Indian manufacturing was in a shambles not too long ago, while China became the workshop of the world. The pessimists feared a washout, while the optimists asked if we could be the first society in history to bypass a domestic industrial revolution and leapfrog to a services economy.
A report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu puts India in second place in the global manufacturing competitiveness stakes, behind China, but ahead of South Korea, the US and Japan. This despite our endemic power shortages, rigid labour laws and creaking infrastructure. How?
The 400 senior global managers in the survey said “access to talented workers capable of supporting innovation” is more important than traditional factors such as labour, materials and energy. That may be an exaggeration, but it does suggest that public policy should back education and innovation, even as more roads, ports and power plants are built.