Ab ki baar, cut-and-paste sarkar: the case of Make in India

In his 25 Sep 2014 speech at the launch of Make in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the initiative as a “lion’s step” towards promoting Indian manufacturing and generating millions of jobs. Amitabh Kant, who oversees the programme, stated in a subsequent interview that “Make in India is like a movement reflecting a new mindset of growth in India.”

The Congress Party begged to differ and ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Make in India as a “carbon copy” of the UPA’s manufacturing policy, but in the public perception Modi is the prime maker of Make in India.

Turns out Singh was right.

Okay, so the goals are identical, but surely the Modi government is bringing its own set of policy instruments to the challenge?

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Hmm. What about regulations? After all, Modi has proclaimed himself as the brusher aside of regulatory thickets.

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So the goals are the same, the policy instruments are identical and there is little difference in the approach to regulatory reform. But Singh is still being unfair describing Make in India as a carbon copy of the UPA’s National Manufacturing Policy: the Make in India document is better edited, tighter, uses more active voice.

Sure, Modi deserves credit for taking this manufacturing policy forward with his trademark salesmanship, and he may yet make a success of it. But it also undeniable that governments build on their predecessors’ work, something that Modi has so far lacked the grace to acknowledge. Whether it is road building, direct benefit transfers or financial inclusion, the Modi government has tried to hog credit, even when much of the groundwork and implementation had been done by the UPA. And it would seem that this is also the case with Make in India.

Ab ki baar, cut-and-paste sarkar.

3 thoughts on “Ab ki baar, cut-and-paste sarkar: the case of Make in India

  1. All said and done, UPA never put its might and soul to any of its flag ship programmes incl Aadhar, DBT,… and Modi Sarkar is adept at it. There is nothing wrong I feel. Does anybody remember or recall that UPA had a Mfg policy,.. But most know there is a “Make in India’ program which has been flagged off!!!

    While on this please read my post Waking up Make In India!!! – http://wp.me/p1dZc2-r2
    Feedback most welcome. Thanks!

    1. Untrue, UPA flagship programmes (Bharat Nirman, Aadhaar – 627 million enrolments) were very successfully executed. The manufacturing policy’s backbone, the rail freight corridors and associated cities, progressed. Policy paralysis set in from 2011-12 (though not entirely — FDI in retail, fuel price reform happened in 2012). But much got done before that.

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