NEW DELHI : India will be a USD 4 trillion economy by the end of 2023-24 and a USD 10 trillion by 2030. India’s vision for growth and development is focused with the aim to be the 3rd largest economy. Good governance, inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, Digi-tech and innovation, manufacturing, employment generation, predictable policies, extensive industry consultations are some of the enablers which would take the country to the next level. Last month, the 10th Annual Forum of the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) witnessed a positively evolving spirit of transparent engagement of business and aligning business, society and government with a focus towards India’s vision @2030- the third largest economy.
There is growing significance of Public Policy function in this landscape & is perceived as one of the important aspects of business today. While I witnessed the discussions at the 10th PAFI Annual Forum, I realised, as a Public Policy professional, the responsibilities of private sector envisioning in India’s growth vision is evolving.
Here are 10 key highlights of the Forum this year.
First, India’s aim towards becoming the 3rd largest economy by 2030 envisages some focused growth drivers & Private sector will have a major role to play. In order to achieve the USD 10 trillion economy by 2030, India has to consistently grow at 8-9 percent annually. This is possible when the per capita income increases and for that investment needs to rise. Four areas of focus should be on increasing exports, investment in urban infrastructure, focus on SMEs and corporate R&D spend needs to increase manifold. We would need to push the domestic investment in a focused manner for the growth story to have the desired momentum.
Second, India is successfully moving towards digital economy with its robust digital infrastructure. The opening of digital bank accounts, linking of Aadhar cards, paperless credit and stock markets are examples. AI is the talk of the town & is in a phase of evolution in technology development and transforming things in a way that was not conceived earlier. AI is being used in sectors such as health, startups and agriculture to help reap several benefits.
Third, it is imperative to focus on women-led development to keep up the growth trajectory. The Women Reservation Bill passed in the Parliament is a landmark move. It is important to engage women in all dimension of work and society. Opportunities for women should be created and the support to bring women in economic activities need to be done in an organic way encouraging social and financial Inclusion
Fourth, creation of jobs in the manufacturing sector. With the Western world shifting its focus from China to India, it is important for us to capitalise this moment. The transformation is needed structurally to have people shift from agriculture to the manufacturing and services sector.
Fifth, with emerging technology, we have the opportunity to be at the forefront and lead the revolution. The revival of electronics manufacturing in the last five years is one of the most remarkable factors. Ten years ago, 98% of mobile phones were imported into India, but now India is exporting mobile phones. Government has been particularly supportive through various production led incentives schemes.
Sixth, with investments being the key, I would re-emphasize that ease of doing business should become the pleasure of doing business for entrepreneurs in India. There should be red carpet welcome for existing as well as new investors to enthuse a conducive business environment.
Seventh, India’s heart exists in its states. To take forward this incredible growth story of the country, it is necessary to foster a structured and institutionalized engagement with States. Public Policy professionals should focus towards the policy-making in the states.
Eight, the global world order is becoming increasingly unpredictable. India’s remarkable leadership in G20 needs to be replicated at other international forums. Geo-politics, disruptive technology is set to impact all sectors and areas of business. Therefore it is important for businesses to adapt and adopt to deep tech, AI, block chain to unleash the growth potential for the coming decades.
Ninth, the traditional silos are collapsing. Governments, corporate India and consumers are aligning as equal partners in forging a national public policy response to deal with various challenges. The spectrum has widened, encouraging inclusivity in decision making and embracing of diverse stakeholders. The last decade has witnessed a steady evolution of Public Affairs function.
Tenth, there is a huge opportunity for Public policy professionals. They have a crucial role to play in organisations as they are the architects to build trust between industry and government. They represent companies to the external stakeholders especially to the Governments.
I have always emphasized Public Policy & Public affairs is no more a unilateral role, it is many roles teamed into one. From being advisor to the Boards, CEOs, senior management, investors to deciding on investment destinations to firefighting towards solving crucial business hurdles –several responsibilities put into one role.
Public Affairs function today , in the corporate setting, is a cross-section of Governments interface ,Policy advocacy, Corporate Affairs, Corporate Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Regulatory issues, Associations interface , Strategy & Risk Management , Business Development , understanding of geopolitics and external stakeholder engagement with a long-term vision.
India story is dynamic and promising for the coming decade. ‘Amrit Kaal’ is ordained to be India’s narrative. With an average growth rate of 5.5% over the past decade, India is the fastest growing economy in the world and has shown much resilience, despite the global uncertainties and economic crises. The country will continue to sustain and accelerate the positive growth momentum over the next several years- powered by investment and consumption. India’s envisioned growth framework is all set to be a reality. As the ‘bright spot’, India, will be a key contributor to global growth in the coming years & in this growth story, Public Affairs professionals will have a huge role to play.