Covid crisis can help Indian auto sector to emerge as global hub; Opportunity must not be wasted Pawan Munjal.

New Delhi: Munjal was speaking at the annual session of Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA).

Hero MotoCorp CMD and CEO Pawan Munjal on Saturday said that the pandemic has brought a unique opportunity for the Indian automobile and component sector to become a global hub and the industry as a whole has to envision to make it happen and also lead other industries into similar thinking.

Munjal was speaking at the annual session of Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA). He said, “the silver lining in this pandemic is the Honorable Prime Minister clarion call and push for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat – I believe that going forward we, and our sector can be the growth engine for bringing alive Atmanirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India, by all of connecting, communicating and collaborating on multiple fronts such as innovation, engineering, and R&D.”

Stating that Indian biggest advantage and the key asset is its unique position of “having the largest youth population in the world , giving us a clear edge over many other countries”, he said, “I know, it is through the principle of Aatmanirbhar Bharat that our industry has the opportunity to become a global hub in the very near future.”

“I urge all of us here to not let this crisis go waste. By connecting, communicating, and collaborating, we can not only help each other, but we can also help our nation to reach her goal of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” added.

The world today is racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and the process, which usually takes decades, has been fast-tracked as research laboratories, drug manufacturers and healthcare services are collaborating with each other for an antidote, Munjal said.

On the same note, Munjal said that a “similar reliance on partnerships and collaborations is essential between Indian auto and component manufacturers and their global partners and counterparts as an antidote to stagnation and de-growth and to evolve world-class and technologically advanced mobility solutions for the future.”

For India to become the global automotive hub, Munjal said, “We must invest in technology, quality up-gradation and most importantly in digitalization in the context of today and the future.”

Exuding complete confidence in the ability Indian automakers and component suppliers, he said they can “race ahead in the face of adversity and together turn it into an opportunity for us”.

Munjal further said that the government should equally play its part to facilitate regulatory approvals and improve logistical infrastructure.

Munjal also acknowledged the “other reality” of huge challenges faced by suppliers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and successive waves of lockdowns and the large-scale migration of workers, making the availability of skilled manpower an issue.

“Additionally, they have to deal with a lack of consistency in COVID-19 protocols across and within states. Even the protocols for testing for COVID-19 are not standardized. All these are affecting continuity in manufacturing operations just as productivity is impacted by the fewer number of workers on the shop floor on account of social distancing,” Munjal said.

Munjal further talked about how his company performance has witnessed a revival in demand in select pockets over the past two months. He said sales have picked up in rural and semi-urban markets owing to the growth in the rural economy and stimulus provided by government schemes.

In urban areas, due to social distancing needs and limited availability of public transportation, customers are showing a preference for personal transportation, he added.

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