The following article is an initiative of Mindmine Summit organized by Hero Enterprise and is intended to create awareness among readers
The 13th edition of the Hero Mindmine Summit 2019 saw top minds from the government and private sector discuss and deliberate on a variety of subjects including India’s economic state, transport sector, middle-income trap and more.
The two-day summit saw a series of panel discussions under an umbrella theme: The new decade: one nation, multiple destinies. The summit provided a platform for thought provoking dialogues, debates and deliberations over economic and cultural lines.
“We want to use this (platform) to give feedback to those who matter, those who are the decision makers, the policymakers…,” said Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise.
The discussions began with a keynote address from Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications, Electronics &IT Ravi Shankar Prasad that touched upon the entrepreneurial spirit of India, true to the idea of the new decade.
“The sheer entrepreneurial skill of India is remarkable. No power can stop India from emerging as a true global power. I say so with full sense of responsibility. India, today, is home to over 19,000 startups and 8,000 are tech startups and other 8,000 are unicorn startups… that is the India emerging and that is the DNA of India. If India has to grow forward, this entrepreneurship spirit has to be really promoted with full gusto. I would appreciate if it is blended with the application of technology. Truly, the moment for India has arrived,” said Prasad.
Henceforth, a string of panel discussions took place. Here’s a look at the topics and discussions:
The World in 2020: Is a recession coming?
Under this theme, industry stalwarts spoke about India story in the backdrop of the global economic meltdown.
“India continues to remain a bright spot even with a little bit of decrease in the growth rate. We are a market economy in which there are sectors that go through a sunrise and sunset phase. If we expect the government to use taxpayer’s money to intervene during some sunset, you introduce some moral hazard and possibility of where profits are private and losses are socialised,” said Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian.
They also talked about how private sector investment coupled with speedy implementation of reforms would be a key to India’s growth story.
Power Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said, “South-Asia, where we are sitting, is only about $3.5 trillion economy. In 20-25 years, if we do well, this should be $20 trillion economy and there is enough demand that can drive growth in our part of the world. Can we seize that?”
The India story: How to we avoid the middle income trap?
Experts converged on the stage for a discussion on India’s consumption patterns and the income levels. The session was moderated by Nilaya Varma, Partner&Leader, Markets Enablement, KPMG India.
Rathin Roy, Director, NIPFP, said, “India has never been an export-led economy and in terms of actual doings, we have had phases where exports have risen, which has always been a compliment to growth. Growth has come from domestic demand. Move to producing at affordable prices, you will easily attain a $5trillion economy.”
It is noteworthy that as per estimates, 1% of Indians hold 73% of wealth in India. Hence, there is a need to increase income levels and also make system efficient for more transparency.
Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog said, “This is a time where a private, robust enterprise has to work at a development stage which makes it public services in more efficient and transparent manner without generating rents in the system. We are now in a situation where if we get the short term right, we can get the engine started again and we will get the growth that we need for raising this country towards an income level.”
Energy and Water stress: where does India go from here
The panel discussion that was moderated by Ron Malka, Israeli Ambassador to India, started with how Israel is a role model in water management and what India can learn from the country.
Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “There are four pillars to achieve water security. First is conservation of water, second is judicious use of water, third is re-use and then rejuvenation of water structures what we have lost.”
Also, stressing on the energy demands and suggesting alternatives for narrowing gap between supply and demand, Pranav Bhanage, CEO- India & South Asia, Petronas Lubricants International said, “What is the well to wheel output of these electric vehicle evolution. There are 2-3 clear pathways, solar starts to become a thing we can take on, then it moves into LNG, CNG areas that reduce carbon footprint.”
Mainstreaming rural India: Is agriculture part of the problem or solution
The session moderated by Akhil Bansal, Deputy CEO & Head of India Global, KPMG India, saw speakers talking about reducing farm size, soil size, status of middlemen and how tech can a play a crucial role in addressing few concerns.
Navneet Munot, CIO, SBI Mutual Fund said, “From a policy perspective, we need to move out of the standard solutions like MSP, loan waiver, subsidized inputs… I think we need to think very differently and in agriculture some of the other aspects that are the bigger challenges for India are climate change, inequality, etc. We need to think holistically about agriculture. Loan waiver is not going to solve our problems, which are staring at us.”
Ajay Kanwal, MD& CEO, Jana Small Finance Bank said, “I think they (government) should special encouragement to fintechs and startups that really focus on the startup sector. So, even moving up the value chain and even going halfway there will make a big difference. There is an ecosystem within the rural belt that we need to work through very clearly.”
Technology: Is it bridging or widening the gap between traditional and modern India?
The Day 2 of the summit began with a debate on technology and its important role in diminishing the lines between traditional and modern India.
TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education, said, “I think it is bridging. You can see the data that is consumed in the country. Are rural people using it, yes…it (internet use) is increasing. So, when it increases, it is bridging the gap.”
Karan Bajwa, MD, IBM India said, “Most tech companies service the New York in India, which is top 500-1000 customers. But, do not forget the point that India is still largely small and midmarket country, with close to 50 million MSMEs. Unless those people embrace technology this thing will not change. The point is how do we allow technology at the bottom of the pyramid. The divide is getting bridged.”
Social media impact: Does this galloping horse needs stronger reins?
Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor and Filmmaker Prakash Jha presented their opinions on whether the government should act as a regulator and where does the buck stop when it comes to tackling the menace of social media.
“The first big challenge in regulating it is social media is publisher or a postman. Because, if you’re a publisher, you are responsible for what you publish and you can be sued and law becomes your regulator. If you are postman, a post office cannot be sued for carrying an offensive letter. Therefore, I don’t want governments to do (regulate) but do want Twitter and Facebook to seeing what they are doing. So far what exists is quite ineffective,” said Tharoor.
Jha said, “We don’t want any kind of censorship, regulator or control on anything that is being created in terms of content. There is less kind of accommodation or acceptance or tolerance in the society. The kind of education that we’ve propagating since last two decases, we have stopped questioning, analysing, etc.. We are more of a reactive society. The content on the social media will be reflective of the society we are living in and that’s what probably is happening.”
Remaking our cities: Are existing masterplans good enough?
From economy to social media, the next panel discussion was about growing cities and poor implementation of masterplans.
Chairman & CEO- India, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE Anshuman Magazine, said, “There has to be a neighbourhood development plan, then a city plan, then a state plan. You have to go bottom up and top down. To do that, you have to involve people, create awareness.”
So, whether masterplans were needed or not, to this CMD, Shriram Properties, M Murali said, “We need to have one single masterplan for the next 30-40 years for the entire country keeping in mind that housing should be in excessive supply. Secondly, bottom-up, process to control. We should take the responsibility of ensuring that masterplan is properly implemented.”
Unmarried to work: Is Generation Z redefining the Indian workspace?
Traditional workspaces are no longer viable. Today, the Gen Z wants more than just sitting behind the desk, clocking work hours and returning back to their personal lives. During the discussion, MD, Zodius Capital, Varun Laul said mindsets are changing and organisations have to re-invent too.
“You cannot think of yourself as a traditional organisation. You have to literally think of yourself as collection of entrepreneurs, how do you continuously challenge them, how do you fulfil their objectives. Secondly, they need to see recognition and reward very quickly that drives them. Every organisation has to design itself according to the people it has,” he said.
Future of Transport: Will the coming decade be a game changer?
The last session saw Chief Guest Nitin Gadkari and SK Munjal talk about the infrastructure development keeping environment in perspective.
Union Minister for Road, Transport & Highways and MSME Nitin Gadkari said, “Problem is of appropriate vision. We are developing the infrastructure of international standards. We are developing waterways, roadways, 22 green highways. We’ve already started highway from Mumbai to Delhi of Rs 1 lakh crore, 60% of the work is already awarded. In Delhi, we are working on the project cost more than Rs 50,000 crore and already Delhi pollution is reduced by 30%. With social cooperation, Public-Private investment, technology, everything is possible.”
The two-day summit ended with a valedictory note by Minister of State Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur. He said, “India’s economic indicators are robust and healthy. The fiscal deficit is pegged at 3.3%, inflation is under control. During the last five years, the FDI inflows were $286 billion. India’s recent economic expansion has brought a record number of people out of poverty. India is the one of the largest and youngest economies.”
Also, the summit saw distribution of BML Munjal Awards for business excellence through learning and development and unveiling of two research reports, ‘India Re-defining its Growth Path’ and ‘India’s Course to 2030’ were unveiled.