Make In India: Where are the Opportunities?

Author: Arvind Padmanabhan

An overview of all 25 sectors


In the first article published earlier this week, we looked briefly at the vision behind Prime Minister Modi’s Make In India movement. What is interesting to engineers and entrepreneurs is to know where the opportunities lie and how one can play a part in this movement.

In all, 25 sectors have been identified. In this article, we list these sectors and take a brief look at key opportunities. These opportunities may be in terms of partnerships, collaborations or joint ventures. They may in R&D, manufacturing, distributorship or local support. They may even been in terms of survey, sales or marketing where foreign companies seek information on India and its market.

  1. Automobiles
    With a growing and richer middle class, there is a strong demand for 2-wheelers and cars. In rural India, 2-wheelers ownership is set to grow. India’s manufacturing hubs can supply to international demand. This includes electric vehicles.
  2. Automobile Components
    Export growth stood at 17% in 2008-13. Key opportunities are global OEM outsourcing and indigenization of global OEMs. India is suited for supporting R&D centers, design houses and test facilities including National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP).
  3. Aviation
    There is an increased adoption of air travel by the middle class. Fleets are going to be increased and upgraded. More airports across the country are planned.
  4. Biotechnology
    There exists a strong pool of scientists and engineers in India. The country has potential to get into genetically modified agricultural produce. India can be a destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing.
  5. Chemicals
    India accounts for 16% of world dye production. India has immense growth potential in polymers and agro-chemicals. Growth drivers are the construction industry, agriculture and automotives.
  6. Construction
    This accounts for 10% of India’s GDP. Housing shortage in both urban and rural India points to an investment opportunity. Urban infrastructure requires additions and upgrades. Smart sustainable cities require use of latest technologies.
  7. Defence Manufacturing
    60% of requirements are met by imports. Joint ventures can lead the way towards indigenization as well as global exports. Supply chain outsourcing can be done in India.
  8. Electrical Machinery
    Growth and capacity generation in many sectors means a growing demand for electrical machinery. National Electricity Policy (NEP) is targeting 1000 kWh per capita capacity. Opportunities exists in R&D, production and testing.
  9. Electronic Systems
    India has strong design and R&D capability. Government schemes such as National Knowledge Network and National Optical Fibre Network have created demand. Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) and semiconductor fabs are being setup. Strong local demand and rising manufacturing costs in other countries make India an attractive place.
  10. Food Processing
    India has proximity to raw materials as well as markets. We have cost-effective skilled manpower. Consumers are moving towards packaged and processed foods. Supply chain infrastructure and food parks are to be setup. Food processing equipment needs investment.
  11. IT & BPM
    Testing services are typically outsourced to India. Emerging verticals are retail, healthcare and utilities. Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) are key drivers for growth. Telecom and semiconductors are among the fastest growing areas for R&D and engineering.
  12. Leather
    This is a sector with huge domestic market and potential for export. India has the youngest and most productive workforce. There is opportunity in capacity modernization and skill development.
  13. Media & Entertainment
    There are opportunities in television, radio, films, print, music, gaming and animation. India is emerging as a teleport hub for the region. India can be destination for foreign production houses.
  14. Mining
    India produces 88 minerals and is set to become second largest steel producer by 2015. Power, automobile and construction sectors are likely to drive growth. Opportunities exist in iron and steel, coal, aluminium, base metals and precious metals.
  15. Oil & Gas
    India is the 2nd largest refiner in Asia, with some refineries designed specifically for the export of petroleum products. Investment in refineries is an opportunity. Shale gas resources need to be recovered. Other opportunities exist in exploration, pipeline transportation and underground coal gasification.
  16. Pharmaceuticals
    Lower cost and skilled workforce mean that India already accounts for 20% of global exports of generic drugs. Opportunity exists in contract research and manufacturing services. With product patents in place, patented drugs can be launched in India.
  17. Ports
    India has seen 40% increase in cargo handling capacity in the last 5 years. Ports are close to upcoming Special Economic Zones. Investment opportunities exist in port development, port services and ship maintenance.
  18. Railways
    Indian Railways is the world’s largest passenger carrier and 4th largest freight carrier. Modernization of the sector includes high-speed trains, high-speed tracks, electrification and suburban corridors. Better passenger facilities and redevelopment of railway stations call for Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  19. Renewable Energy
    There is potential for growth in solar photovoltaic industry and solar power plants. The need is now to reduce India’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. Solar, wind, bio-power and small hydro are areas of investment.
  20. Roads & Highways
    Highways and expressways need upgrades. PPP model has been proved and standardized. The north-eastern is slated for a major upgrade in infrastructure.
  21. Space
    India has proven its capability with cost-effective space programmes under the leadership of ISRO that has strong industrial ties. Co-operative agreements with other nations facilitate for technology transfer in many areas: remote sensing, launch services, satellite communications, telemetry and others.
  22. Textiles & Garments
    India is an important producer of textiles, jute, cotton and silk. India’s advantages are a skilled workforce, close access to raw materials, production capacity and lower cost. Investment is needed in value chain of synthetics, fabric processing equipment, retailing, and more.
  23. Thermal Power
    India’s is world’s 5th largest producer as well as consumer of electricity. Investment opportunities exist in generation, transmission, distribution, power trading and exchanges.
  24. Tourism & Hospitality
    India has a few niche tourism products — cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports, MICE, eco-tourism, film, rural and religious tourism. Domestic tourism is on the rise. Training, infrastructure development, world-class hospitals, hotel management institutes are some areas for investment and growth.
  25. Wellness
    With a rich heritage, India is the 2nd largest exporter of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) products. Manufacturing facilities for AYUSH are to be increased in number. Centres for therapeutic treatments and rejuvenation programmes are going to be in demand.

Author: Arvind Padmanabhan

Arvind Padmanabhan

Arvind Padmanabhan graduated from the National University of Singapore with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. With more than fifteen years of experience, he has worked extensively on various wireless technologies including DECT, WCDMA, HSPA, WiMAX and LTE. He is passionate about tech blogging, training and supporting early stage Indian start-ups. He is a founder member of two non-profit community platforms: IEDF and Devopedia. In 2013, he published a book on the history of digital technology:

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2 thoughts on “Make In India: Where are the Opportunities?

    1. Respected sir,
      I am professor/researcher in electronics domain. I am willing to know the possible opportunities for me.
      Thank you sir


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