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Hurdles before India 2020

Young people with deep pockets will drive the Indian market in 2020 but to tap that potential industry needs a strategy to overcome immediate challenges, a panel of experts pointed out at a conclave in the city.

The agenda at “India as a market in 2020”, organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry in association with The Telegraph and the JIS Group at Williamson Magor Hall last Saturday, was to predict what is going to happen in the next six years and come up with a strategy to meet the emerging needs.

Richard Rekhy, the CEO of KPMG India, put things in a global perspective in his keynote address. “Regulators are getting smarter as they increasingly begin to understand business… the problem is, rules of globalisation were written. But it went too fast and rules did not match the speed of change,” said Rekhy.

“Youth is India’s biggest advantage.... They will drive so much consumption,” he said.

According to Rekhy, the only challenge is lack of adequate stress on education.

“India is to become much more than an IT outsourcing partner. Big pharma companies deploying in India will accelerate.... Innovation is not happening as we do not celebrate failure. We are not building capacities for the future,” said Anurag Batra, chairman, exchange4media Group. Subho Samanta, group senior VP, president, SI global delivery & SI emerging markets, Atos India, stated India held a huge potential for app development.

Sandipan Chakravortty, managing director, Tata Steel Processing & Distribution Limited, who moderated the discussion, factually painted India’s position and the issues the country faces.

About 70 per cent of India’s population live below $2 a day, said Chakravortty. One out of three children suffer from malnutrition, while only 3 per cent of Indians pay income tax. About 5 per cent of the population control 45 per cent of India’s economy. The India of 2020, according to Partha Sinha, director (India & South Asia), Publicis Group, would need strategic marketing strategies as discretionary income will only come down as inflation becomes a reality.

Summing up the mega trends of 2020, Narayan Devanathan, EVP & national planning director, Dentsu India Group, said India would see the middle class bulge, which would lead to a flurry of activities from multinationals.

“We need far more towns around which productive endeavour can grow and be rewarded. The story of the US is that they built roads,” said M. Damodaran, the valedictory speaker and former chairman, UTI, IDBI & Sebi.