Jibak Dasgupta Director General & CEO, IMTMA and BIEC

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As an experienced professional who has worked in several organizations, including CII, how did you land up here? Please give a brief overview of your background and your role in the company.

Jibak Dasgupta. It has been a great honour for me to be associated with IMTMA, an association with a rich history of more than seven decades that goes back into the pre-independence era. Before joining IMTMA, I was heading the CII Naoroji Godrej Centre of Manufacturing Excellence in Mumbai, CII’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship department in Delhi and CII Maharashtra State Office in Mumbai. My work has enabled to successfully establish an enterprise innovation maturity framework to implement structured innovation processes within firms. This framework was key to the establishment of the CII Industrial Innovation Awards which annually recognizes top innovation driven Indian enterprises in manufacturing and services domains. I also had the opportunity to work with Global Innovation Index from 2011 till 2017.

I have had the good fortune to be an active member of various public and private policy advocacy groups. This has enriched me in becoming a seasoned professional in knowledge ecosystem building, formulation of industrial policy, promotion of R&D and technology, and development of industrial capacity in manufacturing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Coming back to IMTMA, one of my foremost priorities is to make IMTMA an industry body that provides professional and technical advice to member companies and the government. This will help realise the visionary goals that the Indian machine tool industry has set for itself. My other aim is to make IMTMA a more research-oriented organization, help member companies explore more overseas markets, track and analyse what is trending domestically and internationally and help the industry improve its global positioning.

How IMTMA is instrumental in leading development role of the machine tool industry? As a guiding force behind IMTMA and its members, could you share with us some of its major accomplishments over the years?

Jibak Dasgupta. The journey of IMTMA began right in 1946 when it was formed with 19 companies. Since then it has been working to strengthen the Indian machine tool industry and help it find its own space amongst the global machine tool manufacturing fraternity. One of the prime ideas being

to make India self-sufficient in machine tools and manufacturing technologies and make it an important member of the global machine tool fraternity.

IMTMA has played an advocacy role with the Government of India and Government of Karnataka to create some of the national assets such as Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Centre (AMTDC) at IIT-Madras in Chennai, Advanced Machine Tool Testing Facility (AMTTF) in Bengaluru and a one of its kind Tumakuru Machine Tool Park (TMTP) in Vasanthanarasapura, Tumakuru district.

Machine tool builders, academia and the government have joined forces in developing key technologies at AMTDC such as development of low-cost machine tending robot, automation of grinding process intelligence, development of 5-axis universal machining centre, development of 5-axis CNC multi-tasking machine, etc. All these projects will be instrumental in building next generation machines for the Indian machine tool industry. AMTTF tests the performance, safety of machines and develop solutions in enhancing the efficiency and performance of machines. IMTMA supports the Government of Karnataka to promote TMTP. Industrial plots are being allotted to machine tool companies in the 530 acres land. TMTP connects the domestic and international OEMs and supply chain to set up manufacturing facilities for building machines under the Make in India and Make for World initiatives. IMTMA has also constituted task forces for addressing the requirements of auto and emerging sectors such as electronics, furniture, renewable energy, etc. The Association is not only offering machines but also offers sector-based solutions.

Where does Indian machine tools industry stand globally? What is the outlook for the industry?

Jibak Dasgupta. Indian machine tool industry has been trying to improve its position in the global ranking despite various challenges. The World Machine Tool Survey published by Gardner Intelligence in its latest edition states that in 2021, India holds 11th position in production and is placed 8th in consumption in the global ranking. India had improved its position by two places in the global machine tool producing nations list as against its ranking in 2020. Indian machine tool production is estimated to have reached around 9,000 crores, and consumption is estimated to have reached around 15, 000 crores. Production is estimated to have increased by around 40% year-on-year in 2021-22 and consumption is estimated to have increased by around 30% year-on-year in 2021-22. The order book positioning indicates a healthy trend, and a steady performance is expected in 2023.

According to you, what are the key challenges for the Indian machine tools industry?

Jibak Dasgupta. Well, every industry faces challenges, and the Indian machine tool industry isn’t an exception as it also is trying to overcome bottlenecks. It is very pertinent to mention that some of these are diverse and demanding. Examples include the rising cost of raw materials which impacts profit margins. The constant rise in fuel prices is affecting logistics. Supply chain issues are becoming more prominent with the rise of pandemic in China. Prolonged Ukraine-Russia war is putting pressure on businesses. The dollar continuing to remain strong against the rupee is impacting trade. Imported machines pose challenges to domestic machine tool manufacturers. Also with the clear shift of Automobile industry in terms of its direction towards EV from conventional IC engines the Indian machine tool industry needs to introspect and strategize deeply its future growth options.

Could you share with us the highlights of your session at IEIA Open Seminar 2022, Mumbai?

Jibak Dasgupta. As part of the panel discussion held during the plenary session of the IEIA Open Seminar 2022 in Mumbai, panellists deliberated on the development of the Indian exhibition industry on various frontiers. I shared my views on how India is one of the fastest developing economies and with exhibitions playing an enabling role to develop trade and economy. I also highlighted the role played by exhibition centres in India and how they are modernizing and scaling up facilities to attract more international shows. Further, I highlighted the need to support exhibition organizers who are organizing shows in smaller cities which can create demand for goods and services in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and subsequently lead to growth of Indian Exhibition Industry.

How has BIEC aided the industry in inclusive engagement and trade development in the country?

Jibak Dasgupta. BIEC is India’s one of the most sophisticated venue for exhibitions, conferences and seminars and corporate events. In its 15+ years history the venue has served as a platform for global congregation. It has convened a synergic ecosystem where the industry bonds with academy, research, social and environmental sustainability. By being a member of reputed national and international associations BIEC has been instrumental in enabling the Indian exhibition industry’s evolvement. All these years every important industrial sector has found an international venue in BIEC. Some major flagship events of the Government of India, Government of Karnataka, several big and small Indian and foreign exhibitions have been held with great success. All these had a multiplier effect in building up of India’s trading prowess.

According to you, what are the dominant technology trends in this industry?

Jibak Dasgupta. Digitalization has been making big inroads into the exhibition and events space, and this has been prominent over the last two years. Data analytics is crucial in analyzing live in-show data, and exhibition organizers can gain insights on fine-tuning their event presence and performance. It will also help cementing relations with focused business visitors.

With each role, comes different responsibilities, how do you minimize your role conflict and time pressures that lead to daily stress and strain? On a personal note, we are curious to know what keeps you busy when you are away from work?

Jibak Dasgupta. It is true that with bigger responsibility comes greater challenges in dealing with conflict and work related stress. In my view it can be dealt with by keeping strong focus on the goal that we set for ourselves to achieve. With a defined purpose and shared values all such challenges can be conquered eventually. On a personal note, I try to keep myself busy in household chores, reading and sometimes travelling when not working, and pursue not to bring work to home as much as possible.

What message would you like to share with the industry?

Jibak Dasgupta. The exhibition industry needs to attune itself to what is trending globally, modernise, have global outlook, and create better standards.