Global anti-China sentiment, a possible game-changer for domestic players: L&T Group Chairman

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 13, 2020

AM Naik, Chairman, L&T Group   -  PAUL NORONHA

‘Look beyond knee jerk responses and draw up long-term, time-bound plans’

India needs to go beyond knee-jerk responses and draw up a long-term strategy, which includes land and labour reforms, to be self-reliant, said L&T Group Chairman AM Naik.

Naik was addressing shareholders at its 75th AGM, held online. “The strong anti-China sentiment within India and around the world is a possible game-changer for domestic industry. To leverage these trends and harness them for productive purposes, we need to move beyond knee-jerk responses and draw up a long-term strategy with a time-bound plan for implementation,” he said.

However, to achieve this, he pointed out that an ecosystem has to be created and urgent reforms in many sectors, including land acquisition and labour, need to be looked into. “The financial system is also in urgent need of attention. In tandem, the administration would do well to streamline processes and accelerate the pace of decision-making,” added Naik. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, in the backdrop of friction with China, which Naik stated, has resonated across the country. “I believe that Atmanirbharat represents the logical next step to ‘Make in India’ for it encompasses the entire value chain of design, procurement, manufacture and delivery. This is an opportune moment for government and industry to act in unison and advance national interests,” he said.

At the group level, L&T contributed ₹150 crore for the PM-CARES fund, including ₹19-crore contribution by employees. Further, L&T has donated medical equipment, including personnel protective equipment worth ₹40 crore to various States.

“We took it upon ourselves to ensure that the 1.6 lakh contract workmen who tour project sites received good care, by continuing to pay them wages, provide food, shelter and medical assistance,” stated Naik. This involved an outlay of approximately ₹500 crore per month during the stringent lockdown period. Further, L&T’s construction business has converted hospitals to Covid care centres at six locations around the country.

“Our smart solutions help civic authorities in different cities monitor crowds and alert authorities,” said Naik. He concluded that L&T was hopeful that the second half of FY 2020-21 will signal better economic activity. The National Infrastructure Pipeline project, formulated by the Government, is likely to lead to increased spends in critical areas, he said.

Published on August 13, 2020

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