Why Indian Industry needs a Real Robotics Vision to Flourish

Robotics is transforming the world economy, now India has a chance to stand as a role model. Or, else India will become irrelevant.

How will the Indian government and business leaders make a change in Indian economy?

Indian industries have a new obstacle in their way – robots.

Thankfully, research foundations and big MNC are already conscious of innovations ranging from nanotechnology and genomics to materials science and energy. However, robotics is one of the areas where India lacks and this could cause the most instant disturbance.
Developed countries like USA and Japan have robots in nearly every industry whether it’s manufacturing, hardware, and mining; robots have already started to affect service jobs, healthcare, and geopolitics. Unfortunately, even with our research institutions and young minds, India has yet to clear its vision for how it will distinctively develop and apply robotics, artificial intelligence, and related technologies.

Indian industry needs to chase productivity with robots.

Without any direction and clear vision, robotics could soon become a topic of hate and curse for India and its people.
Let’s understand this with an example, from last few years Indian economy is growing consistently at 7 percent GDP, it would take India until 2029 just to achieve the same share of the world trade that China achieved in 2005.

But if India supposedly reaches, 10 percent of GDP growth per year for several years, it would get to the Chinese level (a historic target, for sure) a lot faster. According to India Ratings & Research, to achieve a double-digit growth of 10 percent, Indian productivity would also need to improve considerably to 8.3 percent. But actually, Indian labor productivity was dropped by 4.84 % in 2017. Of course, robots are the best way to increase efficiency and productivity. Universal Robots A/S is very keen about the Indian industry. The Odense, Denmark-based Company claims that its collaborative robot arms can improve a company’s productivity by 85 percent. No-wonder, going forward manufacturing industries might opt for the mechanical workforce in place of Human resource workforce.

Not the desired robot revolution.

What happens when millions of Indian people start losing jobs to automation and that equal number isn’t capable to find work because of a lack of skills? This whole scenario sounds so chaotic. If you are nodding your head in disbelief, try to understand the situation with the statistics of these two years 2014 and 2015; India needs to produce 12.5 million jobs each year to keep up with labor growth. Yet, it created only 376,000 jobs in 2014 and a mere 135,000 jobs in 2015 — a worthless 2 percent of what was needed over the past two years. However, during 2015 India attracted more foreign investment than China. The shifts from Indian industrial automation haven’t even gone main-stream yet. There is also the question of whether “Make in India” goal is solely following China’s manufacturing model rather than what India really needs for global trade. More precisely, the IT outsourcing sector employs almost 3.1 million people in India. A recent survey found that India’s outsourcing sector alone could lose up to 640,000 jobs — about 21 percent of its IT labor force — to automation by 2021. Naturally, outsourced services firm KPMG India disagrees with that forbidding forecast, but it is exploring automation itself.

Potential must be recognized or else India will lose its prominence.

The world became increasingly unstable in the past 15 years; Indian industry will surely have to respond to even more unexpected changes in the next 15 years. Everybody talks of India for its potential, but the point is that India needs to prove its potential. Indian industry has to show to the world that it can make advanced robotic products and build new profit models with and in robotics. For example, India’s healthcare and aerospace industries are already using 3D printing, helping grant them a competitive advantage. India has also done a good job of attracting robotics startup investment. But without clear adoption goals and a jobs plan, the fight to put food on the table could get so intense that India may be forced to put brakes on robots, and what happens then?


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