In the year 2023, India was consistent on its path to growth and development and also demonstrated impeccable leadership in international relations, global sustainability initiatives, and space programs.

India’s resilience amid the global economic slowdown can be seen across government reports, which forecast the country’s GDP growth in the range of 6.5-7.6 per cent.

Findings of KPMG’s 2023 India CEO Outlook resonate this confidence. Per the survey, ESG has become an essential component of corporate strategy this year. As many as 54 per cent of CEOs in India, having fully embedded ESG into their business for value creation and many others are working towards this objective.

Beyond sustainability, Generative AI has disrupted industries such as banking, e-commerce, and healthcare to help personalise and enhance their CX offerings. Logistics and energy sectors found it useful for improving navigation capabilities and scale production of renewable energy, respectively. Despite plenty of use cases, AI comes with its own set of risks, which businesses are yet to fully comprehend.

The proposed Digital India Act (DIA) 2023 is envisaged to have measures for ethical use of AI based tools.

As the year of its G20 Presidency concluded with over 200 meetings held in 60 cities across the country, India has shown the extent to which, it can contribute to the reshaping of the global order in the future. While the Delhi Declaration was an enormous achievement, setting the direction of future negotiations on important economic issues including climate financing, the ‘Voice of the Global South’ Summit was one of the most unique aspects of this people-centric event.

Climate focus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence at the COP28 hosted in Dubai underscored India’s importance and spoke volumes about the country’s evolving relationship with the UAE.

Placed at the forefront of the Global South, this year, India, and its counterparts in the region, duly agreed to address several critical challenges such as climate change, rising inflation and food and energy insecurity. The finalizing of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor Agreement is a significant milestone that will help open more trade avenues connecting small and medium-sized Indian businesses to the world.

Alongside bolstering its leadership position, India’s successful soft landing of its lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, on the surface of the moon’s south pole, opened a whole new chapter. The mission has not only earned India a name in the international space ecosystem, but also helped position it as a bellwether for building space capabilities on tight budgets.

Digitalisation gains

India’s burgeoning prowess in digitalisation and manufacturing has been quite pathbreaking, providing a major push to its ongoing nation building exercise. Standing at the cusp of achieving greater growth, an Atmanirbhar India can do much more on the home pitch as well as that of the world.

Essentially, India needs to leapfrog in areas of manufacturing and bypass the path of progression that countries like China, Korea, Japan etc. took in past 3-4 decades. India needs to leverage emerging technologies, automation and the vast pool of skilled workforce that is available in India to rapidly increase the pace of innovation and overhaul the manufacturing sector.

Continuous focus on infrastructure development by the government, conducive policy landscape and simplifies tax structures will be essential for foreign direct investments to pour in. It will be key to focus on sectors such as semiconductors, automobiles and auto components, pharma and biotechnology, textiles, renewable energy equipment and space. India’s success, hinges on its steadfast focus on seeing the bigger picture, strategic planning, and determination to tackle challenges with agility.

The writer is CEO, KPMG in India