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SMEs are the backbone of India: Arun Maira, Planning Commission
The world has gone digital and technology adoption is driving performance improvement and increase in market reach. India, too, is harnessing the power of the digital to drive productivity, profitability as well as competitiveness of its industries.

This topic was further explored, with a focus on the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in particular, at the Industry-IT Summit 2014, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with PwC as the knowledge partner held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

This two-day flagship summit, themed 'Technology: A catalyst in driving growth in Indian industry', deliberated upon the challenges that manufacturing and infrastructure organisations face in using IT; the prevailing IT adoption levels; as well as the expectations from IT in the future of Manufacturing and Infrastructure sectors.

Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, who delivered the Keynote Address said, "The manufacturing sector of our country has a long way to go. The sector needs to create more jobs and help increase the country's exports. Small industries will play a key role in this. We have to help these small industries grow and recognize that they are the backbone of our economy. We have to help small industries help access technologies and build effective clusters by working cooperatively. The Indian IT industry needs to help enable these SMEs. Now the State, the industries and IT sectors need to work together."

He added that, SMEs are the backbone of this country and the time has come to put capability in people to change the process so as to create healthy eco-system of small entrepreneurs. He stressed, 'Manufacturing SMEs must become rapid learning enterprise and should become competitive through better process architecture'. Arun Maira also added 'Human Assets are the only assets that appreciates in manufacturing industry, rest all depreciates'.

The sentiment that rang through the session was clearly indicative of the fact that while these sectors did have low IT adoption levels and were ridden with issues, the bigger picture did reveal opportunities for growth and development through process and governance restructuring and the critical role IT had to play in bringing about this transformation.

Deep Kapuria, Chairman, CII National MSME Council and Chairman, Hi-Tech Group, during his address said "IT is a catalyst to navigate through challenging and volatile environment". He added, earlier in India growth was taken for granted, but now companies struggle for it. He stressed India should catalyze growth through technology and leverage entrepreneur-sprit for better growth.

This annual flagship summit saw eminent leaders such as Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India; Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT, ITeS and eCommerce and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation India; Deep Kapuria, Chairman, CII National MSME Council and Chairman, Hi-Tech Group; S D Shibulal, MD and CEO, Infosys; and Neil Wilson, Executive Director & Partner, PwC addressing the audience.

Delivering his address, Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT, ITeS and eCommerce and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation India, said "Having grown manifold in size and matured in terms of service delivery capability and footprint over the past decade, the Indian IT industry is now at an inflexion point - and faces a unique opportunity to enhance its role as a service, value–adding partner to the domestic industry as well. There is a significant headroom in the addressable IT adoption opportunity for India Inc., and there are sizable untapped opportunities across a wide spectrum of verticals like manufacturing and we hope this event will lead the way for it and help develop an IT strategy blueprint for various sector."

During the inaugural session S D Shibulal, MD and CEO, Infosys, said, "IT is a great enabler for employment generation. Every sector needs to adopt technology as it can help build competitive advantage, close the development gaps in the country and thereby create more employment opportunities." He added it is encouraging to see the great work of spreading awareness on the challenges Indian industries are facing today, and to be able to come together on a platform such as this, to discuss how to resolve those with the help of IT.

The joint CII-PwC report, Driving growth in Indian industry: Unlocking the transformational value with technology, was launched in line with the theme of the event. Drawing from what leading industry players are doing to address prevalent issues in order to streamline processes and drive growth in their organisations, this report gives a perspective of the real picture.

As explained by Neil Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, PwC India, during his special address, "CEOs and CIOs have recognised data mining and analysis, mobile application for customer as strategic next-gen technologies for their sectors. This not only shows that India is well into the digital game but industries are realising that potential emerging technologies have to transform their business."

In conclusion, C N Raghupathi, Chairman, CII Sub-Committee on 'IT for Domestic Industry' and Head - India Business and VP, Infosys Ltd said, "This discussion on unlocking the transformational value of technology to revive India’s industries comes at a time when India’s GDP is more service oriented and less manufacturing oriented. There is a need to jumpstart the manufacturing sector and enable infrastructure as well since both are inter-dependent."


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