful.
Mr. Sushil Kumar Aggarwal: We have been into printer cartridge refilling & remanufacturing and printer repair and reconditioning services for the past 2 decades. We recently achieved the milestone of remanufacturing the same laser toner cartridge of a particular customer for the 72nd time and it is still running perfectly. We first remanufactured that cartridge in 2011 and the same one is still running well. Now, we want to remanufacture it 100th time to make a record. We do not strictly follow the general methods of remanufacturing but developed our own unique techniques which help us to remanufacture more effectively. Our special remanufacturing methods not only save a lot of money for the customers but also prevent the piling up of toxic garbage in the landfills and prevent the flight of foreign currency otherwise spent on importing compatibles from abroad. In the future, we want to expand our remanufacturing services beyond Kolkata.
Mr. Devesh Rastogi: As Mr. Sushil Kumarji said, a circular economy focuses on recycling and remanufacturing as far as possible. At FAIITA, we are encouraging the reuse of shells and other recyclable components and products as far as possible.
To Sum Up
The Indian domestic manufacturers are very passionate about Make in India. However, the lack of availability of raw materials domestically compels the manufacturers to depend on imports. This often increases overhead costs and pushes up prices of the end products, which is putting the domestic manufacturers at a disadvantage vis-à-vis imports. For domestic manufacturing to be successful, the active, willing support of the government is indispensable to creating an effective ecosystem where raw materials and components are widely available. Remanufacturing and recycling is another effective alternative to reduce imports and prevent the flight of foreign currency abroad.