A buoy­ant econ­omy must lift all boats

Some of the best minds in busi­ness dis­cuss how to mould Re­forms 2.0

The Hindu Business Line - - THE HUDDLE - THOMAS K THOMAS

Pol­icy-mak­ers and in­dus­try should now fo­cus more on the ex­e­cu­tion of plans and ad­dress­ing struc­tural is­sues than merely an­nounc­ing in­cen­tives and sops to en­cour­age eco­nomic growth in In­dia. While the first wave of eco­nomic re­forms led to GDP growth, the real chal­lenge now is to make the growth more broad-based to cover sec­tors such as agri­cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, and health­care.

This was the sum and sub­stance of the panel dis­cus­sion on “Re­forms: time for Ver­sion 2.0,” mod­er­ated by Ragha­van Srini­vasan, Ed­i­tor, Busi­nessLine, in Bengaluru.

“When 50 per cent of the world’s stunted chil­dren live in In­dia and if in­deed there is

15 per cent or 16 per cent re­ported un­em­ploy­ment then these are not good sta­tis­tics. In eco­nomic terms. yes we’ve got a pretty de­cent rate of growth of 7.5 per cent over the past decade or so, but re­ly­ing merely on GDP growth may not be enough as it just mea­sures one sliver of a na­tion’s de­vel­op­ment,” Vinita Bali, for­mer

BVR Mo­han Reddy (left), Founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man, Cyient; Vinita Bali, for­mer MD of Bri­tan­nia In­dus­tries; and Ke­shav Mu­rugesh (right), group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, WNS Global Ser­vices, with Ragha­van Srini­vasan, Ed­i­tor, Busi­nessLine

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Bri­tan­nia In­dus­tries Ltd, said.

Min­i­mal govern­ment

Ke­shav Mu­rugesh, Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, WNS Global Ser­vices, said the de­pen­dence on govern­ment in­cen­tives and poli­cies should be min­i­mal. “We didn’t wait for sops and re­forms. We cre­ated a busi­ness out of what no one wanted to do. To­day, there are 17,000 com­pa­nies, 1.3 mil­lion em­ploy­ees di­rectly in­volved, $37 bil­lion of rev­enue,” he said, about the growth in the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing sec­tor. BVR Mo­han Reddy, Founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man, Cyient, said in­cen­tives alone

were not go­ing to help in­dus­tries grow. “We need in­fra­struc­ture and tal­ent. There’s a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen in the ed­u­ca­tion space. There are 16.87 lakh seats avail­able across engi­neer­ing in­sti­tutes in the coun­try of which only 51 per cent were taken by stu­dents and the em­ploy­a­bil­ity is not more than 31-32 per cent. That’s a big dis­ap­point­ment,” Reddy said. “There has to be some in­ter­ven­tion here, start­ing with im­prov­ing the fac­ulty.”

Srini­vasan said while the ba­sic phi­los­o­phy be­hind the first wave of re­forms was to en­sure the share of man­u­fac­tur­ing in GDP grew sub­stan­tially, which in turn cre­ated more jobs, the real prob­lem was be­ing faced by the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in terms of re­mu­ner­a­tive pric­ing for farm­ers.

Agree­ing with this ob­ser­va­tion, Bali said, “We are spend­ing

too much time solv­ing the prob­lems of the rich. The soft­ware in­dus­try, which we are all proud of em­ploys 3-4 mil­lion peo­ple, but there are 35 mil­lion weavers who have no voice.”

Job cre­ation

Com­ment­ing on the poli­cies to en­cour­age the start-up ecosys­tem, Mu­rugesh said to fo­cus on start-ups was good as it in­di­cated the shift in thought from look­ing for a job to cre­at­ing jobs. Bali said the fo­cus should shift from start-up to scale up to fun­da­men­tally change the ecosys­tem.

“We need to build ca­pa­bil­i­ties that de­liver on a plan. Other­wise, we have money chas­ing start-ups and not scale-ups due to which cap­i­tal pro­duc­tiv­ity is low. We also have to start think­ing in terms of re­turn on labour just as much as we think about re­turn on cap­i­tal.”

Chart­ing a new path K MU­RALI KU­MAR

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.