The Prime Minister held a meeting of the High Level Committee on Manufacturing. The meeting was attended by all the Ministers and officials of departments relating to the manufacturing sector including the Ministers of Science & Technology, Heavy Industry, Civil Aviation, Steel, Textiles & MSME and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. The discussion centred around the proposals made by the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council which were presented by the Chairman, Dr. V. Krishnamurty.
2. The meeting was convened to discuss the strategy for boosting competitiveness and output in two important sectors – textiles and steel – and for formulating a long term approach in three strategic industries – civilian aircraft manufacture, electric and hybrid vehicles and advanced materials and composites. Decisions relating to the short term and long term strategies for the five areas were taken and it was agreed to move ahead on all of them.
3. Civilian Aircraft Manufacture: This is a strategic sector where there is a need to have a presence in the long term, particularly in view of the rapid growth of our aviation sector. The HLCM took a major strategic decision for the development of a civilian aircraft, of a 70-100 seater range to begin with, in India. The idea is to house the development and production in an SPV that would be created for this purpose. The design capabilities in NAL, HAL and other institutions in the country would be utilised for this. Development and production partnerships with Indian private sector firms as well as overseas institutions is envisaged. Efforts will be made to leverage the offsets that are available in the defense sector for building critical domestic capabilities in high precision manufacturing and avionics. A High Level Steering Group under Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, NMCC would work out the modalities of this programme.
4. Alternative fuel based transport: electric and hybrid: The HLCM endorsed the launch of pilot projects for public transport of electric/hybrid vehicles three wheelers, mini buses, buses in Delhi followed by other metros after obtaining necessary approvals. Electric vehicles do not generate pollution while moving. They are the key to low carbon transport. India has the potential to emerge as a global manufacturing hub for electric and hybrid vehicles. The Pilot projects would be implemented by city specific SPVs. The first pilot in Delhi would be targeted for launched in August.An Inter-Ministerial Group including Chief Secretary of Delhi would work out implementation modalities in four weeks for the first pilot project.
5. Advanced materials: Alloys and Composites: In order to give a greater thrust to the development as well as acquisition of technologies for advanced materials, alloys and composites, the HLCM felt that a coordinated R&D effort is needed to be mounted in critical areas. On the basis of assessment of total anticipated requirements, domestic production would be pursued. The NMCC would evolve an Action Plan in consultation with all stake holders in 8 weeks.
6. A New Competitiveness Strategy for the Textiles Sector: In order to expand the textiles sector which is labour intensive and contributes substantially to exports, the HLCM endorsed a new competitiveness strategy for the Textiles sector. The goal would be to leverage the strengths we have in cotton and other fibres to enhance employment generation and achieve a greater share in global markets, especially in apparel. The core of the strategy is to facilitate the rapid scaling of competitiveness of the garment segment of the textile sector in the country through a comprehensive package of measures. Some of the elements of the strategy include having ready availability of work space, having adequate and comfortable housing for workers, having more flexible work timings, leveraging textile clusters and obtaining the best technologies. An IMG under Secretary (Textiles) will work out the Action Plan in four weeks.
7. Growth strategy for Steel Industry – Targeting 300 million ton output: The growth strategy endorsed at the meeting aims at the production of 300 million tons of steel by the middle of the next decade. In the short run, pro-active facilitation of projects in the pipeline would be taken up on priority jointly by the Steel Ministry and the new investment facilitation mechanism in the Cabinet Secretariat. SAIL would leverage its existing infrastructure to substantially expand capacity. It would work out its plans for capacity expansion and production of speciality steels by 30.9.2013. A Master Plan for achieving 300 million tons of production would be prepared. As the private sector finds it difficult to assemble land and get clearances, the state would assume a pro-active role in partnership with state governments. Project specific SPVs would be floated for identified sites which would assemble land, get necessary approvals and clearances and tie up water and raw materials. The SPV would then be offered in a transparent manner for takeover by investors through a bidding process. The Steel Ministry would prepare a road map with time lines for the above in 8 weeks.