SMBs need to be Industry 4.0 ready: FKCCI President K Ravi

May 21, 2018

The Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce Industries (FKCCI) is one of the epic industry bodies in the state of Karnataka and there are more than 3000 members across the state. Apart from the direct members, there are 150 associations which are affiliated to FKCCI. Apart from that, it  also has 29 district chambers of commerces under it.

This chamber, started in 1916 by Sir M Visvesvaraya, organises a number of activities for the small and medium businesses like facilitating visa applications, holding workshops on GST, running foreign language courses, and much more.

In an interaction with SMBStory, K Ravi, President of FKCCI, elaborates the various activities of the chamber, emphasising the need for the SMBs to be Industry 4.0 ready.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

SMBStory: You talked about skill training industry 4.0. Could you please elaborate?

K Ravi: Industry 4.0 talks about the Internet of Things (IoT), about Artificial Intelligence (AI), it talks about robotics, how to improve the production and the manufacturing by using this software and whatever. Now what has happened today in terms of manufacturing, Karnataka is lagging behind when you compare us to Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu or Gujarat. Whereas in IT, we are very strong. Now how do we do that? We are setting up a Centre of Excellence for the purpose and Rs 5 crores have been allocated. We have purchased land from the KIDB at a 50% concession and we have bought about 1.6 acres of land. This particular land  is in Dabaspet is Sompura industrial, and is going to be used for skill development.

Now the objective of the FKCCI is to see how-how a student who wants this knowledge can get it here instead of having to go to Germany or Switzerland, where they may spend about Rs 30-40 lakhs.

Now, why don’t we get a trainer here from these countries and train these people? To that extent, we can train more than 200 people at maybe 1/10th of the cost. This is our idea, and I know this will take a couple of years to get set up. We’re putting a special purpose vehicle for this particular activity and I’m sure in the coming days we should be able to churn out more and more engineers who are Industry 4.0 ready.

SMBStoty: You also spoke about setting up an agritech cell?

K Ravi: Yes, we’re going to shortlist our agritech cell. There’s no particular platform for agriculture. Today, there’s a tremendous opportunity in this sector. But around 60% of the people are in agriculture and yet they only contribute 14% of the GDP.  We at FKCCI said why don’t we do some handholding.

The Mango Development Board came up to us and said why don’t you help us? They have concerns like high freight charges, lack of good technology for processing of mango pulp etc. Then we said ok fine, so we arranged the meeting with the consulate from Israel, Australia, and from places like the US and Japan.

So when we had these discussions a lot of things came out. Then the mango development board took a delegation to Israel last month and I was also a party to it, we had meetings with the deputy ambassador Dr Anju Kumar and we also had a meeting with the Israel Chamber of Commerce, and we went to all the kibbutz and these various places where mangoes, bananas, and other fruits are grown and I tell you, the technology and everything is absolutely fantastic.

Of late, there are a lot of startups in agritechnology so why can’t we do this. A person there sits on his mobile at home connected to the GPS and he says how much water has to go when it has to go. With a click of a button, he is able to monitor the water flow. So these are things that we thought. So keeping all this in mind, we said why don’t we collaborate with them. We signed an MOU with the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

Watch the full interview here:


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