Low-cost housing, education, transportation and healthcare are huge opportunities for India’s startups and India can export business models and not just products, according to Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprises. “That is the biggest growth opportunity for India,” he told a gathering of India’s management fraternity at the 5th National Leadership Conclave organized by All India Management Association, India’s apex management body.
Many CEOs and startup founders are addressing the conclave on the theme ‘Now or Never: India’s Mission for the Next Decade’.
Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever advised Indian companies to not just look to survive disruption but to ride and lead disruption. “Start by looking at your consumer,” he said and pointed out that the new competitors for in the FMCG sector were not the other FMCG companies but digital platforms that owned no factories or distribution systems. “You could come out with a more innovative product but your business model could be disrupted,” he said.
Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation, rejected the idea that oil would be replaced by renewables or transportation will shift entirely to electric vehicles. He said that oil will remain integral to economic activities for the next 20-30 years at least, albeit the share of the renewables will increase in the overall energy mix. Singh informed that IOC was working with 30 startups to disrupt certain parts of its business.
Sanjiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv named the mindset as the biggest source of disruption. He said that while banks do everything, the fintech companies specialize in particular services and they do those better and at much lower costs. He said that it was difficult for incumbents to collapse their hierarchies and salary structures. “Adaptation is mainly a people issue,” he said. Regulatory mindset too was an issue, he added, pointing out that Bajaj Finserv was not a bank despite being bigger than most Indian banks.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO PayTM shared that more fintech innovations were on their way from his company. The upcoming innovations include app-based bank passbooks and fixed deposits without charges for breaking the deposit. Talking about data privacy, he said that PayTM shared anonymized data for research. He insisted that Indians data needed to be stored in India as, technologically, it was not obligatory for the data to be taken out of the country.
Aditya Ghosh, CEO – India and South Asia, OYO Hotels and Homes, said that consumers want their data to travel with them overseas so that they can enjoy seamless services all over the world. “The ease of use increases only when you share the data but sharing the data must be left to the individual,” he said.
AIMA President, Harshavardhan Neotia opened the conclave and set the context for the discussions. He said that India had a window of opportunity to grow rapidly and become one of the world’s anchor economies – a window that will not remain open forever. “India needs to work out a political and economic consensus so that it maintain the run of good economic growth,” he said.
Sanjay Kirloskar, Senior Vice President, AIMA and Chairman & Managing Director, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd said that India’s agenda for the next decade had to aim at building human and technological capability for achieving a 9%-10% average growth for at least a decade. “The next decade is crucial for India because if the country fails to take off now, it could easily slip into the mindset of mediocrity,” he said.
On the subject of India’s desire and ability to become a global power, Patu Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels said that global power was a by-product of a strong economy and to strengthen the economy, India needed economic reforms, particularly in the agriculture sector. “There are two Indias – one half of it is 6 times richer than the other half,” he said.
On the occasion, AIMA and KPMG released a joint report on ‘Social and Economic Impact of Digital Transformation of India’. The report documents the developing trends in India’s digital economy and makes strategy and policy recommendations for companies and the government.
AIMA presented the AIMA – Dr J S Juneja Award for Creativity and Innovation in the MSMEs to Aerospace Enterprises, a mid-sized company that makes components for India’s aviation, space and defence sectors.