Government should address the challenges confronting power sector“Other developing countries have tried to promote indigenous industry and reduce dependence on foreign goods by enforcing laws and regulations that encourage the transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures,” emphasises J. G. Kulkarni, President, IEEMAPower sector requires focused attention of government to protect its interests. J. G. Kulkarni tells how government’s participation will accelerate the growth of the industry.Indian transformers industry registered a degrowth of 26 per cent in FY 12-13 compared to a growth of 25 per cent in FY 11-12. Could you highlight the reasons behind?Delays in project or order finalisations are happening due to precarious financial health of state utilities. Further, buyers are not accepting ordered materials, piling up equipment stock, which are mostly customised, in the manufacturers’ premises. Also, slackening demand in the power sector, continuous rise in imports of electrical equipment, especially China and South Korea and an absence of a level-playing field have been eating into the domestic manufacturers’ pie.What’s the best way to come out of this sorry state?The government should expeditiously address the challenges confronting the country’s power sector, including the problems in fuel linkages, land acquisition, environmental and other clearances and precarious financial health of utilities.Increase in import is alarming as far as electrical equipment industry is concerned. Does the lack of competitiveness within the domestic manufacturing sector is eating into its pie?An efficient power supply system is a key ingredient for economic growth and quality of life. The electrical equipment manufacturing industry requires the focused attention of government to protect our interests by providing us a level-playing field that would equip the industry to fight imports. Other developing countries have tried to promote indigenous industry and reduce dependence on foreign goods by enforcing laws and regulations that encourage the transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures. This provides a base for local companies to develop advanced technologies and enhance their ability to compete with the multinational companies in both domestic and international markets.What actions should be taken to enhance competitiveness within the domestic transformers manufacturing sector?The industry should be able to enhance its level of competitiveness by focusing on employee productivity, plant productivity, automation and upgrading of manufacturing practices, product innovation, etc. Government’s participation in these initiatives will accelerate the growth process. The policies of the Government of India along with the state governments have to provide a level-playing field in the country.Is there any ray of hope in export when it comes to transformers industry?Indian manufacturers need to explore international markets to address low capacity utilisation. Some large Indian electrical equipment manufacturers are already expanding their global presence. Indian companies are aggressively targeting exports, mainly to developing countries in Africa and Latin America.