For the first session in the “Interactive Talks from the Top” series BIMTECH had invited renowned Thought Leader and Economist Dr. Ajit Ranade, Group Executive President & Chief Economist at the Aditya Birla group to address the students on August 21, 2020. The talk was also joined by Ms. Jayshree Mohta Chairperson BIMTECH, Dr. Harivansh Chaturvedi Director (BIMTECH), Mr. Vikash Khandoi, Member, BOG, Dr Anupam Verma Deputy Director & Dean Academics, Dr Jagadish Shettigar, Dr Pooja Misra and other members of the Board of Governing Body of BIMTECH.
The talk started with an elaborate introduction by Ms. Anvi Kapoor and was then followed byan introductory speech by Dr. H. Chaturvedi. Later the session was addressed by Dr Ajit Ranade followed by a Question and Answer session.
Dr. Ajit Ranade initiated his address by thanking BIMTECH for achieving the very prestigious European Commission Research grant and for being selected as one under the top 25 innovative institutions in the country by the Vice President of India.
He enlightened all the listeners by discussing in detail the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on the Indian Economy and the way ahead. He emphasized on the fact that growth numbers can be sometimes misleading. Even when the economy grows at 0% it does produce similar to the previous year.
Dr. Ranade stressed on the fact that apart from observing social distancing,the places which attract a large crowd need to havehigh levels of sanitization rules in place which will ensure health safety. He stressed that digital economy, health care and the pharmaceutical industry are growing tremendously. The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed people to adopt the method of digital payments, make online purchases and connect with their kin digitally. IOT, machine learning, block chainetcare some of the most important technologies for the growth of businesses across different industries. India is also the largest market for digital giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon.
GDP figures for the April – June 2020 quarter were negative because there was a complete halt in the economy due to the precautionary lockdown but since the lockdown has started to lift up the manufacturing activities have also resumed and there foregrowth will gain momentum in the months to come. Also, the current situation should not be compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s. There will be a sharp recovery in economic growth and it is expected to touch 6-7% growth by 2022.
Dr. Ranade added that the agricultural sector on which a large section of our population is dependent is performing well.Consumer goods companies which sell consumer essentials (not FMCG company like Britannia, ITC, Marico, Hindustan Lever) are also performing well aspreferences of urban consumers have shifted and producers have also changed their business model. The government has to now embark upon an expansionary fiscal policy. The Atmanirbhar Bharat introduced by the incumbent Government is synonymous to Make in India and focuses on building strong infrastructure and increasing manufacturing capabilities within India, but does not encourage import ban.
There are already a few green shoots visible like power demand and manufacturing activity picking up. With private investment, consumption-led demand and exports all looking weak, the thrust to revive growth would have to come from government-driven expenditure. Building future-ready, intelligent, resilient and sustainable infrastructure could help restart capital goods production, provide employment and revive private sector confidence. While there may have been underlying challenges earlier, neither is India’s human capital, natural resources nor existing industry been physically dented in the last three months. People should also adapt to changes and upskill themselves as there are new opportunities being created in every industry. The session by Dr. Ranade proved to be full of deep insights and was full of learning for the students.
The talk ended with a Q & A round where Dr. Pooja Misra asked questions on behalf of the students. The talk was a huge success with over 500 participants from both 1st Year and 2nd Year students and Alumni of BIMTECH and was a unique and insightful event in itself.