India’s economic rebound
Digital infrastructure and innovation will be key to propelling the economy forward through 2023 and beyond.
At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Tata Group chairman N. Chandrasekaran discussed what actions are needed to maintain momentum in the coming decade, on a panel alongside Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development for India and Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways; Minister of Communications; and Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.
The conversation around the topic ‘India’s Road to a $10 Trillion Economy’ touched on five key themes, as the speakers debated India’s roadmap to resurgence from the impact of the pandemic and its prosperous future.
Resilient economy with strong domestic consumption
Growth has rebounded from the deep pandemic-related downturn and the International Monetary Fund forecasts real gross domestic product growth will be 6.8% in the fiscal year 2022/23 and 6.1% in 2023/24, after expanding 8.7% in 2021/22.
Government policy has put the nation on a consistent growth path of 6-8%, Vaishnaw told the delegates, with the future being one of high growth and moderate inflation.
That outlook was echoed by Chandrasekaran, who saw positive indications from across the business of the Tata Group. Boosting exports is a huge opportunity for the Indian economy, he said.
“The consumption that we are seeing is just fantastic. We are not just seeing it in the urban areas, we are seeing it in the rural areas,” he said. “We have been seeing that for the last few years.”
India has a thriving technology and digital sector, the panel said, and is well placed to be a leader in terms of digital transformation.
In recent years, the nation demonstrated it can leverage technology to benefit everyone, for example, with the apps that were developed to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a fantastic tech sector, we have a huge talent pool,” Chandrasekaran said. “The number of tech graduates in India is the highest comparable to any other country in the world.”
The panelists noted how there has been a fundamental change in attitude in the country: where once large-scale digital transformation projects would have been unthinkable, now they are taking place.
The energy transition is at the heart of India’s growth strategy.
The country is on the way to becoming a global green hydrogen hub, which will spur even more investment in renewables and create jobs, Vaishnaw told the delegates.
“It’s a very consistent, multidimensional, well thought through approach to the economy,” he said.
Supply chain transition
Geopolitical shifts and their implications for supply chains also have the potential to bolster India’s economy, the panelists said.
Minister Smriti Zubin Irani used the example of India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the repurposing of resources and factories to create personal protective equipment (PPE) as an example of how the nation has evolved.
“In three months, we became the second largest exporter of PPE suits in the world,” she said. “We repurposed our skills, our manufacturing base, and we did things that nobody thought possible, that is our new story.”