Ideas for 2023

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Hopefully, budget 2023 accelerates investments, spurs consumption and moderates current account deficit—catapulting India to double digit growth. While India’s performance was much better than many other countries, the return to normalcy was delayed. We should temper expectations of any big surprise in the budget. India needs a striking rate of 8-9% income growth for the next 25 years to become a high-income economy. Another challenge could be climate shock, which can pound India’s vast agriculture sector, pushing millions into poverty. A low carbon path would be key to hedge such future risks. We need to focus on the ease of setting up manufacturing plants and bringing down the cost of operations while focusing on upskilling to emerge as a global manufacturing hub. The nation needs a new vision in a new world. The government can probably contribute to it, and the states can also add on to it. But if you think that GDP growth is going to accelerate because of the budget, I think that could be over ambitious.

Lessons from Jacinda Ardern

In the resignation of Ms Jacinda Ardern, former Premier of New Zealand, there are valuable lessons for corporate leadership. “I am not leaving because it’s hard,” she said. “I am leaving because with such a privileged job comes responsibility: the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also, when you are not.”

Her statement astonished everyone. In a world where we have seen leaders clinging on to their posts for dear life, by means fair or foul, Prime Minister Ardern’s statement was a shocker. I strongly believe that people should always keep their exit card in their pocket and carry on with their jobs, but only until one finds it interesting and have something substantial to contribute.

MMA Annual Convention 2023

Global food, energy and financial crises have been exacerbated by the climate crisis. India has a unique opportunity to lead from the front through one of the most influential platforms: G-20. Several priorities have been identified—green development, climate finance, lifestyle for environment, accelerated inclusive and resilient growth, accelerating progress on sustainable development goals, and women-led development, etc. In this context the MMA Annual Convention on the theme “India’s Century: How To Drive Sustainable, Inclusive Growth?” focuses on three special sessions: Sustainable Growth With Energy Independence; Atmanirbhar Bharat – Accelerating Frontier Growth In Key Sectors (Defense & Aerospace manufacturing, Semicon Manufacturing and GiG economy); and Getting It Done – What Challenges Lie Ahead To Execute A Multi-Point Strategy? How Can India Mobilize (Human Resources, Financial Resources And Technology) To Achieve Aspirations?

The convention will help participants to gain insight into India’s growth story and the key factors driving sustainable inclusive growth. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr K. Mahalingam (Mali), Chairman, MMA Convention Committee and our Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Company, for tirelessly working over the last few months to make the convention a grand success. I also thank the sponsors for their support in organizing the event. Please watch the convention live on Saturday, 25th February 2023.

Developing our schools

Alarming observations have been made in the recently released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). A class five student is unable to read a class two level text book! It is a serious issue that will have a deteriorating and cascading impact on the future of our children. There are serious indictments of the education system and schools should initiate immediate remedial actions before it is too late. The sharp rise in children enrolled in Government Schools is a positive outcome of the pandemic; the main reason being the usurious fee structure of private schools. It should be our endeavor to improve the standard of teaching at government and aided schools. Only disruptive change in education could help us tackle joblessness. The long neglect of primary education has left us with deficient basic skills, and this needs to be addressed.

The MMA-ACSYS and Super Auto Forge CSR initiative at government aided schools focussed on skill development at all levels. It’s our endeavor to provide the best environment for students to learn from the best trainers. It will significantly enhance their pride and passion for learning. With the realization of such an initiative, removing barriers to accessibility will be an uphill, but not insurmountable, battle.

Indian universities & the world

For a long time, proponents of internationalization of higher education have cherished the dream of foreign universities operating in India. But, the idea failed to materialize due to the concerns of the regulatory authorities, governments and foreign higher educational institutions. Opening up to the world means making India more visible on the global academic scene. It also opens up implementing best practices from abroad. All this will take careful planning, abundant resources, and support from the central and state governments. It also calls for a growing consciousness in the Indian academic community.

GST today & tomorrow

At Rs.1.5 lakh crore, the Goods and Service Tax (GST) inflows in Dec 2022 signals a recovery of the Indian services sector. The GST council had met briefly after a long break but left with many critical reforms hanging. The council must be convened soon after the budget, not just to help sustain revenue inflows, but also to rationalize the rate structure. In this context, MMA is organizing a presentation on the theme GST Today & Tomorrow by Mr K Vaitheeswaran, Advocate and Tax Consultant, to understand more about the complex issues connected with the implementation of GST and also about the changes ahead.

EV owners’ dilemma!

EV owners are facing an unusual hurdle from their resident welfare associations. RWAs are spooked by instances of EV related fires and aren’t allowing charging infra to be setup. As EV ownership increases, it will be important for apartment complexes to be proactive in installing the charging infrastructure. Otherwise, India’s EV story can hit a serious hurdle. Apart from common electric fast chargers, there is a need for the grid infrastructure to be upgraded at the distribution level to support increased EV charging. It’s a challenge big enough that demands a government policy to resolve the issue.

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