Is there a slowdown or is there not? Thankfully it didn’t take the form of a Shakespearean soliloquy at Outlook Business Leading Edge 2019, because the biggest business leaders and union ministers debated two sides of the story, each as convincing as the other. The theme was why one should “Never Waste A Slowdown” and the responses were so varied that, at one point, business leaders quipped if they had “imagined” the slowdown. Even the not-so-politically correct minister of Road Transport and Highways and minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Nitin Gadkari chose to look at the bright side, laying out plans for a better future.
He reminded those in attendance that India remains the fastest growing economy, and “with 48% of export coming from MSMEs”. He believes this industry is the “growth engine of the country, contributing 29% to GDP”. But as unemployment in the country reaches unprecedented levels, Gadkari added that increasing the number of jobs is the most important item on the government’s agenda. Mind you, we have abundant manpower, but with changing times (digitisation and technological advancement), the Indian labour force needs a thorough shake-up.
“We have identified at least ten sectors that contribute to our exports and are building a scheme to support them for skill development training, research and product designs to upgrade the industry,” he said. The goal here is to facilitate higher exports. At the same time, high-import sectors will also be subjected to heavy rejig by encouraging more local production. The government w