Modi@2: Better days are here, but India Inc maange more

Our Bureau | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on May 18, 2016

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw,Chairman and MD, Biocon

Ashok Hinduja, Chairman,Hinduja Group (India)

Krish Iyer, President & CEO,Walmart India

From a state of ‘crisis of confidence’ in 2013 to a ‘bright spot’ in 2016 has not been by chance but by design

In the first flush of Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking charge in New Delhi, the Hinduja Group announced $10 billion investments in India. Modi's pro-business image and the promise of ease of doing business had swayed the London-headquartered group. It’s two years since, but the conglomerate is yet to make any significant investments in India.

“We saw a great reforms push when the new government took over, and decided that we should move in. The reforms announced were brilliant, but the concern is with the implementation. We are reviewing our investment plans,” said Ashok Hinduja, Chairman of the Hinduja Group of companies in India.

This sentiment reflects the mood of much of India Inc, although not many will admit in public. None of the companies that BusinessLine spoke to wanted to be seen as being critical of the government. In private, though, some admitted that the mood is that of wait-and-watch as they want to see more reforms before they commit any big money.

To be fair, the Centre has undertaken a number of initiatives, including FDI reforms across many sectors, improved ease of doing business, and put through a comprehensive overhaul of processes and policies. These moves are beginning to have some impact.

Krish Iyer, President and CEO of Walmart India, says: “We've seen a marked improvement in the investment climate. The government has rightly kept its focus on infrastructure, energy, rural and agricultural sector. Investment in these critical areas has given impetus to rural demand and the manufacturing sector and boosted investor confidence.”

According to Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company, the market has been enthused by government’s moves to revive the economy. “Economic parameters have improved. E-auctioning of natural resources and road and rail contracts has resulted in transparency. The path of fiscal prudence, and marketing India to the world have been well-liked by the market,” said Shah.

The impact of these measures is beginning to showBut, clearly, much more needs to be done. As Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD of Biocon, says, though there are perceptible signs of improvement in the ease of doing business, a bigger push is needed in the investment policy for manufacturing. “We have also seen some important policy changes, all reflective of the government’s intent to push economic growth. But, most importantly, I have noticed a change in the ‘can do’ attitude of bureaucrats. However, there has to be better alignment at the Central and State levels, if India is to make it to the list of Top 50 economies for Doing Business.”

Published on May 18, 2016
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