iCEMA Articulating Industry Viewpoints Effectively

Amit Gossain
"iCEMA's top agenda is to attract government attention to help industry in this tough economic condition. We are also looking at setting up independent facilities for the industry in collaboration with the government - for e.g. setting up test facilities with the Dept. of Heavy Industry and skilling manpower in India. We will also ensure alignment of industry with Government norms and policies, introduce new technology and best practices enhancement through iCEMA panels. The upcoming mega event, EXCON 2013 will help in setting a positive tone for the industry," says Mr. Amit Gossain, President iCEMA and EVP - Marketing, Business Development & Corporate Affairs, JCB India Ltd., in an interview with S.A.Faridi.

Coinciding with Excon 2013, iCEMA organizes conferences on the frontal issues confronting the CE industry. What is the agenda of such conferences this year and their participation profile?

Excon is one of the most popular exhibitions for the Construction Equipment industry in Asia. The event is a perfect platform to exchange information with domestic as well as international players. On the sidelines of the exhibition, we also planned a two-day conference.

The central theme for this conference is "Propelling Sustainable Infrastructure Development." This conference will focus on tabling the challenges and discussing ways to achieve accelerated growth and utilise the opportunities that lie ahead. The discussion will mainly be focused on current scenario and future trends, market opportunities and gaps in key end use sectors of Earthmoving & Construction Equipment (ECE) - Roads & Railways, Urban infrastructure, Irrigation, etc.

Equipment manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, industry end-users, service providers and financiers etc. will be part of this conference.

How over the years the deliberations of such conferences have helped articulate CE industry's concerns in various government and industry foray?

During these conferences and CEs meets, there are senior Government bureaucrats, senior executives from large organisations and other think tanks of the industry who dwell on issues confronting the industry to create an enabling environment for the growth and well being of the industry and its stakeholders.

Ideas are collated and then put forth in a format. There is a Q&A and open house discussion with the large audience as well.

What are the CE industry issues on the iCEMA's top agenda to attract government attention to help in this tough economic condition?

Our primary objective is to work closely with government and project authorities to drive infrastructure development. We are also looking at setting up independent facilities for the industry in collaboration with the government - for e.g. setting up test facilities with the Dept. of Heavy Industry and skilling manpower in India.

Other than this, we will also ensure alignment of industry with Government norms and policies, introduce new technology and best practices enhancement through iCEMA panels.

We are also working with the government to include certain products under Focus Product Scheme (FPS). Currently, we are only utilizing 50% of the total production capacity of the industry and through FPS, we aim to incentivize export and reduce India's current account deficit, both are good for the country and industry.

Certification of Equipment like definition of performance, safety and operation is a big issue as there is no specific/unified guideline, and everyone interprets it as per their own preferences and understanding, hence there is a lot of confusion among end users; what are your suggestions on the same?

A certification body for the Construction Equipment industry will help in solving these issues. Currently, we have CMVR (Central Motor Vehicle Rules) certification given by ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) for all the wheeled equipment. For tracked equipment, as they do not ply on roads, we do not have an industry authority to provide any kind of certification - be it in terms of product, safety, emissions etc.

iCEMA has been closely interacting with the Department of Heavy Industry and other organization for setting up an independent test centre for construction equipment industry. This test facility will also serve as a training ground for service engineers thus, improving the overall customer support.

There is a dearth of skilled manpower/operators in the industry. Don't you think there is a dire need of a collective approach from the CE industry to address this issue?

Lack of skilled manpower is one of the prime concerns for the industry. According to the ICEMA-CII- Accenture Vision 2020 report, by 2020, the industry would require over 2 million skilled personnel for the maintenance and operation of equipment which is over and above the workforce employed at present.

To meet this burgeoning demand, iCEMA has submitted its proposal to National Skill Development Corporation for setting up Sector Skill Council for the Construction Equipment Industry. The National Skill Development Council (NSDC) facilitates the development and upgrading of the skills of the growing Indian workforce through skill training programs.

icema meeting

Once we have an approval from NSDC, we should have lot of centres for training of operators and mechanics which will enhance the safety, productivity of the operator and quality of infrastructure. It will help in generating employment and thus, it will be positive for the industry, infrastructure and economy.

There is a view that both government as well as industry is worrying too much on the fall of the rupee, current account deficit, external borrowings etc. In such situations, don't you think that all need to focus on manufacturing and rejuvenating supply and demand to offset these problems which are more driven by speculations?

Our concentration should certainly be on reviving the manufacturing and demand supply scenario however, weak rupee, high interest rates, drop in investments do play a critical role in deciding the next course of action.

Government's help with Export for e.g. through Focused Product Scheme will go a long way in setting a positive tone in the industry.

The upcoming mega event, EXCON 2013 will help in setting up a positive tone for the industry. This year edition will focus on ensuring inclusive growth for the economy apart from focusing on the national imperatives of energy efficiency, containing pollution emissions, encouraging localization, promoting exports for the sustainable industrial growth.
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