India Inc must move away from a risk-averse culture and think outside the regime of incentives and subsidies, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) president TV Narendran said on Wednesday. Speaking at the ‘Being Future Ready Business Summit 2022’, Narendran said the mindset should be one that proactively explores all markets and all sectors.
The CII president’s remarks are significant as India Inc has often been accused of being ultra-conservative in its approach towards investing in new capacity and its incessant demand for protection and incentives.
Narendran also said that a responsible and conscious industry must think beyond its own priorities to drive positive change for the nation. He pointed out that recalibration of global supply chains presents an opportunity for the industry to embed itself more firmly in the international arena and expand its global footprint. “The many new free trade agreements being signed with our key market partners open up immense opportunities for our international engagement and we must support and leverage these to the optimum,” Narendran said.
He pointed out that industry’s expenditure on research & development compares poorly with global benchmarks. “The share of industry’s R&D spend in India is 37% against 80% in South Korea and 77% in China,” he said, adding there is a critical need for industry collaboration with academia and research institutions.
CII president-designate Sanjiv Bajaj spoke at length on how the industry must prepare for ‘India@100’, when the country completes a century of its Independence from British Rule in 2047, and said an important area that will define the future of industry is its engagement with the needs of society and the community.
He said the digital revolution, including fintech, e-commerce, etc, is creating immense opportunities for the Indian industry which would make it future-ready to cater to community needs, and all this will be an integral part of the India@100 agenda.
Bajaj said engaging with the society is in enlightened self-interest and would make business become more valuable and viable over a long term. He emphasised the importance of workers, including the cohort of informal and contractual workers, and the need for gender equality and investing in greater equity and inclusion practices in the workplace.