Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram mocked the Modi government over India's industrial policy, saying that no country can build an economy on Uber and WeWork. During an exclusive interview with BusinessToday.In, Chidambaram said that no country has become an economic power without a strong manufacturing base.
"You cannot build an economy on Uber and WeWork. You need three dimensional factors which produce goods and equivalent, and which produces services," he explained.
It should be noted that Japanese technology major SoftBank has been shaken by huge losses in office-space sharing startup WeWork. SoftBank's Vision Fund had made massive investment in WeWork, which reported a net loss of $1.25 billion in the third quarter.
Chidambaram said that we missed the first industrial revolution, but tried to catch up in some areas like automobiles. "We are a major manufacturer of automobiles today, especially two-wheelers, but we lost out of the electronics manufacturing. Now, I'm afraid, we are losing out on artificial intelligence, robotics," he said.
"This government is completely clueless about how to make India a manufacturing hub," he added.
Chidambaram said that his best experience has been bringing the automobile majors to India - 1992 onwards.
The year 2019 was one of the worst years for the automobile industry with falling sales and rising inventory. An unprecedented slump gripped the auto industry which forced automakers to cut investment and production, which resulted in record job losses in the sector.
On Indian economy, Chidambaram, who presented eight Budgets as finance minister, said that it faces serious problems of both structural and cyclical nature. The structural problems are deeper and more serious, he said. He also cited few heads where the crisis has deepened, including non-food credit, exports, NPAs, stalled projects, fiscal deficit, revenue collection, and expenditure constraints. In each of these areas, the crisis is deeper today than what it was three-four months ago, he said, adding that there is simply no improvement.
By Chitranjan Kumar