India will lead the global growth rates significantly in this decade, according to N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons.

“India’s growth is fundamentally going to be more important going forward because even if the global growth is going to be good, it’s going to be a little bit behind the expected levels of 2021. I feel India has a larger role to play, there are many things going on for India. Post-pandemic, as the economy fully opens up, I believe that our growth will continue to get stronger. We’ll get the full benefit of consumer spending,” Chandrasekaran said Microsoft India’s annual flagship event, Microsoft Future Ready.

“The pandemic, per se, has not really impacted the long-term growth trajectory of India. It has just delayed it because the fundamental factors- whether it is the formalization of the economy, the youth or more people coming into the middle-income group, all of this is totally intact,” he said.

“My own assessment is that in this decade, India will lead the global growth rates significantly,” he further added.

Top priorities

The Tata Sons Chairman further talked about India Inc and the government’s role in driving equitable, sustainable growth and priorities for the same.

“I think it should be a national priority to enable national access to healthcare and education among other things. Government can put the policy infrastructure, but the corporate sector has to play its role,” said Chandrasekaran.

“On both fronts, in terms of the nationwide access to education and healthcare using our digital infrastructure and on the other hand driving this momentum towards a sustainable future, I think they are big priorities,” he further said.

Key trends

Chandrasekaran further talked about digital adoption and other key trendlines shaping India’s growth.

“The top three for me would be digital, sustainability, and reconstruction of the global supply chain for resilience, not only for efficiency,” he said.

In terms of digital adoption, the Tata Sons Chairman said, “ India has the mindset to build platforms at scale, at a cheaper transaction cost. So, I don’t think that the scale and cost would be the issue. What will be the issue though, is how do you make AI and Machine learning relevant for everyone? This view that AI and machine learning is a software, people’s job, or AI Machine learning is for the elite should go.”

“If we have to achieve it now or in the near term, the only way is to use a digital connection, to expand the capacity and the reach of limited physical resources. We have physical resources in terms of infrastructure and things, as well as resources in terms of knowledge and capability. So, we’ve got to get this to work for a large number of people across the nation. And I think that the time is now, and, and it is happening, but we all need to stay behind it and accelerate it,” he added.

In terms of sustainability, Chandrasekaran added that while the COP26 was positive, the country is not yet at the 1.5-degree target.

“What we need to do to make sustainability happen is- one, make a firm commitment which the government is leading and I’m sure all corporates will do. It’s a good business. It’s not only a low-carbon business but also a new economic model,” he said.

“Second- we need to be supportive of a lot of innovation, entrepreneurship, startups, like the way it’s happening in AI and ML and other areas. The third is the global supply chain,” he said.

“The global supply chain definitely has to be reconstructed and India has an important role to play because of the skills and the opportunities that we have at scale. It will be a big economic opportunity,” he added.

Focusing on Tata Sons’ future, Chandrasekaran further added, “While we are strengthening the core, we are also transforming our companies towards the new future in terms of sustainability, digital, and a lot of it. And then we are also creating multiple businesses, which are future businesses. It’s kind of three planks that we are working on.”