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Davos 2023: This is India’s century, says Deloitte’s Punit Renjen at WEF

With Russia’s aggression against Ukraine along with supply chain issues causing concern across the globe, Punit Renjen, Global CEO Emeritus, Deloitte, in conversation with Business Today’s Managing Editor, Siddharth Zarabi, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos said that the sentiment has graduated from optimism to caution and not pessimism. Renjen is optimistic that the end of 2023 and 2024 is going to be a really good year.

“We’re at the beginning of a 15-year secular trend enabled by technology growth trend. And I think that is going to lead to a tremendous amount of growth. And then, of course, what is happening in India is remarkable. I think this is India’s century. And I finally believe that the tangibles are manifesting, but the intangibles are manifesting. Every conversation with the Indian diaspora that I’ve had, has a certain level of real optimism,” said Renjen.

The year 2022 was outperformance after COVID. And as things are lining up tangibly, Renjen believes 6- 7 per cent growth is easily attainable. But India should aspire for much higher, say 8-10 per cent growth. “And in 10-15 years, the country [India] will be transformed just like China was in the 1980s-90s,” he added.

According to Renjen, the way forward for India is that it should never try and replicate what other countries have done. There are some strengths that India has that China doesn’t. “For instance, the democratic tradition for 76 years, the demographic dividend. We are still a young growing population, the English language skills….so these are all examples that are unique to India. Now with that democratic tradition with states, you do get a certain level of coordination required. With those advantages come some challenges. I think the government is trying to address them, I’ve seen that, and I think they need to be addressed,” he said.

He also mentioned that it is a great opportunity for the US and India to collaborate, to work together as this is once in a decade type of opportunity, and it should be seized.

Speaking on major megatrends that are happening, Renjen said: “supply chain re-assessment realignment is one of those trends, the energy transition as a second trend. There are some geopolitical trends and a realignment in terms of the world order that is happening as we speak. But on supply chains, India absolutely can be a destination, should be a destination. On the policy front, India has made some really, really good initial steps, but there’s more work to be done.”

Renjen suggests that sectors that are going to be important for India are pharmaceuticals and technology manufacturing and nature-based solutions. For instance, Apple’s recent building facilities in Tamil Nadu are a good example. And even the initiatives are undertaken by India for hydrogen, solar and wind. Those are all examples of areas where India can and should invest in the future. BusinessToday

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