‘It is India’s responsibility to display its strength to the world through knowledge and innovations’.

New Delhi: This is what India is doing right. India is at the cusp of becoming an economy which is envied by others. The world is watching India’s persistent and consistent measures to take the country to becoming a leader in the world. Leading the Covid vaccination programme and the Plasmid DNA Vaccine, opening the UN Security Council session, climate protection, investment returns performing better, stable external relationships, political and economic stability delivering ease of doing business and implementation of governance–India is leading the way!
Turning population into an advantage, India has realised its potential of being able to generate and meet that demand through “Make in India”. This has led to Current Account Surplus of .9% of GDP in 2020-21 fiscal year with capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector at 66.6% in Q3’21. Gross Value Added at constant 2010 US$ has risen from US$1.555Tr in 2010 to US$2.678Tr in 2019. FDI in 2019 stood at US$50.61Bn which is 1.76% of GDP. Defence exports have increased from US$262Mn in 2014-15 to US$772Mn in 2020-21. And we have just started. Global brands are getting under pressure from Indian companies through the “Atmanirbhar” initiative launched empowering and enabling the local manufacturers to support the India growth. To give a boost to the run, “Asset Monetization Package” has enabled Public Private Partnerships across the infrastructure sectors (mainly roads, railways, power, oil and gas pipelines and telecom), infrastructure boost (ports, airports, railways and roads) to help inclusive growth across the Tier2/3 towns, leading to India’s growth faster than any other emerging market in the world. On the global map, India is leading the way in becoming a critical pillar in the global supply chain, posing at an attractive alternative destination for global brands by initiatives such as “Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)”.
Alongside this growth, India’s landscape is changing and the confidence of investors in India and its machinery is rising. Domestically, corporates are being challenged by start-ups in India which has become an attractive hub for the start-up industry. The explosive growth in this industry (I think it should be given an industry status now) is an outcome of some factors which India is positioned the best in–country with the most productive population (15-64yes age), country with one of the lowest median age at 28.43yrs (vs. China’s 38.4 years, US’s 38.3 years, Europe 43.9 years and Japan’s 48.4 years) which is supported by the innovation and persistent approach to fill in the demand which has been existing there.
Start-ups in e-commerce, hospitality, Fintech and Edutech have already seen some great success in terms of investments and valuations. There are three areas which have seen Start-Ups attract investments from across the Globe: 1. Areas which were unstructured till now (Food Delivery and Retail) 2. Areas which have seen Technology playing a disruptive role (Mobile Money and Education), and 3. Areas which have stemmed this as an entire revenue channel (e-commerce and Hospitality/Travel). These start-ups have already crossed the stage of meeting the domestic demand and have now started reaching outside world to increase acceptance to prove that the model is replicable and economies will play its role from a reduction in unit price perspective. While the Government has launched initiatives such as “Startip India” and there are other Associations/Chambers which have come up with platforms for discussions on these and how to take these forward, I believe there needs to be a formal process and platform for growth enablement, governance and collaboration which can fuel the growth in this area. For the government to be the “Lead Partner” in start-up growth, it needs to come up with a fully integrated approach of Infrastructure, Taxation, incentives for global companies to partner with Indian start-ups, platform to take the Indian start-ups to global markets for adoption, governance and consumer protection.
In the immediate future, we will see a lot more unicorns coming up, However, from a longer term basis and putting India on the leadership board, we need to play on our strengths: With the rich history and culture of India along with the still prevalent supply side of the traditional art and tradition, “Culture-Tech” is where more start-ups need to be seen. For India to be a leader in this space, may be, a public private partnership will be more an interesting area to discuss. At a larger level, “Asset Light Models” with “Technology leverage” will see a much larger interest from the big equity funds due to its ease of scaling and limited baggage. “Dovetailing of Start-ups into bigger global corporates is another outcome what the market is looking more from the Indian market.
India is delivering its responsibility of knowledge, work and innovation at a faster speed than witnessed before. She has realised her own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability. This confidence is injected by our leaders who are driving this economy with safety, speed and comfort. India is emerging (again) as the Crown Jewel in tomorrow’s better world!
(Vitul Kwatra has 25+ years of global experience in P&L Growth & Business Transformation through Process, People, Experience and Technology Excellence in over 20 countries across Africa, Middle East and India. His experience spans across various industries with greater exposure to Business Process Management/Outsourcing, Banking (Mobile, Retail and Consumer Finance), Telecom sectors and e-commerce sectors. Professionally he has been at leadership positions in American Express, Citibank, GE, Airtel Africa and ISON Xperiences.)