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India a manufacturing hub: Nath

Commerce and Industry Minister said India's technological prowess is making it a hub for not just software but also manufacturing sector.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 11:48 IST

India's technological prowess coupled with favourable industrial climate is making it a hub for not just software but also manufacturing sector, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday.

"The hub of world economic activity is shifting from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. India's technological skills coupled with its attractiveness as a manufacturing centre are fast making it the hub of not only IT-enabled services but also manufacturing," Nath said at the World Economic Forum annual meeting.

Addresing the session on "Trendspotting 2020: Confronting a new World Order", he said "we have been experiencing a consistent industrial growth of 12 per cent for the past few years and this trend will accelerate."

India could capture potential markets in the fields as diverse as engineering, chemicals, pharma, biotech, fashion, lifestyle and leather goods, he told world business leaders.

The Minister also noted India's dominance in diamonds, both cut and polished, accounting for 85 per cent of global markets.

Highlighting India's demographic advantage, he said the skilled and technically qualified manpower will increasingly come from developing countries.

With a unique combination of IT, pharma and biotech, he said India would remain a favoured destination for outsourcing of business processes (BPOs), knowledge processes (KPOs) and engineering processes (EPOs).

The country had a large consumer base, Nath said, adding "the emergence of 300 million middle class, which was growing by 25 million annually, has been a strong driver of consumption goods like cars and branded items."

"This is not just about rich urban consumers but also about people from smaller rural towns," he said, referring to his own rural constituency of Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh that attracted mobile handset manufacturers.

Low cost airlines and computers have improved connectivity, he said, adding "companies will realise the need to span the spectrum for catering to a low-end customer as well as to those at the top end."

First Published: Jan 26, 2006 20:30 IST