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Why India Should Adopt A Cautious Approach in Implementing Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0 is a buzz word among big industries, academia and policymakers nowadays. It is considered as Fourth Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution started in the eighteenth century (1784) with the invention and use of steam power and water power that led to an increase in production and profit. The Second Industrial Revolution started in the late nineteenth century (1870) employing the use of electricity and assembly line in industries leading to mass production. The Third Industrial Revolution started in the second half of the nineteenth century (1969) that was characterised by the use of computerization and automation in industries. The fourth Industrial Revolution led by developed countries and more specifically by Germany envisages the use of the cyber-physical-biological system with the use of robotics, automatic guided vehicles, artificial intelligence, big data analysis, machine learning, cloud computing and internet of thing (IoT) and human-machine interface etc. 


The main features of Industry 4.0 are sensing, collecting and processing a large amount of data in the production process for machine-based decision and implementation. Though this system has got some added advantages like the elimination of human error, efficient use of assets and other resources increasing productivity and quality, but in this process, it will replace the human labour to a great extent. Moreover, the higher ratio of skilled manpower to semi-skilled and unskilled manpower will be required in Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 may be useful for developed countries like Germany, Japan, US and other developed countries who are facing the problem of labour shortage due to the dwindling young population and high labour cost, and therefore, they are compelled to import labour from third world countries to fuel their economies which are in-turn creating many other social and political problem in host countries. Therefore, Industry 4.0 is being considered as a tool to address this issue by many developed countries. However, this may not be the case with countries like India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran etc who have a large young population seeking employment.


However, countries like Germany who has invested a lot in research and development (R&D) in developing technologies and system required for Industry 4.0 would like to have a reasonable return on their investment. They can't get an adequate return on their investment by employing these technologies only in developed countries. Therefore, they would try to create new markets and developing countries are the potential market where they will try to market these technologies vigorously. However, in order to catch up with the emerging technologies used in Industry 4.0, developing countries like India should employ these technologies in a limited way. India should adopt Industry 4.0 very selectively and cautiously in those industries only where the safety of human being, health hazards and quality and precision in products due to human error is an issue.  

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