Focus must shift from service sector to manufacturing: Anand Sharma

Union Industry and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has expressed confidence that the country, whose growth rate was “dragged” down by global crisis over the last couple of years, would get back to the high growth path in the coming years.

Economic growth in the current financial year could cross 6.5 per cent provided the States made “real efforts” in this direction, said Mr. Sharma. After a subdued performance for several quarters, the manufacturing sector recently rebounded and was expected to cross the 6-per-cent growth mark in due course, he said.

The global economy continued to be in contraction and the Eurozone remained a “zero- growth zone” amid the extant slowdown in the developed economies.

“Global GDP growth remained less than 3.5 per cent, while emerging economies grew at [a mere] 5.5 per cent.” Mr. Sharma said 2012 would be remembered as the year in which the drag-down effect was intensified and brought the economy’s growth down, from 9 per cent to 6 per cent.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for National Institute of Design here on Saturday, he said the country had no other option but to increase its growth rate amid challenges. The service sector leapfrogged to contribute, at one stage, 60 per cent of the GDP while the contribution from agriculture and manufacture remained at 15 per cent.

“Service sector cannot grow beyond a point. Given the fact that over 150 million youth will be joining the workforce by 2025, jobs will come only from manufacturing sector,” he said. The government, therefore, announced the National Manufacturing Policy with focus on increasing the sector’s contribution from 15 per cent to around 26 per cent in a decade.

Accordingly, emphasis was given to providing a fillip to manufacturing. The government had more than doubled the number of institutions like IITs as well as budgetary allocations for R&D and innovation. At a time when the global economy was witnessing a paradigm shift and economies were regaining their balance, these initiatives would propel the country into becoming a major competitive hub.

In this context, he said four National Investment and Manufacturing Zones had been proposed to turn the country into an “outsourcing hub” for design. Design was an integral part for scaling up industry and manufacturing, but the country was lagging way behind in this respect.

“While small countries like Finland have 145 designers per million and Japan 90 per million, it is two in India,” he said.

Union Minister M.M. Pallam Raju, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Department of Industrial Policy and Planning secretary Sourabh Chandra and National Institute of Design director Pradyumna Vyas were among others who spoke.

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