Vast Entrepreneurial Potential in India


Keynote by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State (MoS) for Finance on the vast entrepreneurial potential in India, at the National Competitiveness Forum (NCF) and Porter Prize event held recently by Institute for Competitiveness in Gurgaon.

“We need to create enough wealth and have a large enough tax base so we can provide public services for our people.”

Across various industries like power, railways, aviation, telecom etc. we have to create enabling frameworks, policy regimes, regulations that enable us to be wide open and attractive for investment.

The world is facing slowing demand, challenging demographics, and discussions on inequality and opportunity are resounding not just from the developing world that deal with these issues almost all the time, but also from the developed world. The Brexit vote and turmoil, the US Presidential election, happenings in the Middle East are very troubling and disturbing events as far as the global economy and demand around the world is concerned.

It becomes important that with all the uncertainties and turmoil, we dedicate ourselves to genuinely building a productive, competitive, and innovative economy. It is extraordinarily important to ensure that our young people can find well paying, high quality jobs. We need to create enough wealth and have a large enough tax base so we can provide public services for our people. In order to do so we must dedicate ourselves to the timeless themes around innovation, competitiveness, and productivity.

United States is today the entrepreneurial engine for the top one billion people on the planet and just like Silicon Valley is spewing innovation, new business models; Boston and the life science society are bringing out new wonderful drugs and medical inventions and other parts of the United States are also at the cutting edge of innovation and productivity. For India to be truly competitive, to truly lead in terms of productivity, competition and innovation we should be the entrepreneurial agent for the next six billion people on the planet. The design points for India should be different from the design points set for cities across the globe. If we can create the value that caters to the design point, then we can cater to the vast market that we have here in India. We can become a global platform for the kind of innovation and kind of products which can be taken to Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bolivia and to other countries in the world where these products and services will work well. We have many companies like Godrej, Airtel etc. who are doing this. They are developing products and services that work well for the mass market in India but are also being exported around the world because this is a design point that works for all these other countries also.

We not only have to think about 10/ 20/ 30 billion dollar market cap companies but also have to be like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft; and think about building 100/ 200 billion dollar market cap opportunities. We must think about adjustable markets that are truly sizeable. This can only happen if from the beginning we are thinking about product, scalability and global markets. If we just limit ourselves to India, our addressable markets are going to be 5/ 10 billion dollar opportunities. If we need to build very large companies, create millions of jobs, and create the wealth that we need to make India prosperous firstly, we must lift our aspirations very high. We should build companies that are going to go global. Building companies of global wealth and global scale is important. The second is sufficient risk cap. We need to have people who could write 100/ 200/ 300 billion dollar cheques. It’s only when we can do that, that we can create sufficiently high barriers to entry.  We need to be sufficiently innovative and have advanced technologies with which we can capture world markets. Thirdly, we should have supportive government policies. Across various industries like power, railways, aviation, telecom etc. we have to create enabling frameworks, policy regimes, regulations that enable us to be wide open and attractive for investment. This is the reason why FDI in India is going up as much as it is and why foreign capital is flowing in to India.

Our global competitiveness rankings are going up because we have supportive consensus. We want to make sure that we have a globally competitive and innovation driven economy. At the end of the day we need to make sure that we are sufficiently innovative, and are thinking globally and there are investors to support us. As we all work together, collaborating on the massive and interesting problems, we will be able to create and grow the new industries that are necessary for us to become a more prosperous and a more developed nation.

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