How Indian Economy Can Grow Thinking Like Corporate
Come to the regular budget post-re-election and the subsequent “slow-down” and one notices that the economy seems to be slipping. India slips from being the fifth largest economy to the seventh in 2018.
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It was heartening to have the interim Finance Minister layout the VISION statement in his interim budget in Feb 2019. PM Modi and his Government envisage India to be a $5 trillion economy by 2030.
Outlining the ten pointers which highlighted that how India would achieve this goal, Modi Government and Mr. Piyush Goyal wrote what the route was too: Physical and Social Infrastructure; Digital India; Make India Pollution-free; Make in India; Clean rivers and make safe drinking water; Blue economy; Space leadership; Create healthy India; Proactive and responsible Bureaucracy.
At a macro-level, this was pretty much the vision-mission-goals/objectives that a corporate write. It was a great start.
Or so felt some of the senior corporate honchos.
Come to the regular budget post-re-election and the subsequent “slow-down” and one notices that the economy seems to be slipping. India slips from being the fifth largest economy to the seventh in 2018. India’s per capita income is barely $300 ahead of Bangladesh and $400 ahead of Pakistan.
Indian economy is seeking a stimulus like never before. How does India move ahead?
Below is how a Corporate would approach it….
Establish ground zero – It is critical to have reliable macro-economic data on key indices. The more data gets “decorated” the lesser are the possibilities of taking data-based course corrections. If unemployment is at 40 years high, it is! If the WPI or the food inflation is at a high, let’s acknowledge that they are high.
Engage with stakeholders – Few policymakers and administrators cannot make a significant difference. It is important to engage, understand and align with every stakeholder – industry captains; traders; consumers; financers.
Publish policy/implementation document – To rejuvenate the FPI/FII and other big investors and multinational companies, revisit every single document. Publish the process with escalation matrices. Ensure 100 per cent transparency.
Treat every Chief Minister as P&L head – Biggest “black sheep” are the Individual states. Make every Chief Minister a P&L head. Let him/her service the debt, earn income and then spend commensurately. Let individual Chief Ministers own GSDP. Every single sop/welfare scheme being rolled out should be completely serviceable from the revenue generated from within the state.
Take milestone-based investment targets- Make a Gantt chart on investments. Encourage, support and facilitate investment in key focus areas defined above. Share with the citizens what the journey is going to entail and ensure that the projects are fast-tracked.
Let the CSR monies be utilized for skill-building and social infrastructure. If Make in India is the prerogative, let each company commit to getting at least 60 per cent of the components manufactured in India.
Entrust and empower the DCs, District in charge MPs and MLAs be the custodians of development of each district.
Fast track all infrastructure projects. It may not be a bad idea to not penalizing the infrastructure companies that have suffered heavy losses on account of regulatory issues.
Core cross-functional team that inter-links rivers. The agrarian economy needs fertile land. Quality seeds. Accessible technology. Better storage of and high realization of the price of the produce. India needs better distribution and lower wastage.
Change the narrative – When the vision is to grow, the narrative cannot be only on greater tax recoveries. It is observed in Corporates that when the Corporates emphasize on growth, they become “sales organizations” and when they emphasize on consolidation, they become “cost/recovery conscious organizations”. While it is true that they need to co-exist, it is important to state the narrative upfront so that those interested know what to expect.
The current Government led by Prime Minister Modi has demonstrated its ability to depart from the conventional norms and embark on extremely focused operations. Whether it is the Defense or the Home Ministry or the department of Space Technology, they have all shown the tenacity to strategize, mobilize resources in a short time to execute path-breaking and remarkable tasks. It is imminently possible for this government to embark on a similar task-oriented approach to make India a growth-hungry economy.
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