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India@100: Build A Process

Dreams materialise only when we work to realise them

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India’s 70th Independence Day is the perfect time for the country to find ways to better itself — lose its flab, shake things up, and, of course, the most critical, align conflicting interests by giving them a sense of collective purpose. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make India a manufacturing hub and the introduction of ‘Make In India’ is a perfect example of breaking the status quo. To become a true manufacturer, we must develop capabilities in core products — complex metals, machinery and chemical goods that require sophisticated development capabilities — besides ensuring large-scale production of tangential products as well.

As the country looks to become a manufacturing hub, the Indian automotive industry, the sixth largest producer of automobiles in the world, has its own list of contributions to add to Modi’s grand vision. The industry grew at over 14 per cent over the past decade, bringing India to its current rank in terms of volume and value. The sector employed 12.5 million people and contributed nearly 5 per cent to the GDP. The industry is now looking to better the existing models to meet some key demands. Strengthening infrastructure and access for public transport, promoting clean fuel, and supporting energy-efficient modes of transport are some of the objectives that we must achieve soon.

While a lot has been achieved in the past 70 years, there is so much still left to be done. Corporate India, must make sure it takes a leadership role in this movement. Increase in CSR spending must continue coupled with a more robust strategic approach. While CSR in India remains philanthropy-oriented, there has been a discernible shift from institutional building to community development. But there is still a greater need to transcend CSR execution policies from a focus on post-profit execution to weaving in such CSR measures that influence profit itself.

The world is rapidly changing and with it the opportunity to tap into international markets. As India sets its eyes on introducing new sources of capital, we must improve delivery capacity so as to make the country an attractive destination to global infrastructure investors. With it follows the need to introduce a “single window process” for planning and approval and curbing bureaucratic red-tape.

Slow reform progress prevents the Indian economy from growing at a faster rate. India’s position has strongly improved since 2013, but there are challenges ahead. India has a large, diversified economy that limits its vulnerability to external shocks but the agricultural sector remains the main employer and we continue to be dependent on the monsoon. That is why I feel a desperate need to introduce liberalisation 2.0.

And if there is a goal, there also has to be a process to achieve it. Dreams materialise only when we work to realise them. While we talk a lot about setting a goal, that is realistically only 5 per cent of the job. Implementing it is 95 per cent, and people from all walks of life are integral to this 95 per cent.

The Indian economy will continue to grow at a faster pace than China’s in 2017 as well as 2018, according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook Update. Our demographic edge should ideally allow us to not only scale up the economy but also our collective ambition while maintaining the vibrant social ethos missing in the Chinese structure.

 The 70th Independence Day, therefore, is the perfect occasion to reiterate our commitment to building a strong, sustainable and prosperous nation. We are positive that India, under the able leadership of Modi, will translate its promise into a living reality.

The author is Chairman, Apollo Tyres

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.

Onkar Kanwar

The author is chairman, Apollo Tyres

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