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BHAG is Aatmanirbhar Bharat

The top-level leadership of the Bharat has made a decision to be AatmaNirbhar. This is a time consuming and long term work. — Alok Singh


The Aatmanirbhar Bharat is the BHAG of India and it complements that BHAG is AatmaNirbhar Bharat.  BHAG is - big hairy audacious goal. In simple words it implies- ‘think big and aim high’. BHAG is a long term goal spread over 10 to 30 years. BHAG was coined by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porass, in their book titled -”Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”. Jim Collins is a business consultant and Jerry I Porass is a professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

The decision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat was announced by the prime minister himself. The decisions are made at a different level. Some decisions are made by top-level management, some decisions are made by middle-level management and some decisions are taken by management which is engaged on floor or ground i.e. operations level management. The top-level management makes strategic decisions. The strategic decisions are to match the mission and vision of the company and the strategic decision has a huge cost, it needs huge investment and hence absorbs high risk as well. The top-level management makes sure and takes all the precautions to craft its decisions so that the project is successful and the risks could be mitigated as far as possible. 

The top-level leadership of the Bharat has made a decision to be AatmaNirbhar. This is a time consuming and long term work. It is a ‘big’ work and engages a lot of stakeholders, including- buyers and consumers and their participation in its favour. It is ‘hairy’ as it touches all the sectors, including- defence and communication, pharmaceuticals and education. It is ‘audacious’ as the world is integrated and decoupling or searching for substitute raw materials and processes are a complex challenge, including- encapsulating the trade policy and foreign policy. The ‘goal’ is demanding in character and nature, including-taking care of the global citizens and global climate. AatmaNirbhar Bharat is bigger than BHAG.

AatmaNirbhar Bharat is more complex than Make in India. Make in India is about manufacturing in India. It does not differ too much between a domestic brand company and a foreign brand company. AatmaNirbhar Bharat is about the fair partnership and sustainable growth by linking the aspects of security, sovereignty, environment, society, education, food, climate and many more.

This decision has a responsible democratic aspect. It has aspects of ease of doing business, tariff aspects, and financial aspects, apart from other aspects. The leadership has committed financial incentives as well apart from other necessary commitments. There are many varieties of financial incentives. For example- tax incentives, sector specific incentives, financing incentives, production linked incentives, and so on. The ‘production linked incentive’ PLI is one which is most talked about. During November 2020 the additional production linked incentives worth 1.46 lakh crores of rupees for ten sectors have been announced. The ten sectors are automobiles and automobile components, pharmaceutical drugs, telecommunication, advanced chemistry cells, technology products, textile products, food products, white goods, capital goods and speciality steels. It is spread over five years and incentives are in phases. The idea is that in five years of the time the companies will become sustainable and globally competitive. Earlier the government announced production linked incentives for electronics manufacturing, medical devices and pharmaceutical ingredients worth more than 50,000 crores rupees.

These reflect that the government has done its part of work well. It is for the first time that many launch pads for domestic manufacturers have been provided simultaneously in the globally competitive landscape. India is the biggest market and the government of India is committed to the historical change in the business process. Whatever concerns have been raised by the manufacturers and their association has been accommodated to a great extent in the AatmaNirbhar Bharat. There is neither dearth of skills nor lack of talent; it is the turn of the intent to prove itself. It is the intent of public sector companies as well as the private sector companies. The domestic talent spread over the world are willing to contribute their expertise in this mission. It is the responsibility of the domestic manufacturers to derive maximum advantage for the nation in this historical moment. It is the opportunity which will decide the future of the domestic manufacturers in the decades ahead; in fact it will also drive the global leadership of immediate future.

The weaknesses have to be addressed and in the course, sector-specific adjustments have to be accepted. For example- the electronics industry has the real challenge of dealing with a situation of non-availability of fabricating plants for semiconductors and printed circuit boards domestically. There are suggestions that the public sector companies can take the risk and invest in design, the private sector has the best opportunity to avail the incentives announced by the government and invest in this sector and own the Indian semiconductor fabrication plant, and old fabrication plant can be purchased for the time being. China Taiwan and USA has the maximum number of semiconductor fabrication plants. Not having a fabrication plant for semiconductors is the biggest drawback for all the electronics device manufacturers in India, whether it is telecommunication devices or electronic appliances. It is the semiconductor chips which has more than fifty percent share in the value chain of the electronics and communication devices. Our stock market, banks, communication system, defence equipment or whatever we are using has non-Indian semiconductor chips. We don’t know the magnitude of our security which is exposed to foreign players in general and China in particular. We simply can’t succeed without owning a fully indigenous semiconductor fabrication plant on our motherland. The foundations of AatmaNirbha Bharat can’t be laid on microchips which are not manufactured or designed or fabricated by the Indians in India. The private sector has received enough encouragement; there is nothing more what the government can do. But at the same time, the public sector companies should also compete in the semiconductor fabrication facility. We need the best semiconductor designer who has to be an Indian and has to work in India. The best of our talent which are working at foreign locations needs to be hunted by the domestic companies. We need urgently a successful semiconductor design which is indigenous to march on the path of success.

Alok Singh is fellow of Indian Institute of Management Indore and currently is  faculty of general management at NICMAR.


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