India’s current biggest challenges are health care, education and agriculture and enabling these three could turn the trajectory for the country upwards, believes Amitabh Kant, CEO of the Indian government think tank, Niti Aayog.
Kant was the prominent keynote speaker during the second edition of the Road to TiEcon, held July 22.
The Indus Entrepreneurs Conference or TiEcon is one of the most important events in one of the world’s largest ecosystems for technology professionals, entrepreneurs, tech influencers, domain experts, enterprise executives, venture capitalists and educators.
In the discussion moderated by Arun Kumar, chairman and CEO, KPMG India, Kant talked about statistics that are needed for India to become a $5 trillion economy in the next few years.
He said that he was confident about the progress because of the structural reforms that the government has introduced.
He saw all the challenges the country has been currently facing as opportunities rather than threats to livelihood and the growth of the country. “Due to COVID-19, the impact of the economic and societal upheaval has been phenomenal,” Kant said.
There needs to be a plan to make use of this opportunity, he said.
“Firstly, a focus on what we do and how do we uplift the weakest of the population must be addressed. The last few months I’ve seen increased openness and adoption to technology, and my view is that India must use technology to leapfrog,” he added.
Asked how he sees the role of entrepreneurs in the economy and where they could find opportunities to grow, he said the pandemic had triggered a phenomenal amount of innovation in various sectors that the country has never seen before, especially in the healthcare industry.
On the key ways to attract investments for the development of the country, Kant said: “India will never be able to grow at a high rate without a dynamic role of the private sector.”
He said that digging the past on what the economy was all through the years will do no good to anyone. “The government has now set the new rules right that will help the nation in achieving the ultimate goal,” he added.
He said that the government has been keen on expanding the digital solutions across the country.
He added: “India’s unique demographic and income mix requires very heavy localization of products and solutions for them to succeed in real time that scale. India is data rich country. Currently only one third of Indians are using mobile smart smartphones, but in the next five years, every Indian will be using a smartphone. So just look at the data that will take place. And this individual data in India will be far more valuable than their current material worth and that is a great opportunity to leverage.”
He cited Facebook and Google investing big on Reliance’s Jio Platform as example of foreign investment flowing increasingly into India.
He said that unlike China, India was a more open economy with a lot more opportunities for foreign investments.
“We will empower each one of them who’s coming from abroad to build for India, and to build from India. India is a very vast market and we welcome everybody,” he said.
He said the government had been doing everything in power to improve the ease of doing business in India.
“The important thing is to create the right ecosystem. A couple of things we’ve done is to bring our tax level to the lowest in the world. We are on par with Ireland, that is at 15 percent for new enterprises and 22 percent otherwise. We’ve created the best possible ecosystem as far as taxation is concerned,” Kant said.
He pointed to India moving up to the 79th place in the World Bank’s list of ease of doing business.