The new book “Made in India” by Amitabh Kant is released by Dr. S. Jaishankar.

For 23 minutes, India’s foreign minister made a compelling case for the nation to shift its emphasis from services to manufacturing. He also exhorted business leaders present on stage and in the audience to “stop looking for a China fix” and expressed relief that New Delhi had not sought economic advice from “other countries” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, addressed a crowded audience on Wednesday at the India International Centre (IIC) book launch for former NITI Aayog leader Amitabh Kant’s Made in India.

Business heavyweights including TV Narendran, CEO and MD of Tata Steel, and Sanjeev Bajaj, President of Bajaj FinServ, were on the panel, along with the German ambassador to India, Phillip Ackerman, and Counsellor at the Palestinian embassy, Basem F. Hellis.

“I’ve always believed that this focus on services was actually an elegant excuse for being incompetent,” said Jaishankar, eliciting laughter across the room.

He highlighted that if India is not a big manufacturer, it will never be a great nation. Additionally, he ran for office in support of the PLI (Production Linked Incentive Scheme) programme, which offers incentives to domestic producers.
The current G20 Sherpa, Kant, contrasted India’s economic growth challenge from that of other nations like China and South Korea in his opening remarks.

According to Kant, India must industrialise without carbonising. He emphasised the necessity for India to enter emerging growth markets like mobile manufacturing and electric transportation.
In his book Made in India, Kant discusses the difficulties facing a developing India while drawing economic lessons from other nations. It struggles with scenarios like “what if the Bombay Plan worked,” among others.

The Bombay blueprint, a state-led mixed economy, was a blueprint for India’s economy put up by eight leading businessmen in January 1944.

However, Kant made a compelling case for the private sector both in his book and in his speech, contending that once it is “unleashed,” the nation will be in a position to overtake the United States as the third-largest economy in the world with a high per capita income.

The panel for the book launch included Shereen Khan, managing editor of CNBC-TV18, Kant, Bajaj, Narendran, Naina Lal Kidwai, ex-president of FICCI and HSBC, Mallika Srinivasan, chairperson of PSEB and CMD, TAFE, and Jaishankar (albeit he snuck out immediately after his address).

The ‘Make in India’ effort of the Modi administration, which aims to encourage businesses to create, produce, and assemble goods in India as well as stimulate investments in domestic manufacturing, is a source of inspiration for Kant’s book.

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