There were high expectations for another set of blockbuster announcements from Reliance Industries at its 44th annual general meeting (AGM). But even then, what we heard on June 24, coming on the back of the pronouncements made by the company last year, would have left many wondering how this enterprise manages to exceed expectations and deliver more than it promises with such amazing regularity.
As far as India’s biggest company is concerned, the ambitions just seem to be getting bigger and bolder with each passing day providing further proof of just how indispensable its role is for building the Aatmanirbhar Bharat envisioned by the Prime Minister.
The announcements also simultaneously draw attention to how an audacious entrepreneurial spirit coupled with gritty determination can overcome the toughest of odds, including hurdles imposed by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, to achieve the stuff dreams are often made of.
The announcements on renewable energy, telecommunications, and retail have the potential to catapult India to a different league in terms of economic growth and development by strengthening each of the pillars – Economy, Infrastructure, Technology-driven System, Vibrant Demography, and Demand – that are to form the basis for building a dynamic, self-reliant India.
At the same time, they can help the nation meet its climate goals by accelerating the process of transition to clean and green forms of energy.
Importantly, moreover, the steps announced by Mukesh Ambani would also give a pandemic-battered Indian population hope for a better tomorrow through the promise to put within their reach the means and solutions that would enable them to improve their quality of life.
Reliance’s decision to invest Rs 75,000 crore for setting up 4 “Giga Factories” at Jamnagar to spearhead its journey into the renewable energy space as part of its agenda to bridge the green energy deficit in the country would lend enormous momentum to the creation of a sustainable clean energy ecosystem in India. Besides, the move could act as a catalyst for making ‘Clean Energy for All’ a reality for all Indians. It could lead to newer and better jobs being created in the clean energy segment and, also go a long way in removing the scourge of energy poverty that is still faced by certain vulnerable sections of the population.
The plan to generate 100 GW of Renewable Energy by 2030 or slightly over 20 percent of the national target set for this segment for that year is testimony to the confidence that Reliance has in its own ability to deliver on these commitments. The decision to establish a dedicated project management and project finance teams in the RE space to hand-hold solar sector entrepreneurs shows the company’s commitment to do its bit in providing a fillip to entrepreneurship in this hugely promising arena.
Reliance’s decision to launch an ultra-affordable 4G phone in partnership with Google this September would significantly reduce the digital divide and enable more Indians, especially the economically marginalised, to gain access to that great unifying force, the Internet. The affordability of this device could have major ramifications especially for the education segment by removing the hindrances faced by many students in gaining access to e-learning.
The promises of Ambani and Alphabet boss Sundar Pichai to pack this phone with many standard features of current high-end phones would make this device something to watch out for when the model gets released.
On the retail front, Reliance Retail’s plan to on-board 10 million merchant partners over the next three years and create one million jobs during the same time can prove a game-changer in this arena. The move is likely to benefit customers in a big way as the Reliance decision would inevitably lead to other retail players also stepping up their own acts to counter the Reliance Retail juggernaut.
For many years, there has been a feeling expressed in some quarters that large Indian companies can only thrive in a protectionist environment. If the Reliance story is anything to go by, the day may not be far when many of those still holding such a view may have to start revisiting their opinions.
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