Not everywhere we will succeed, but we will win, says Tata Sons Chairman

N Chandrashekharan, chairman, Tata Sons, in the panel discussion in Mumbai, shared his belief that ‘Make in India’ is now in execution mode, it will bring greater traction to the economy. No matter how many percentage points we grow, it could be a two-digit figure just as much.

I think it is a unique opportunity for India for multiple reasons. There are three transitions, and there are moving geopolitical situations from the transitions point of view. The first is digital and AI. Second one is energy; third one is the supply chain. In all the transitions, I would say that India is probably the best place country in the world.

First on the digital, just two primary reasons. First, there is no country in the world which has demonstrated a large-scale digital intervention and digital platform for public services delivery, which is transformative at scale.

The second thing on the digital side is it is no secret that we have the best talent available from a digital point of view for the future, on the scale and the depth that India has, again, is unparalleled. You can add all the talent that is available from next 10 countries, still, they will fall short. So, these two are big tailwinds. If you take the energy transition, India is probably the only country in the world which must achieve the energy transition, purely only accounting for growth.

And then, but whereas in India, if whatever be the doubling, tripling, whatever is the GDP number you take by 2047, the needs of growth that we have between now and 2047 or 2050 is at least three times more than what we have. And all of this will be new energy. We will, we will do wind, we will do solar, we will do 10 other technologies.

Priority should be growth, growth, growth. And when you do something for growth, you are not so much, under stress. Like when you do it for substitution.

The third thing, whether you call it, this country fix, that country fix, does not matter to my mind. The global supply chain is going to be rebuilt, and it is being rebuilt as we speak.

It is not that it is going to happen. It is beginning, it is happening. We are in the middle of that. Sometimes you do not realize when something is happening, you always connect the dots backwards. And any supply chain is an ecosystem play. So, I keep referring as India Plus, I never use any other example of saying that we are replacing somebody. We are not replacing anyone. We have an opportunity to create a global alternative supply chain base, which I call India Plus, because India cannot do it alone. But just the sheer size, scale and everything else that we have, positions India to be the lead in this alternative supply chain. Somebody else cannot take the lead. It has to be India. And India is taking that lead, and the supply chain will get built for the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years.

But I know all of this, there is one fundamental factor, which is, I have to say this, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, what has fundamentally changed is the belief and the aspiration of every Indian and every sector. You can feel it in the urban, you can feel it in the rural, you can feel it in poor people, rich people, educated, uneducated. It is there everywhere as a country. We had the audacity in the middle of the Covid when every other nation was going after Pfizer and Moderna, which normally we would have done how to find the money to get Moderna, Pfizer, or which country we can import from. Instead of all that to say that we will build our own vaccine in the middle of a crisis, there is something to be said about.

So, this whole Make in India, I mean, honestly, if you ask all of us in this room, we will recognize this Make in India started as a campaign slogan. So, everybody thought it will be a slogan. The slogan became a movement. Movement became a belief. Now we are in the execution phase. There is no question, it is going to happen. So, I really believe that we should give ourselves the chance, and we are to make bets. We have to take risks. Everything we do will not work, but it is okay.

Nothing is easy in life. All, all the business people will tell you to make a 100-crore profit. Even why 100 crore profit to become a better positive is not easy. So, who says it is easy? Okay, so we are not doing these things because something is easy. And I tell you, if you are doing easy things, why we will succeed. Everyone else will do the same thing. So, I think we have to do things where we have a chance. What is going for us? The geopolitics is going for us. It is clear. The current geopolitics, I think they are uniquely positioned. And this will last for a few years. I do not know, it will last for three years, five years, six years, I don’t know. And you cannot miss the moment. So, the geopolitics allows you to form partnerships, technology partnerships, finance partnerships, supply chain partnerships, customer supplier partnerships.


Natarajan Chandrasekaran is chairperson of TATA Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group. He overlooks over 100 companies in the salt to steel conglomerate, with a combined turnover of well over US$100 billion!



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