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Business News/ Companies / News/  Spotlight on sustainable and smart manufacturing in India
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Spotlight on sustainable and smart manufacturing in India

Smart manufacturing summit focuses on making the nation the world’s factory

Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari (Mint)Premium
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari (Mint)

NEW DELHI:The government is working on a scheme to produce bio-bitumen from rice straw for use in road construction, Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said at the Mint Zetwerk Smart Manufacturing Summit 2023. He said his ministry would introduce the scheme in the next three months to provide tractor-mounted machines for the production of bitumen from rice straw or stubble. The government will purchase the bio-bitumen produced with these machines for road construction. Common bitumen derived from crude oil is used for its adhesive properties in the construction of roads and highways. The measures will be part of the country’s efforts to achieve its ambitious climate targets and to reduce import dependence.

Gadkari said the first such road using bio-bitumen is already being laid in Odisha. The minister noted that India needs 8 million tonnes of bitumen annually, of which only 5 million is produced in India, while the rest is imported.

The power-packed event included the minister of commerce, industry and consumer affairs, Piyush Goyal; minister of state for electronics, information technology, skill development and entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar; and several industry executives.

Gadkari said the government was planning to come up with norms for vehicle speed limits in consultation with states amid the expansion of roads and highways in the country, many of which had become six, eight or 10-laned. He added that the ministry had set a target of 60 km per day for the next financial year, while for the ongoing year, the speed of construction would be 40 km per day. The government is planning more electric highways with amenities supporting EV charging, and the first such highway proposed between Delhi and Jaipur was in the preliminary stage, he said.

Commerce minister Goyal asked the industry to raise quality of products to export standards.

With its focus on ensuring the production of quality products in the country, the central government is also looking at setting up testing centres alongside industrial hubs which will reduce the cost of testing and time taken to take the product to the market.

“BIS and FSSAI have been mandated for this work. First, we have mapped all the lab facilities, put that on Gati Shakti, and now are finding the gaps. Currently, gap analysis is going on across the country," he said. He added that the government was also looking at reforming patent laws to attract more R&D, and innovation at a time when India was aiming to become a global manufacturing hub and cater to international demand.

Goyal said that several schemes are underway to support manufacturing and many more would be rolled out soon. Centre is expected to announce more PLI schemes for supporting petrochemicals, green hydrogen, electrolyzers, leather products, footwear and toys among others.

However, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said PLI should not be considered a permanent solution but a transition for India as the country moves towards becoming a globally competitive economy.

“PLI, I don’t think it should be thought of as a permanent, let us say part of the equation, of being a manufacturing economy. It is a way to bootstrap the economy or bootstrap the players. But it will more than be compensated by all of the other efficiencies that these volume gains will create over time," he said.

He said that PLI was addressing the disability or the disadvantage between India and its cost structure in the value chain versus Vietnam or China, but there were more factors such as ease of doing business, rationalization of levies, import and export tariffs and creation of logistics ecosystem, which will be responsible for taking India closer to its goal of achieving $300 billion in electronics manufacturing by 2026.

Chandrasekhar added that India should target $500-700 billion in electronics manufacturing over 10 years, adding that the scale was achievable on the back of India’s youth power which differentiates it from China and Vietnam.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen covers both corporate and economy, and policy sections of Mint. She also covers telecom, IT from the corporate side and disinvestment, finance ministry from the economy side. Gulveen finds the rare mix of sectors she covers to be incredibly interesting.
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Published: 06 Mar 2023, 12:05 AM IST
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