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Finally, We Have A PM Relentlessly Pushing Reforms: Dinesh C. Paliwal, President and CEO, HARMAN

He tells that he is gung ho on India and the second term of a government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Dinesh C. Paliwal, President and CEO, HARMAN, a subsidiary of the South Korean Samsung Electronics, tells Avishek Banerjee that he is gung ho on India and the second term of a government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. HARMAN designs and engineers products and solutions for automakers, consumers and enterprises.


How important is the Indian market for you?
The Indian market is very important. We’re betting bigger than most American or European corporations would, mainly because I have a very good understanding of this market. I have known the market well. I was the chairman of ABB India. So I know that you need to come in early in India and China. Don’t wait for everything to be ready. So we came in ten years ago and now we have nearly 10,000 employees and they are serving worldwide in R&D development for mission-critical large complex programmes being developed here.

I learn that you are a big fan of PM Modi …
I like strong leaders. I really appreciate the fact that he believes in certain things and that he doesn’t compromise – which is great. He likes transparency. I grew up in the country, so I know that we lost a lot of time. We deserve better. I think Prime Minister Modi is pushing for accountability and transparency, and he’s also pushing people to take risks to grow technology and to have global trade. And he has put India on the world map.

For me, he’s a chief sales officer of India. When the Prime Minister of India goes anywhere, he positions India with the highest pride and passion  that is very important. That is my job when I go around the world, I position Harman as its CEO. He’s a chief executive officer of  the country and he is doing a fantastic job. When he comes to California and the Bay Area, he is seen sitting with Mark Zuckerberg, and with Google and Microsoft – even Tesla. He is saying, ‘Listen, why don’t we collaborate? Come, I’ll help you grow your business’. This is what successful country presidents and prime ministers do. So, I’m very happy with what he’s doing.

Second, Modi 2.0. He has put up a very good cabinet. Yes, I know Nirmala Sitharaman because I had a lot of dealings with her when she was the Commerce Minister and I was operating from the USA. People like her. She’s comes from the corporate world, so she understands what the needs of  business are.

Finally, we have a Prime Minister who is trying to relentlessly push certain programmes and reforms. A lot has been done in the ease of doing business in India and transparency in the last five years.

So, have structural reform like the GST, the digital push and demonetisation gone in the right direction?
I think so. How is your life without digitisation? You do everything with digital and   social media. That’s what he’s pushing. (People were) stashing cash around and doing business. That’s why, the black economy was twice the size of India’s economy. He’s going after that. I think what he’s pushing is very highly appreciated worldwide.

You need a standardised tax system. You need continuity, you need consistency.  The GST is a reform that plugs all the loopholes (in the tax system) so that our treasury starts to collect more taxes. Right now, how many people pay taxes? So again, I’m hoping our new Finance Minister would do many more reforms.

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harman Dinesh C. Paliwal