‘A major national initiative designed to facilitate investment; foster innovation; enhance skill development; protect intellectual property; and build best in-class manufacturing infrastructure. There’s never been a better time to Make in India.’
Thus proclaims the opening lines of the official website of ‘Make in India’—a major initiative launched by the government in September 2014 to boost national as well as multinational companies to manufacture (mass produce) their products in India.
Here’s how India is deemed to benefit from it:
- The country’s economic growth and overall GDP (gross domestic product) would get a boost because of the increase in manufacturing and subsequent export sectors.
- The country would attract more FDI (foreign direct investment); in 2015 alone it was reported that India received US $63 billion in FDI.
- The country would have considerably increased opportunities for employment, thanks to new manufacturing units set up across different states.
And so on. But this is just the bigger picture of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. When we look at it on a micro-level, there is a fundamental factor that holds the key to it all: Language.
India – A tower of veritable languages
Image credit: It’s FOSS
A study carried out by People’s Linguistic Survey of India puts the official number of languages spoken in India at 780. This is just the documented number, not taking into account the almost 250 languages that have presumably been lost in the last 50 years or so.
Coming to multinational production, envision this scenario: The prototype of a product may be designed in France, engineered in London and manufactured (produced) in India, followed by being exported to other countries around the world. This is a typical example of what ‘Make in India’ is striving to achieve, right? Well, a prerequisite for each level of this process to function smoothly is high quality communication and effective interaction between different levels, different countries. How can one arrive at this point? By overcoming the language barriers arising at each successive step; in other words, by utilizing the services of language translation systems. To ensure that manufacturing business in any field is a success—be it in the automobile, chemicals, electronics, information technology or tourism sectors—it is imperative to reach out to the people in the language they understand, both within the company as well as the clients and consumers.
Many languages = Business expansion
In the present era of globalization, if a manufacturing business needs to transcend international borders and ensure success, it needs to take into account the fact that there is no single language that will work in all cases. There are an increasing number of countries in the fray that do not primarily speak English, India being a major example.
How can being multilingual help to expand businesses in such a case? Here’s how.
- The ability to reach new markets can only be possible if the human resources of a business are well-versed in vernacular dialects. According to the World Bank, ‘India, with a 7.5 per cent projected growth, is one of the leading major emerging economies in the growth chart.’ What’s more, it is no hidden fact that the opportunities for growth that can be tapped in emerging economies and developing countries such as India far exceed those of developed countries such as the United States of America.
- To quote Steve Swad, CEO of the online language learning software company Rosetta Stone, ‘The world is getting smaller. The notion that you can speak one language and communicate well in business is becoming less true as time passes. Training your workforce and equipping them with multiple languages doesn’t just develop them as people, it increases the productivity of the company as well.’ Isn’t that another aspect of what ‘Make in India’ is striving to do—developing the skills of the work force and providing them stable job opportunities?
- Speaking the language of your international customers to refine consumer support is a precondition to expanding any business, manufacturing or otherwise. The results of a study undertaken by the Harvard Business Review state, ‘A mere five per cent improvement in retention rates of consumers can boost profits by more than twenty five per cent at one go.’ Hence, investing in language training for improved customer service is bound to reap rich dividends for any business in the long run, manufacturing or otherwise.
‘Make in India’ – Latest developments
- Automobile sector: Mercedes Benz India, International Tractors Limited, and Isuzu Motors have made investments in our country as a part of the ‘Make in India’ scheme.
- Aviation sector: Buying Indian-IDDM products for the Indian Air Force (Indian – indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured) is on the cards.
- Pharmaceutical sector: The production of medical devices such as CT scanners, x-rays, and stents to be provided a boost instead of importing them from other countries.
These are but a few examples of the initial success of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. The indispensability of languages here cannot be stressed upon enough. There are so many opportunities out there; it is up to us to grab them with both hands and not let go.
The bottom line
Image credit: Wikipedia
At the launch of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, said ‘Make in India is a lion’s step: its symbol is a lion made of cogs.’ Signifying a lion on the prowl, the logo stands for manufacturing, national pride, and the strength of India as a unified country. The bottom line is that these cogs can only move in tandem when people are involved at each step of the manufacturing system. In order to bring in as many people as possible to aid in their development, knowing how to reach out to them in their own languages is essential. Only then can we achieve our dream of truly making the Indian economy better; by making it easier to do business in our country.