Indian Industry ready to catch momentum of country's growth: FICCI official
Subhrakant Panda, senior vice president, FICCI

Washington: The Indian industry is ready to catch the momentum of the country’s growth story and be a part of its march to 2047 to become a developed nation, a top industrialist has said.

In an interview to PTI, Subhrakant Panda, senior vice president of the Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce and Industries (FICCI) said India has emerged as a bright spot in the world economy.

There is no doubt that the Indian economy would easily surpass the goal of USD 5 trillion and then USD 10 trillion GDP, Panda told PTI, asserting that experts and economist are now talking about the country becoming a USD 30 trillion or USD 35 trillion economy.

There are many assumptions and factors which go into deriving those numbers, but I think what is very clear is the direction of growth and the sustained reforms, which are going to take us in that direction of growth, he said.

From an Indian industry perspective, are we ready for it? Yes, I think we are. Because this is a huge opportunity which awaits us. I think that’s the way one has to look at it, said Panda, who was recently in the US capital leading a FICCI delegation of eminent Indian industrialists.

Applauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government for the sustained and aggressive reforms that are addressed to meet the needs of common people and strengthen the Indian economy , Panda listed some of the reforms that are needed in the next phase.

A lot of reform measures like decriminalising minor offences, reducing compliance touchpoints, digitising records have been done. Now, if you look at it, I think labour reforms, the government has taken a major step forward in terms of codifying it into four different codes.

But that is something that we hope comes through next because that is a key factor in adding to India’s competitiveness and the foundation that is required to push growth, he said in response to a question.

Amid turbulent times globally, India is in a unique situation, he said.

If you look at the larger picture, if you look at the longer term, then I think the opportunities which will be present in India are going to be unparalleled and that is why we are upbeat (about India), he said, adding that India today is placed much better than many economies.

What we are upbeat and enthusiastic about is the broader picture, the longer-term picture, he said.

Talking about him taking over the presidency of FICCI in December, he said, I’ve been working on putting my thoughts together on priorities. But one aspect I already talked about is to work with our members to look at issues like import substitution and look at how we can provide a boost to the private sector starting to invest.

Some of the challenges facing us going ahead, whether it is decarbonisation, sustainable energy green financing, one of the things I would like to certainly work on is to look at it from an MSME perspective, he said, arguing that MSMEs need hand holding.

That is something that I would like to make a priority for FICCI, he said.

We are sort of reorganising our committees to be in sync with what are the requirements and demands of the world today so that on issues like sustainability, we take a very comprehensive aligned view, he noted.

During their stay in Washington, the FICCI delegation had a range of meetings, including addressing the students and faculty of George Washington University, chief economist of IMF, and engagement with think tanks like the Atlantic Council and Observer Research Foundation USA.

Clearly, if you look at it from an economic perspective, globally, things are in a very challenging situation at the moment. Inflation worldwide is a cause of concern. But I would make a point, I think there is much greater appreciation now for how India approached the pandemic, Panda said.

Early on there was criticism about both the quantum and the timing of stimulus measures. But what is becoming very evident now is that was the right thing to do. That was the smart thing to do, he said.

Fiscal and monetary policy working in tandem have done well and India, unlike in the past perhaps, has been very well prepared with substantial foreign exchange reserves, which have allowed the central bank to sort of stabilise the currency, he observed.

There is a great deal of appreciation for the principled stand that India takes on various issues.

For example, the issue of India buying Russian oil did come up in a couple of interactions, and I think our stand as CEOs is to absolutely, unequivocally back the government that it is important for the country to keep its economic interests at the forefront and in a tough economic environment, take the decisions, which are in its self-interest, Panda said.

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