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Niti Invites Bids from 9 Cos to Study Key Sectors

Niti Aayog’s Study on India’s Manufacturing Potential

Source and citation: Information adapted from an ET Bureau article published on January 24, 2024.

Analysis for Layman

Niti Aayog, a government think tank in India, has commissioned research agencies to conduct a study to assess India’s competitiveness in manufacturing across various sectors. The objective of this study is to identify high-potential industries that can receive policy support to help India become a global manufacturing hub.

The study, which will span four months, will evaluate factors such as global trends, India’s capabilities, infrastructure readiness, regulatory frameworks, and market access in 12 sub-sectors. The recommendations from this study will guide government efforts to focus on sectors where India has the potential to lead in manufacturing over the next decade.

The selection process for consultants gives more weight to technical expertise (70%) and less to cost-effectiveness (30%). This approach indicates that the government is actively planning to capture the opportunities in manufacturing based on realistic assessments rather than speculative projections.

Niti Invites Bids from 9 Cos to Study Key Sectors

Impact on Retail Investors

For retail investors, the decision to commission an impartial manufacturing potential study by Niti Aayog is a sign of structured planning to boost India’s manufacturing sector. Instead of scattered investments, a focused approach to developing high-potential sectors can optimize resource allocation and accelerate growth.

The research can help identify publicly traded stocks and sectors that are likely to perform well based on their competitiveness and the policy support they receive. Investors can consider increasing their investments in companies that are leaders in sectors with significant growth potential and strong execution capabilities.

However, it’s essential to avoid excessive speculation in ancillary suppliers or contractors based on preliminary reports. Prudent investment in established manufacturers with a track record and visible orders in sectors with substantial growth potential may offer a better risk-reward balance compared to chasing hyped narratives.

Impact on Industries

The Niti manufacturing analysis can provide critical insights across Indian industries about which sectors the government may prioritize for investment incentives, production subsidies, and export promotions in the coming years. This information can also guide infrastructure development.

Supply chains related to raw materials, components, logistics, and consumables can better prepare for increased output capacity and domestic input substitution policies. Service providers, such as those involved in skill development, research and development, and certification, can expand strategically.

However, there may be increased competition in sectors identified as having low feasibility, as financial investors possibly reallocate capital to industries recommended as highly viable. Reskilling the workforce may become a priority to manage labor market transitions effectively.

Overall, companies involved in manufacturing and related services need to pay attention to emerging high-potential sectors and adjust their business plans accordingly.

Long Term Benefits & Negatives

Over the long term, directing industrial development efforts toward the most competitive sectors based on data-backed findings can optimize the impact of policy incentives. Concentrating manufacturing leadership in targeted clusters can also foster ecosystem specialization.

Sustained growth in globally thriving sectors can lead to job creation, innovation, and balance of payments stability. However, an overemphasis on selected sectors could potentially make the business environment less attractive for other entrepreneurial ventures. Balancing incentives for local input development is crucial to prevent cost distortions that undermine export viability. Periodic reviews are essential to keep catch-up cycles updated.

Pragmatically optimizing competitive advantages while attracting foreign capital and expertise can maximize the contribution of the manufacturing sector to India’s GDP, helping achieve the goal of a $5 trillion economy.

Short Term Benefits & Negatives

Over the next 1-2 years, finalizing priority manufacturing sectors through an evidence-based approach would enable the government to refine policy interventions and attract capital for execution. This can lead to a noticeable acceleration in the integration of global value chains.

Global investor discussions may also become more focused on channeling foreign direct investment (FDI), forming joint ventures (JVs), and establishing export links. However, conclusive decisions should consider countervailing risks rather than relying solely on one-dimensional projections.

Resolving any ambiguities in the methodology is essential for detailed budget planning starting from the fiscal year 2024-25. Timeliness is critical, as emphasized by the four-month deadline for recommendations.

However, excessive emphasis on short-term targets without considering long-term implications could hinder holistic growth. For example, goals related to electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing should align with India’s relative strengths across the entire value chain, including mineral processing, chemicals, and electronics.

Potential beneficiaries and losers from NITI’s manufacturing study:

Indian Companies likely to gain:

  • Companies in identified high-growth sectors: If NITI’s study identifies specific sectors with significant growth potential, companies operating in those sectors could benefit from increased investor interest, government support policies, and potential increased demand. Potential beneficiaries could include:

    • Renewable energy players: If green energy is identified as a key sector, companies like Tata Power, Adani Green Energy, and Suzlon Energy could see positive sentiment.
    • Electronics and semiconductor manufacturers: Companies like Tata Elxsi, Infosys, and Wipro could benefit if electronics manufacturing receives focus.
    • Automobile manufacturers: Increased focus on automotive manufacturing could be positive for Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, and Mahindra & Mahindra.
    • Pharmaceutical companies: Companies like Cipla, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, and Sun Pharma could gain from a push towards domestic drug manufacturing.
  • Infrastructure and logistics companies: Improved infrastructure and logistics are crucial for manufacturing growth. Companies like Larsen & Toubro, Adani Ports & SEZ, and IRCON International could see increased business opportunities.

  • Research institutions and consulting firms: The study itself creates opportunities for the nine invited institutions to showcase their expertise and potentially win future contracts related to the identified sectors.

Indian Companies potentially impacted negatively:

  • Companies in declining sectors: If NITI’s study identifies specific sectors as having limited growth potential, companies operating in those sectors could face increased competition, reduced policy support, and potentially declining demand. This could impact companies in traditional industries like textiles, steel, and leather.
  • Low-cost manufacturers: If the study emphasizes high-tech and advanced manufacturing, low-cost manufacturers in labor-intensive sectors might face challenges adapting or competing.

Global Companies unlikely to see significant impact:

  • Foreign MNCs with existing manufacturing presence in India: This initiative primarily focuses on identifying potential sectors for domestic growth, and established players might already have a head start.
  • Global consulting firms not included in the RFP: While the nine listed institutions have a potential advantage, the overall impact on global consulting firms is minimal.

Disclaimer: This analysis is based on limited information and should not be considered investment advice. Always consult with a qualified financial advisor before making investment decisions.

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