The first month in the calendar year, January, is rightly named after the mythical Roman god Janus, god of gates and doors, god of beginnings and endings; interestingly, Janus is represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions - one head looking backwards - reflecting on what has gone, the other looking forward, towards the future.
The CE sector, for its part, needs to look ahead. Looking back, it would seem, everything possible for a new growth story has been done, put in place. Looking forward is the only way; the pace may be painfully slow but is expected to be steady. Over the last two years, riding stormy waves with much patience and prudence, many OEMs, component and aggregate suppliers have been preparing for the much awaited upturn which at present, seems to be just a matter of time. They have been investing in innovation, diversifying into new product lines, optimising spares logistics and service networks, and even venturing into untapped overseas markets.
The A T Kearney report indicates that infrastructure spending is expected to grow from 7.2 per cent of GDP in 2012 to 9 per cent by 2017, which augurs well for the CE sector. The industry vouches for a phenomenal growth, provided its full potential is realised; it is expected that a healthy growth of 20-25 per cent over the next few years will take the $4-billion CE industry to $16 billion by 2017, and probably to $21 billion by 2020.
However, to reach there, the growth curve that has been stymied by multiple issues needs to move smoothly and within stipulated timeframes. What the industry is looking at, are the following aspects:
On the positive side, several reforms and projects initiated by the government to put the economy back on the growth trajectory, need to be acknowledged and appreciated. The Environment Minster has already cleared 70 projects which includes Posco's greenfield project; the Cabinet Committee on Investments has fast-tracked big-ticket infra projects; the Prime Minister has shortlisted 215 major projects with bank funding of about Rs 7 lakh crore for the PMG to speed up the implementation.
Six years ago when we launched this magazine, the industry was apprehensive about the availability of enough informative material for a magazine with a monthly frequency. Now, we have a thirteenth edition brought out this year to commemorate the completion of the 6th year of the magazine! During this period, India has emerged as a sourcing hub for international majors and many have expanded their plant capacities further. 'Getting ready for the Upturn' is the theme for this special annual issue and there are articles by an eminent list of CEOs sharing their experience and understanding.
Back to Janus, the Roman god who also symbolises a transition from the primitive to the civilised. That transition will be achieved by the CE industry as soon as an able leader comes to the fore post the general elections this year and energises the infrastructure mandate of the country.