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'Vande Mataram'

'Vande Mataram'

Letters

Manufacturing Competitiveness

T
his is with reference to T N Srinivasan’s article ‘China, India and the World Economy’ (August 26, 2006) in which he has commented on the report of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC). To support his conclusions he refers to the report of the NMCC, 2005.

The NMCC presented its report ‘The National Strategy for Manufacturing’ (NSM) to the government in March 2006 and not in 2005. Srinivasan appears to have drawn his conclusions from an earlier draft and not from the NMCC report submitted to the government. The report has been available to the public since March 2006 on the NMCC’s website http://nmcc.nic.in. In an article published in August 2006 one would reasonably expect the author to have updated the facts, particularly when they relate to information available in the public domain.

Let me now turn to the comments made in the article on the content of the NMCC’s paper. The issue of prioritising has been rightly stressed by Srinivasan. The government and the NMCC are keen on speedy implementation of the recommendations. A high level committee on manufacturing (HLCM) under the chairmanship of the prime minister has been constituted to ensure implementation of the recommendations contained in the NSM.

The first job that the high level committee did was to prioritise the areas in which action should be taken. The HLCM has selected, to begin with, six sub-sectors to be taken up on priority. These include four manufacturing sectors, namely, textiles and garments, agro and food processing, leather and footwear, and IT hardware and electronics. These have been selected in view of their immediate growth potential and potential for creation of substantial number of jobs. The two generic subjects selected are skill development and problems of small and medium industries, including cluster development. Skill development would ensure that persons entering the labour force are equipped with necessary skills required by the market. Small-scale industries continue to be the backbone of manufacturing sector. Ensuring that they remain competitive is a major task and hence this has been included for priority action.

Now on the question of time frame. The targets and implementation of policies and programmes of the individual sub-sectors are to be driven by the concerned ministries. With inputs from the NMCC, the ministries have formulated/are formulating, medium- and long-term strategies with clear-cut goals as well as time frames to achieve competitiveness in their particular sub-sector. Insofar as generic issues like labour reforms, infrastructure, etc, are concerned, separate fora are there where these are being addressed. The NMCC has been engaging with all the ministries as well as with state governments in firming up the programme of action and implementing the strategies. In several sub-sectors this work is in progress. Specific issues requiring immediate action have been taken up and in a phased manner, addressed through the mechanisms of the budget, plan and exim policy.

Srinivasan claims that the NMCC has not assigned responsibilities to the individual ministries. The fact that the matter is being given attention at the highest level by the prime minister himself and the ministries concerned are being assigned goals by the committee clearly indicates that the

(Continued on p 4296)

Errata

In the article by Peter Ackers in the Review of Industry and Management (September 30, 2006), on p 4194 in the References, Sen, S (2005) should have been Sen, A (2005).

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Economic and Political Weekly October 7, 2006

Letters

(Continued from p 4226)

individual ministries have been made responsible for implementing and achieving specific goals relating to their sub-sector. The industry associations are also involved in the implementation of their side of the programme, which is mainly to improve the firm level competitiveness through a series of programmes meant for the purpose. Some of these have also been designed for implementation in the public-private partnership mode.

V GOVINDARAJAN

Member Secretary

National Manufacturing

Competitiveness Council

New Delhi

‘Vande Mataram’

T
his refers to the article ‘Birth of a Goddess’ by Tanika Sarkar (September 16, 2006).

Before the issue of EPW reached me, I had experienced cacophony of electronic and urban print media on the subject of ‘Vande Mataram’. I know television is not about information at all. Information is active, engaging. Television is passive. Information is disinterested, objective. Television is emotional. It is entertainment. Electronic media has absolutely no interest in Vande Mataram. They are paid to exercise their talent: provoking people, getting them to make an emotional outburst, to lose their temper, to say something outrageous. They want a media

moment.

But I could not have imagined how low the discourse could get although I had witnessed saturation coverage of Pramod Mahajan’s death and his son’s sorry deeds a few weeks earlier.

However, Sarkar’s article restored the balance and brought on sanity. How can a debate on an important subject like Vande Mataram start before people read an exhaustive article like this?

ANIRUDDHA G KULKARNI

Pune

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    Economic and Political Weekly October 7, 2006

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