South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has successfully pushed manufacturing in her state in the US, says that India now needs to make things predictable for investors to come and invest. In an interview with Sandeep Singh, Haley said that while there is a lot of confidence in the current leadership, investors want to be sure that there won’t be any risk. Excerpts:
What are the elements that India needs to address to make the ‘Make in India’ programme a success?
You have to focus on three things. First is the business climate, where you need to reduce regulations, taxes and make sure that it is easy to do business. The second is training or workforce skills development and then you have to build trust — predictability and consistency in what businesses can expect. So, you have to change the culture in India where people are excited about the programme and want to buy products made in India for themselves.
What kind of predictability is required?
Predictability on the government that it will stay out of the way and ensure ease in doing business. When companies invest, there is a risk attached. So, they would like to be sure that the rules won’t change later. And they also want to ensure that the quality and consistency of the product is going to be good.
Have there been any quality issues regarding products manufactured in China?
We have watched a lot of companies go to China from South Carolina and now we are witnessing a lot of international companies coming back to America and South Carolina because the consistency of the quality did not hold up in China. I think companies now can’t afford to not have the right quality because they can’t have their reputation tarnished by the fact that their consistency was not good. We have brought back Element Electronics (TV manufacturer), Kent Bicycles, GT Tyres and several textile, plastic and toy companies from China.
What about the manufacturing quality in India?
I think they just need to make sure that it is consistent and everything needs to be made with a source of pride. Everything that has ‘Made in India’ on it — the workforce needs to be committed that that is good. People of India need to be proud in what they produce and then only others would want to buy their products. There has to be a change in culture within the companies and the workforce has to be told that every product that goes out of the door matters. That was the hardest part for me in South Carolina
What are US investors looking for in India?
There is a lot of confidence in the new government and everybody is feeling good about the leadership in India. What they want to know is that there won’t be any risk — government or quality risk. A lot of manufacturers are interested in India because of the cost of doing business here is good and they know that the population is strong.