Chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Sunday said that start-ups should not be regulated and that the government’s new policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16 has several hidden regulations. “Look at how IT and bio-tech benefitted from less regulation in their initial years. India must reboot the way it governs these sectors,” she said at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday. “Start ups can create jobs, let them flourish.”
During a session entitled Beyond Jugaad, Making India Work, Mazumdar-Shaw said that the Make in India strategy was a good one but the government needed to focus on “what would be the manufacturing jobs of the future”.
Former SEBI chairman of ‘Jaipur Foot’ fame DR Mehta said “sarkari” economists were giving the government wrong advice and that manufacturing is not the solution to the problem of unemployment. He believes jobs will come from services and intensive agriculture.
Nigel Harris, president, Ford India is certain the programme will have economic value for the country. “Make in India has created the hype but now the next two stages have to be done to ensure that it is successful. One, more reforms, and second, implementation of those reforms,” he said. Didar Singh, secretary general, Ficci, added that it was problematic that the nation isn’t done as yet with the first generation of reforms of land, capital and labour.
Mazumdar-Shaw, Mehta and Singh agreed that jobs are not going to come from ‘old’ manufacturing but entrepreneurship.
On India’s demographic dividend, Singh said that the skilling programme is good but the country needs to look beyond India and send more skilled talent abroad. Mehta said the government must push India’s frugal engineering and that the Jaipur Foot had shown that the country’s people are capable of developing low-cost technologies.
To a question on whether India is good at basic innovation, Mazumdar-Shaw said that the country has the “innovation quotient” but not the regulatory and financial ecosystem to foster them and raise it to the international level. “There is a huge standoff between business and science. While business thinks scientists are not doing enough, the scientists have limited market exposure. This is bad for the country,” she said.
“There is lot of stuff available in government labs but we have to see how it connects with the regulatory environment of the country. We need strong capital markets to foster these,” Singh explained.
Adding to her earlier comment on the need to look at new manufacturing ideas, Mazumdar-Shaw said the world is now talking about the fourth industrial revolution and that India should not lose sight of the opportunities that will come its way. “The new sunrise areas are artificial intelligence, renewable energy and automation. We must exploit these new sectors, especially renewable energy. The opportunity is immense. We cannot miss the bus,” she said.
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