Panel of industry leaders discuss issues that country needs to address
Dubai-UAE: 12 February, 2018 – A plenary panel session on day one of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) debated whether this year’s guest nation India could ever lead the global economy in the future, and discussed the issues that could hold up any progress.
According to the World Economic Forum, India is the seventh largest economy in the world and is expected to be the second largest by 2050. With a population of over one billion, and 29 separate states, the subcontinent faces some challenges.
Shobana Kamineni, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), was joined on the panel by Chairman Hero Enterprises Sunil Kant Munjal, Dr Rajiv I Modi, Chairman and Managing Director of Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited and C P Gurnani, Managing Director and CEO of Tech Mahindra Ltd., for the session ‘Will India Lead the Global Economy in the Future?’
The panel discussed India’s current economic position, and what needs to be done in the future to improve the lives of a population of over one billion. When discussing the prospect of becoming a global leader, Gurnani said: “It depends what you mean by being a global leader, and how far into the future you are talking about. There are certain sectors where India is already becoming a global leader – infrastructure, healthcare and education. Much work still needs to be done to help small and mid-sized companies.”
Munjal supported this stance by explaining that India has already taken on some of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the world, notably in the agricultural, manufacturing and education sectors. He also explained how the government was working on a cluster approach in infrastructure development to promote manufacturing and economic activity, stating that this had demonstrated a great multiplier effect.
Kamineni pointed towards one issue facing the country in the future – securing growth and providing jobs for the forthcoming generations. She stated that “India will continue to grow for at least another decade when populations in most other countries will have stabilized. At that stage, 40% of people in the world below the age of 30 will be Indians.”
She warned: “We need to continue to provide jobs for them. This is an urgent need for us. The pace of change is a concern. The sheer size of the country means that sometimes change takes a generation to be felt.”
She went on to explain that India “has been growing at more than 7% per annum for years now, and will continue to be the fastest growing economy for the next several years.”
Munjal reinforced this by explaining that “the only answer we have is growth. The biggest challenges often offer the biggest opportunities.”
While India is the third largest startup country in the world, it was suggested that entrepreneurs often seem to succeed in spite of the regulations, rather than because of any assistance offered by the state. Gurnani agreed that “India needs to become more global, and that we need to create jobs for our youth by encouraging entrepreneurship.”
Kamineni pointed out that this work has already begun: “All the elements of the technology value chain are present in the healthcare sector. This will also happen in other sectors. India will continue to be the world’s most exciting market.”
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.
Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.