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1947-2022: From colonisation to Independence, from an undivided India to one that was partitioned; from the British Raj to a pluralist, sovereign, democratic republic; and more recently, from a predominantly agriculture-based to a services-led economy, and from bricks-and-mortar to digital.
India has come a long way navigating many a crest and trough through three quarters of a century. Today, it is the world’s largest democracy with influencer status in the global mindscape.
The country has, undoubtedly, moved the needle on several fronts. The framing of the Indian Constitution underlines our secular spirit. The Green Revolution spelt the start of a self-reliant Bharat. Liberalisation of the economy paved the way for a vibrant India brimming with opportunities; while the launch of its first indigenous satellite and, later, its nuclear programme enabled India to join the league of select countries with such capabilities.
Today, India 2.0 is geared to be both inclusive and Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) with economy, infrastructure, technology-driven systems, vibrant demography and demand as the five pillars of a self-reliant India.1 Aligned to its vision of achieving a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025 from the current USD 3.1 trillion, the Government is focussed on certain reforms pertaining to supply chains (especially for agriculture), rational tax systems, simple and clear laws, capable human resources and a strong financial system.2
Social investment campaigns are already bearing fruit: a peer-to-peer lending platform aimed at enabling unbanked communities of farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs is a case in point. Yet another encouraging step towards building an inclusive society is the setting up of a family philanthropy network to contribute over a billion dollars to social causes in India. This is to help accelerate India’s journey towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring over one billion Indian citizens can thrive with equity and dignity.3
India’s progress report indicates that at the end of March 2022, the overall growth is at 8.7%,4 unprecedented challenges notwithstanding. The country is digitally empowered with Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity which is proving to be a game changer, helping reach out to those living in remote corners of the country. It is also the seedbed for billion-dollar start-ups, with Indian start-ups having raised USD 8.4 billion in the first quarter of 2022, spelling 22% year-on-year growth.5 The country’s rank on the Global Innovation Index has moved further north to 46 in 2021 from 81 in 2015,6 with more entrepreneurs and innovators entering the fray.
Besides, India has yet another potential advantage. With its strategic location, large internal market, and a thriving private sector, it could well be the next manufacturing destination and by 2030, this can add more than USD 500 billion annually to the global economy.7 And this while living up to its commitment to a 500-GW nationally determined contribution (NDC) target of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030.8
The country – robust and resilient – thus seems to be in a relatively good spot compared to many others, despite geopolitical tension, inflation, asymmetry and polarisation.
That sets the stage for the launch of the first edition of PwC India’s digizine, Immersive Outlook, comprising thought-provoking articles and a video interview. The distinctive perspectives offered in each of these articles are aimed at generating transformational ideas and helping translate them into reality through human-led tech enablement, accelerating our #CommittedIndia journey towards a USD 5 trillion economy.
The first article, India on the cusp of transformation, by Venkata Peri, Head of the Research and Insights Hub, traces some of the hidden cracks that need to be addressed more proactively if we, as a nation, are to break new ground.
Economic Advisory Services Partner and Government sector Leader Ranen Banerjee’s article, India @2047, is a forward-looking piece that shows how India, over the next 25 years, could exceed a per capita income of USD 26,000 – almost 13 times the current level – by unlocking some key areas that demand both investments and policy interventions. With the right attitude and close collaboration between relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem, Banerjee demonstrates how this could well become a reality.
Addressing the ‘tax gap’ in India by tax gurus Akhilesh Ranjan and S. Ramesh underline the reasons behind India’s significantly lower tax-to-GDP ratio despite certain far-reaching tax reforms. They highlight the primary reasons for the ‘tax gap’ and make recommendations that can help build mutual trust between the taxpayer and the tax department, leading to sustainable compliance and revenue growth.
Climate change, as is evident, has moved from the margins to the centre across the globe. In their article, Moving towards equitable resilience, ESG Leader Sambitosh Mohapatra and climate resilience and disaster risk reduction expert Nidish Nair focus on the impacts of climate change on the deprived sections of society. They explain how corporates can play a crucial role in navigating these impacts and make a difference to the whole of society.
Last but by no means the least, we have T. V. Narendran, CEO and MD of Tata Steel Ltd, in conversation with Sanjeev Krishan, PwC India Chairperson. As they discuss a range of issues from policy stability to sustainability, they deftly weave in the nation-building story in which all of us have a significant role to play.
As we, a 1.3-billion strong nation, enter the ‘amrit kaal’ – the last quarter of India’s century – transformation is inevitable. The journey may not be smooth; but as they say, tough roads often lead to beautiful destinations. It is therefore imperative to cultivate the right attitude, and nurture an inclusive and growth mindset that could catapult India’s status as a developed nation. This brings to mind the practice of kaizen, a Japanese approach for continuous improvement. Kaizen centres around teamwork, discipline, quality circles and incremental change effectuated by each and every individual in the ecosystem to trigger collective transformation. Practising kaizen could catalyse our #CommittedIndia efforts towards building a developed nation.
We hope you find these articles insightful and that the ‘immersive’ content of this very first edition prompts you to watch this space for more. Reach out to us if you would like to have a more detailed discussion on any of the aspects we have touched upon.
Vishnupriya Sengupta, Director, Markets
T.V. Narendran (right), CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel, in conversation with Sanjeev Krishan, Chairperson, PwC in India, on the winning leap in the nation-building narrative.