At the most stimulating session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for India 2012 on Wednesday, leading players of the Indian and international industry and the Indian government agreed on the fundamental premise that faster economic growth was not just essential for the success of business but also to ensure distributive equity among India’s people.
The session titled ‘rebooting India’ comes at a time when the country’s high growth rates of 8-9 per cent has been revised downwards to 5.5 per cent, an all-time low since 2004.
More than 700 business leaders from as many as 43 countries are taking part in various deliberations at the meet being held in the National Capital Region of Gurgaon.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said comfort and confidence, the two prime requisites for business were at an abysmal low. “We have had high inflation, low growth and mounting fiscal deficit. And the government has failed to rein in inflation. Just keeping interest rates high does not stem inflation.”
He spoke about the importance of executing projects and policy. Pointing out the success stories like Delhi Metro, Konkan Railway and Delhi Airport, he said the management and working skill was never in question. “It’s a matter of will and evolving a follow-through plan on execution. The last few months have brought in some positive momentum but definitive timelines are required to ensure that a repeat of the last three and a half years does not occur.”
Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle, Switzerland, however, said, there was no need of a reboot. “You need reboot when you crash. As I see it, India needs to fix some aspects and it will be back on track.”
Bulcke said the gravity of India’s past, its rich history, its size and complex politics made the country apprehensive of taking hasty decisions. “I look at society as a painting. The government provides the frame and nothing more. It’s for the people, entrepreneurs to colour the canvas. However, the frame should not be so wide that it leaves very little space to paint. That kills entrepreneurial spirit. That has been India’s problem.”
He added, “Everybody knows what needs to be done. The point is to get it done.”
Gita Gopinath, professor of economics at Harvard University, however, did not agree with most people. She did not think India’s problems were about perception and marketing.
The World Bank rates India at 132 out of 183 countries in terms of ease of doing business. In terms of enforcement of contracts, it ranks 182 out of 183 and in terms of construction permit 181. But Gopinath went further deep, questioning whether the high growth actually was inclusive and if it benefitted most Indians.
From Gulf Today