India Private Sector: ET CEO Roundtable: ‘To deliver on promise, unleash private sector’s animal spirits’


India needs to unleash the ‘animal spirits’ of the private sector while remaining fiscally prudent to grow at far higher rates than at present, leveraging the unique demographic dividend it enjoys, top industry executives and government officials said.

India is ‘reaching an inflection point” on investment and needs to really tap into the sunrise sectors was the key message at the panel discussion titled ‘India’s decade: Can the country deliver on its promise?” at the ET Jury Roundtable held in the lead-up to The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2022.

Bringing more women into the workforce, skilling the young population, and leveraging the company’s digital and tech prowess were the other suggestions.

India Private Sector: ET CEO Roundtable: ‘To deliver on promise, unleash private sector’s animal spirits’

“India can benefit from demographic dividend only if we grow at higher rates…need to grow at 9-10% year after year for three decades,” said Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa.

“This is going to happen on the back of going green which has the potential to attract value and capital. The other thing is to drive the capital expenditure.”

However, Kant cautioned that the country will need to be fiscally responsible, flagging how over 70 countries were in deep fiscal stress.

India Private Sector: ET CEO Roundtable: ‘To deliver on promise, unleash private sector’s animal spirits’

“It is important that we get the animal spirit of the private sector going. This can happen through technological leapfrogging and getting into sunrise sectors like green hydrogen and electric mobility among others,” said Kant.“It is these sunrise sectors that will give India 10 X growth and lead to job creation.”

K Subramanian, India’s executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said India with a 7% growth is an outlier, especially when compared with advanced economies that have 2.5 times the inflation and low growth.

“…we have to enable manufacturing sector growth,” said Subramanian, who was chief economic advisor earlier.

N Venkatram, managing partner and CEO at Deloitte India said that India is at an inflection point and that companies have lined up investments.

“The question is only of timing. It (investment) has slowed down a bit because of the pandemic,” he said, answering the much-debated issue of private sector investment.

He also felt sunrise sectors would propel growth. “Think about the potential that 5G will bring about. We should focus more on financial inclusion.”

Other members in the panel were Sanjiv Mehta, CEO, HUL, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute, Harsh Mariwala, chairman, Marico, M Damodaran, former chairman, Sebi, Preetha Reddy, vice chairperson, Apollo Hospitals, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder, InfoEdge, and Haigreve Khaitan, partner, Khaitan & Co.

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