Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA
United States’ President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr., unveiled Rescue and Recovery plan to counter the pandemic and grow the economy. The stimulus plan of US$ 1.9 trillion focuses on priority items such as vaccines, COVID-19 testing, economic plans such as direct payments and unemployment support, to name a few.
The rescue plan is a prelude to a broader growth agenda, where emphasis is placed on manufacturing among other items such as infrastructure investment, etc. In the speech, President-elect Biden stated, “We will buy American products and support millions of American manufacturing jobs.” The plan also calls for investments in research and development enabling innovation and creating new opportunities.
PPEs such as masks have come to prominence as life savers due to the nature of the transmission of the corona virus. World governments will pay attention to boosting their respective advanced manufacturing sectors such as technical textiles, sustainable production, logistics and distribution, as is evident from President-elect Biden’s speech.
The need to have manufacturing resources and supplies such as PPEs within their borders will strengthen manufacturing and allied sectors of nations. Initiatives such as Made in America and India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) will shine new light on manufacturing. Other fields that have direct and indirect influence on manufacturing such as technical education, R & D will also play vital roles towards recovery and growth.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in last month’s Mann Ki Batt (Speech from Heart) talk to the nation emphasized the importance of curiosity for personal growth and highlighted the need for innovation and start-ups to grow the economy. Again, a clear indication that sectors such as manufacturing, and research are attracting high level attentions.
There needs to be a focused attention on developing manufacturing and allied fields, which needs cooperative efforts among stakeholders such as the industry, government, and academia. In this regard, it is good to highlight the efforts, India has been doing for over two decades in promoting the technical textiles sectors. I was personally involved in the effort creating awareness on the nonwovens field, which has enabled India to be self-reliant in PPEs as a countermeasure in the COVID-19 times.
In a recent interview with National Public Radio, United States’ Vice President-elect Kamala Harris highlighted the need to boost the supply of PPEs and the availability of Defense Production Act to gear up resources if necessary. PPE manufacturing, which is a technical textiles sector is garnering attention at the highest levels of governments. Developed economies will surely take steps in growing high-end manufacturing–a positive revival indeed!