Make in India might be the mantra in vogue but the world of manufacturing itself is undergoing a disruption ranging from radical to subtle. The radical change is the increasing use of robotics across industry. While there is an indisputable increase in efficiency, it comes at the cost of human jobs. And nowhere in the world are jobs more precious than in China and India, home to 40% of the world’s population. So, while robots and self-driving cars may be ushered in with great enthusiasm in aging economies, one can be sure that they will not be very welcome in either country. India has more of a challenge on its hands given its much younger workforce who need to be gainfully employed. If not harvested gainfully, our ‘demographic dividend’ could well give rise to an Indian Spring.
The subtle and not-so-destructive change is the progress being made in the field of 3D printing which is also known as additive manufacturing. Everyone from your neighbourhood nerd to the new-age jeweller is excited about this development, each for his own reason. The geek can let his imagination fly within the confines of his home and the jeweller not only cuts down on labour cost but also can get his designs faster to market. While its ability to comprehensively disrupt is still in question, 3D printing is making inroads. Where and in which sectors is the focus of this issue’s lead feature by Rajat Ubhaykar. As he reports, the excitement continues to be primarily in a handful of sectors which have been early adopters. To know more, have a look at the cover story The Emerging World of 3D Printing.
In this issue, we are also carrying a tribute to Chandrakant Sampat by Chetan Parikh. Sampat (1929-2015) was the flagbearer for value investing in India when reading a balance sheet to judge the health of a company was laughed at. Sampat lived by his convictions and is reported to have divested his holdings as he couldn’t make sense of the distortion caused by central bank liquidity injections. Many established Indian value investors looked up to Sampat, and Parikh is no exception. To read Parikh's tribute check out In A Class Of His Own.