UNIDO workshop on policies for Industry 4.0 in Tamil Nadu

Chennai; 2-4 May 2023: The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with the support of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), conducted a three-day workshop on Industry 4.0 for policy makers from the Government of Tamil Nadu, in cooperation with Guidance, the investment promotion agency of the State Government.

The workshop focused on providing an overview of key concepts and terminologies related to Industry 4.0; an overview of policy options and strategies adopted globally, including important policy areas relevant for intervention vis-à-vis digitalization, in Tamil Nadu.

Policy makers were sensitized about the approaches that different advanced and emerging economies have taken to further adoption of Industry 4.0. The experience of the Republic of Korea was highlighted, through interactions with policy makers currently in charge of digital innovation. The sessions also included experience-sharing by non-firm actors of the innovation ecosystem, such as Centres of Excellence and research institutions, to understand respective roles in fostering collaboration towards adoption of advanced digital production practices.

The deliberations highlighted three areas that deserve particular attention: strengthening of foundational and digital capabilities including developing framework conditions to embrace the new technologies (business ecosystem, infrastructure); fostering demand for advanced digital production, including by leveraging ongoing successful applications; and strengthening requisite skills (ICT, analytics, problem solving) and research capabilities. Further, the need for transition-aiding policies, including responses to disruptions in labour markets and other undesirable potential outcomes, was also highlighted.

UNIDO emphasized the importance of differentiating policy interventions to support the ‘user’ side, that is, manufacturing firms’ adoption of digital solutions as well as the ‘supply’ side, that is, capabilities of technology suppliers and innovative start-ups to develop and provide solutions appropriate and affordable for user industries.

UNIDO also shed light on approaches for arriving at an optimal policy mix and prioritization of possible interventions, including use of UNIDO toolkits available for evidence-based policy making.

The workshop was attended by over 40 officials from the State Government, representing departments such as Industries and Commerce; MSMEs; Labour; Education and skilling; and Finance, among others. The cross-departmental deliberations allowed for fruitful discussions on ways forward for facilitating adoption of Industry 4.0 in Tamil Nadu. The Honourable Minister for Industries, Investment Promotion, and Commerce, Thiru. Thangam Thennarasu graced the workshop and awarded certificates to the participants. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the workshop, Thiru. Thennarasu expressed that such deliberations and experience sharing exercises are most timely, given Tamil Nadu’s advanced manufacturing aspirations. He appreciated the emerging suggestion on embedding Industry 4.0-related policies in the prevalent manufacturing practices and requirements of different firms, and highlighted that the Government of Tamil Nadu looks forward to further collaborations with UNIDO in extending targeted support to the manufacturing sector. UNIDO and Guidance Tamil Nadu also exchanged a Letter of Interest for enhanced collaboration in driving advanced manufacturing in the State.