Amazon Smbhav: Indra Nooyi, Amitabh Kant discuss roles of government, entrepreneurs in economic growth

By 16 Apr 2021

On Day One of the Amazon Smbhav Summit 2021, Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO, Pepsico and Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog discuss India's potential in the 21st century in the day’s second fireside chat discussed

Amitabh Kant and Indra Nooyi

Covid has been a big disruptive force around the world, but at the same time it has given companies an opportunity to stop and think about how to reset for the future. 

In spite of the density of the populations in the urban areas, India has managed to control Covid better than many other countries in the world.  But what lies next? Industry leaders feel that India has to rethink its place in the global supply chain, in terms of what kind of manufacturing it is going to control and what kind of critical supplies it is going to manufacture for itself in the country

Nooyi said, "The government has to rethink what it can control in terms of critical components in the global supply chain. If India were to approach this whole self-sufficiency in a very systematic manner, it could become a major centre for the supply of critical life-saving drugs, vaccines, PPE, ventilators etc., Indian has the potential to be an innovative, low cost, high scale manufacturing country. India has to do five important things. Education,"

Nooyi spoke about five focus areas: Education, product quality, robust supply chain, ease of doing business and holistic integrity.

Emphasising that India is an innovation engine and should be open for business and investment, Nooyi explained, “One should consider the best-developed market ideas and tailor it for the Indian environment. With the increase in self-reliance, the country will be needing more of those skills to translate global ideas to the Indian context.” 

She added, "As you start shifting towards manufacturing and the more high technical side, you cannot leave a lot of people in India unaware of the technological advancements. We will need to do more re-scaling and reskilling to help move the economy forward. So the whole education system has to be rethought. We need to lift  everybody's economic standards, including women's nationalism."

Kant putting forward the initiatives the Government of India has taken, particularly in the new education policy, said, “The focus has been on skilling right from school, moving towards an expanded concept of quality education.”

Kant also shared the government’s push towards digitization and how in the wake of the pandemic, the process had become much faster. “Major structural reforms are being done with sustainability and innovations are top priorities."

Kant was of the opinion that manufacturing and urbanisation will play a very critical role and whatever the country does, it must be done with global standards in mind and with technical excellence. “India is on the verge of its most ambitious privatisation drive ever,” he said, adding, "There has been a huge buoyancy of young intrapreneurship. The latest study reveals that we manage over 100+ unicorns with a market capitalisation of Rs 200-million. These startups are innovating for the challenges of India. They are innovating for transportation, water supply, agriculture, nutrition and many new areas, which will make a huge impact on the population of India. As they find solutions to the challenges of India, they'll actually be finding solutions for the next four- to five-billion people around the world who will be moving from poverty to middle class in the next decade."

Nooyi said manufacturing excellence requires innovations from the entrepreneur, and it is also important to appropriate governance and quality produces. “Governance of companies and operations should be done so that there is no malfeasance in any operation. For small companies, one needs to make sure that the claims are accurate, the quality standards are high, and there is no mismatch between what's on the label and what's in the product.  Having a vibrant ecosystem and having the appropriate regulatory and oversight bodies, becomes important.”

As you start shifting towards manufacturing and the more high technical side, you cannot leave a lot of people in India unaware of the technological advancements. “We will need to do more re-scaling and reskilling to help move the economy forward. So the whole education system has to be rethought. We need to lift everybody's economic standards, including women's nationalism," concluded Nooyi.

According to experts, eCommerce is expected to grow in a big way in the next four to five years. Kant said, “This is a completely new area where small and medium business enterprises need to be skilled. SMEs will have to realise their capacities and develop better and learn the art of better inventory management systems to plug into both the domestic and international platforms.”


Conclusion: India should be viewed as a reliable, high quality, low cost, outstanding supplier, for itself and for the world.

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