What are the realities of investing and making in India? What has changed and what hasn’t? Rebecca Abraham reports

On 2 July 2014, six weeks after Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister of India, the validity of an industrial licence – necessary for everything in India from processing hides and skins to manufacturing grease-proof papers and automobiles – was extended from two years to three years. Ten months later the validity of an industrial licence for the defence sector was extended from three years to seven years “in view of the long gestation period of defence contracts to mature”.

Changes such as these are the building blocks of Modi’s initiative to “Make in India” – which he unveiled from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi on 15 August 2014. Since then the idea of making in India has caught the imagination of many both inside and outside India.

Brand building

“Make in India as a campaign and a brand is successful if you view it from how many people are aware of it,” says Pankaj Singla, a foreign law researcher at Soga Law Office in Tokyo. Singla, who is one of a handful of Indian lawyers working in Japan, adds that “this is the first time that I have met so many people outside India who actually know the name of the Indian prime minister”.

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