In view of the recent challenges such as the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and war as well as growing inequality between different strata of society - there are five critical trends, namely digital adoption, supply chain rebalances, sustainability, healthcare and global talent pool, which would impact and shape the future of economies and businesses, going forward. This was stated by Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons ltd. He was speaking at the 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022 which was being held today in the virtual mode.
Elaborating on the first trend or pillar, Mr Chandrasekaran underscored the use of digital technology, essentially AI, Cloud and data, for helping companies to take a winning leap to the top and also solve the multifarious problems of the country.
Secondly, he was of the view that the rebalancing of the supply chains in favour of resilience and not efficiency per se which would provide India with an opportunity to assume a leadership position in the world of business. India is presently growing at a faster pace as compared to most countries and inflation is much below the advanced nations.
Thirdly, Mr Chandrasekaran stated that going forward, the pressure on mitigating the impact of climate change would increase and businesses would find tremendous support to accelerate the shift towards EVs, green hydrogen, storage batteries, circular economy, water efficiency, among others. India should participate in this new ecosystem and play a pivotal role in leveraging green technologies. Seventy per cent of the world’s growth will be coming from emerging markets. Global support for businesses based on new energy is going to have huge acceptance, he said.
Fourthly, a focus on health and wellness as well as safety and convenience at workplaces should play a significant role within companies to stay ahead.
Fifth, skills would find a primacy of place and become even more important than formal education. The talent architecture would change for all industries with a shift towards technology and robotics. The challenge would be to attract talent from the global pool.
Mr Chandrasekaran further mentioned that, while India is envisioned to emerge as the third largest economy, it is important that all sections of the society partake in the fruits of growth. The basic quality of life should be enjoyed by all. At the same time, the sustainability target needs to be met. And these are not conflicting goals and could be met through R&D and innovation. Hence, there is need to respect research and provide commensurate compensation to those involved in research. Besides, collaboration with academia and industry in R&D would make an impact at the global level.
Commenting on the issue of job creation, Mr Chandrasekaran said that the large industry should play the role of a catalyst to facilitate job creation. The use of AI and technology could be contemplated for skill development of the workers which would help them shift from the informal to the formal set of jobs. He emphasised that the solution to the employment problem would be in technology and access to education, skills, healthcare, and markets. This would also change the opportunities for business as technology would expand the market and improve the purchasing power of the poor. We should look at technology for job creation rather than job loss. There is also need to bring more women into the workforce, he said. He underpinned the significance of SMEs in job creation and emphasised the need for addressing the needs of SMEs to unlock their potential and create jobs.
Mr Chandrasekaran maintained that the present decade holds a great promise for India as many business opportunities have been created in the aftermath of Covid-19. Indians have become more aspirational and have developed new aspirations along the way. Nevertheless, this is also an opportune time to reduce the gap in per capita incomes between the rich and the poor.
Mr Chandrasekaran also spoke extensively about his company and how it had adopted scale, simplification, and synergy as well as technology, sustainability, and speed to continue to be a leading brand.
Mr Janmejaya Sinha, Chairman, CII National Committee on Financial Inclusion, posed questions to Mr Chandrasekaran on diverse aspects relating to the company strategy and opportunities for the business and economy while Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII welcomed Mr Chandrasekaran to the meeting.
11 May 2022