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After A Good Start, This Journey Cannot Be Derailed

We fought for centuries for freedom from external and internal aggressors and today have the distinction of being the world’s largest democracy

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India is 72. In today’s world that’s not considered old by human life standards. What about a country then? Yes, India is still a young country both in its aspirations and its independence. But we have an ancient past and a great destiny which we must fulfill.

We fought for centuries for freedom from external and internal aggressors and today have the distinction of being the world’s largest democracy. So what are we going to do for our country to keep it safe, strong, wealthy, sustainable and free? 

Corporate India is often besieged with issues and exigencies which challenge and delay how we do business but that’s not an excuse to stop trying.

First and most important freedom for business is a level-playing field. How can India be free if the business policy can be manipulated to benefit a few? At every level, checks and balances must safeguard from this. From land to licences to permissions and exemptions we tip the scales to favour a few. 

The RTI act, the huge influx of technology and Media has definitely improved this area but we need to continue to push the boundaries. Here, it’s definitely only a work in progress. 

Consider that in the Ease of Doing Business index by the World Bank, India ranks a very creditable 100 out of 190 countries. This is up 40 places in the last few years alone. Definitely, it’s easier to start or close a business today. But is this apparent in all sectors? Are MSMEs still struggling to get credit 159 rank, licenses and construction permit 180 rank and paying taxes 119 rank? 

On the plus side we get electricity connections faster, public listed companies have stricter governance requirements and as important most state governments have relaxed the rules for fixed-term employment. Across the board, issues are no longer simmering or shelved there is actual work being done State by State to attract investors and keep the business running.

Corporate India also needs to have a wider more encompassing lense than just their own business. CII is working on India @75. This is a mission to have “developed inclusive and sustainable India by 2022” that will shape the new world order through economic strength, technological vitality, and moral leadership. 

The 2% CSR spending by corporate India is also a result of greater responsibility sharing. These two aspects clearly point to a changed relationship between company and country, greater alignment and freedom. We are off to a good start, politics will determine the rate of change but cannot derail this great journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Independence day 2018 Magazine 18 August 2018

Shobana Kamineni

The author is President CII & Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited

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