India is fraught with micromanagement and suspicion, and upping the growth trajectory requires removing the obstacles that impede businesses, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Thursday.
Growth cannot come by merely pushing people to move fast and requires a transformative vision and a change in the culture, the head of the USD 110-billion conglomerate said, delivering the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture here. The comments come amid a slide in growth to a decadal low of 5 per cent expected for current fiscal, and also years after the Narendra Modi government made ease of doing business as its priority, along with a commitment to less of government.
“We need to reimagine our economic and business culture. Culture is most critical. Growth must not come from pushing hard. There is no point to tell people ‘drive fast, drive fast, drive fast’. It (growth) will come by removing obstacles,” he said.
A “transformative vision” which will ensure we move away from “a controlled vision of micromanagement” is the need of the hour, he said.
“We need supervision, we don’t need suspicion. And we have suspicion. All our rules start from suspicion,” Chandrasekaran said. He rued that people who work hard and honestly are put through enormous difficulties and Indians excel in making an ordinary task into an extraordinary one.
There is a massive risk aversion within the system, which has led to an “undesirable equilibrium” where it is safer to avoid or delay decisions, he said, pitching for better oversight and supervision of work.
Achieving growth inherently involves risk taking and we need to applaud the risk takers, he said. The biggest aspect which India needs to sort out at the earliest is ensuring that we deliver jobs for the society at large, he said, warning that 90 million people will be joining the working age in the new decade.
From a sectoral perspective, Chandrasekaran flagged construction, real estate, infrastructure, power, banking and tourism as the areas which need policymakers’ attention. Chandraseakaran, who sits on the central board of the RBI, also pitched for reducing the state ownership in the public sector banks through stake sales as a measure which will ensure they perform better.
Discoms are losing over Rs 1.4 lakh crore every year due to poor distribution and there is need to privatise them at a city level, he said.
Referring to the government’s USD 5 trillion GDP target, he said none of the milestones can be achieved without ensuring educated, skilled and vibrant workforce.
He also advocated policy efforts on sustainability, inclusion, health and education, and added that creativity, collaboration and problem solving become the “second nature” for the youth.
Chandrasekaran also welcomed government’s efforts at unwinding legacy problems on public delivery, corruption and tackling non performing assets at banks.
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