“2020 is a unique year:” Uday Kotak newly appointed CII President



As the world is getting back to some kind of normalcy after the great shutdown, there is no doubt that the economies of all nations have taken a huge blow.

Although we are still in the midst of the pandemic, we need to get used to the “new normal”, take necessary precautions, and get back to business. For this, the first thing we need is to account for our current situation and have a plan, a roadmap.

On Thursday, Uday Kotak, the newly-appointed President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said 2020 is a unique year and it is time to think outside the box.

He talked about how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the status quo of the world, and how the corporate sector now needs to focus on managing growth, lives and livelihoods while considering the challenges associated with life after the pandemic.

Kotak said the CII is committed to the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan – a 20 lakh crore economic stimulus announced by PM Modi on May 12, to stabilize India and to make the country more self-reliant.

The outbreak has impacted three crucial economic agents – the individual, businesses, and the government. Presenting a 10-point roadmap to revive growth in the post-COVID world, Kotak also said that growth is a necessity now and it should lead to creations of jobs.

“Growth is a necessity that should lead to the creation of more jobs while CII works as a knowledge partner with the government for building self-reliant and competitive India that is deeply engaged with the world,” he said at a media briefing on Thursday.

“There is a need to reimagine India from a healthcare point of view,” he added. Over the last few years, we have been disproportionately dependent on government spending, followed by consumption as the core of our growth.”

Lives and livelihoods – these are the two main features that are to be focused on in the CII’s roadmap. Kotak said that it is important to find a balance between loss of lives due to the novel coronavirus and loss of livelihood during the lockdown.

For this to happen, all governing bodies, central, state, and local, no matter their political ideals, must work together. The first thing should be to ramp up testing infrastructure along with the identification of containment zones, then develop an agile health and safety response to control the coronavirus spread.

The industry will need to work in partnership with the governments to help create more jobs while bringing in more of the workforce under the formal sector, CII said.

Further, the prioritization of health and education is another major target. A long-term strategy of dealing with future pandemics through high-quality preventive healthcare focus on nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene needs to be established.

Currently, there is a tremendous shortage of healthcare professionals at all levels in India, said the CII agenda, adding that education plays a key role in achieving the required levels of standards in the delivery of healthcare, nutrition, and hygiene.

A battered industry will need support from the government in many forms, including investment-friendly policies that will drive demand and measures to help tide over the liquidity crisis, it said.

While the pandemic may have hit the Indian economy hard, it only highlighted what was already in the brink of a breakdown. This is the perfect time to acknowledge those gaps and address them with a fresh approach. Finding the fine balance will be of utmost importance at this crucial juncture as various stressed sectors of the economy will look for relief and stimulus packages.