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Corporate leaders step up to put India on global map

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-03-2017 Rozelle Laha

New Delhi: Private corporations have a key role to play in accelerating India’s economic growth, according to experts. The World Bank has forecast 7% economic growth in India this year, making it the fastest growing large economy in the world.

Several policymakers strongly believe that India can emerge as a leader in Asia and public-private partnership (PPP) is the key to its development.

Jayant Sinha, Union minister of state for civil aviation claimed India is using a lot less energy, carbon and capital than the US and China to achieve GDP growth. Sinha said that by 2020, India’s contribution to global growth, on purchasing power parity basis, will exceed that of China by 60% and that of the US by 180%.

He was addressing policy makers, CEOs and CXOs at the National Leadership Conclave, an annual event organized by All India Management Association, the national apex body of the management profession in India.

At the same conclave, Venkaiah Naidu, minister for urban development, information & broadcasting, housing and urban poverty alleviation, said that Asia is the future of the world and India will be key to this dominance. He said that PPP was the key to development.

Businesses need to be a key player in partnership with government to help India grow as an economic power.

Corporate leaders Mint spoke to see a strong need to re-align leadership strategies within the organization to motivate employees who can contribute to the growth of the organisation and, in turn, the country. Most leaders see globalization and technology shaking up leadership roles.

“The biggest challenge is transforming legacy organizations to modern vibrant youthful organizations. Getting the right people on board is key,” said Sanjiv Goenka, chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. “We have to re-orient the organizations to lead and that’s the big shift that all of us need to make. Businesses are all about giving convenience to the common people,” he said.

Goenka and Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman of Hero Corporate Service Pvt. Ltd; saw technology as a key disruptor of business. According to Munjal, the amount of data that flows across the world has grown by 45 times in the last 15 years and is expected to grow by nine to 10 times in the next five years. “The role is no longer either industry or government. It is partnership of industry, government, people along with technology,” Munjal said.

Traditionally, corporate leaders were expected to be able to articulate the business model. In recent times, technology has clearly shaken up the role.

“The speed at which you need to react has changed in a gigantic leap with technology, expectations from consumers and the very fact that you’re in an interconnected world,” said Harshvardhan Neotia, chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group said, “You cannot put things under the carpet and wait. You now need agility and speed as very important attributes.”

Start-ups too can be part of this growth story provided leaders plan ahead with the right tolerances built in. “Teams that expand too rapidly and spend too aggressively usually run out of capital before the return-on-investment is proven, whereas teams that under-invest are usually beaten by hungrier competition. This balance is achieved only after ruthless prioritization and learning from multiple signals in the ecosystem,” said Pranav Pai, founding partner and chief investment officer at 3one4 Capital, a venture capital fund, adding that good leaders also bring in a second layer of leadership into the company to manage growth much ahead of time.

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