The recently concluded India Economic Summit under the aegis of the World Economic Forum debated India in all its colors and flavors. What has India achieved, and where is she headed? Is she doing it right, or is there a need for a shift of focus?
Are you happy with the way India’s being governed? Do you think regional and caste-based parties and coalition governments interfere with India’s progress? While this may be true, India has marched on. What would improve the confidence of its citizens are greater public accountability and a program of development that cuts across ideological barriers.
How should India consolidate its gains?
Sustainable growth is achievable if the growing divide between the rich and poor is reduced, and the poor are included in the growth model. Education and opportunity for all will improve India’s competitiveness just as much as quality, cost and adaptability.
Is the rising rupee a danger to competitiveness?
Yes. Lack of infrastructure prevents industry from improving performance to offset the rise. If higher value were placed on infrastructure growth, the rise would not have the same effect. Capital outflows in the form of investments abroad may also help.
Will India be able to set up centers of excellence?
Can India enhance its deliverables across the board, or will there be small islands of quality in an ordinary ocean? How will the urban-rural gap be bridged? Mechanization of agriculture and lack of basic amenities in the village are drawing people to cities; this cannot be stopped.
How good are India’s SEZs?
Though the model is successful, lack of connectivity and infrastructure are telling on productivity and this needs to be addressed urgently. 6 linked factors will impact business: people, water, disease, oil, globalization and climate. Reacting early can enable one to make the most of the opportunities available.
What’s the way forward
Financial reforms and access to products are other areas of concern. Business and life will be impacted by resource profligacy. Retail and healthcare will become bigger and the right positioning is necessary to take advantage of this. In the end, there is only one imperative – infrastructure.
What roadblocks have you faced in your venture? Will the Summit help? If you were Finance Minister, in which direction would you want to steer India’s economic growth?