Ramesh Abhishek, Co-chair of the Indian-Hungarian Joint Economic Commission and Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and dr Didar Singh, Secretary General of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) held a public lecture about India’s current economic environment in the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The event was moderated by Anna Juhos, external research fellow of IFAT.
Márton Schőberl, Director of the IFAT welcomed the speakers and the participants of the event in his introductory speech. He emphasized that India has a strategic importance for Hungary and the bilateral relations between the two countries are characterised by a constant interaction based on shared fundamental principles.
During his speech, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek gave a broad picture about the main economic policies of the developing India with a special focus on industrial development. He highlighted that India is at a stage where the country can develop even more rapidly taking into consideration the growing number of population which is currently around 1.2 billion people.
He further argued that if we take a look at the composition of Indian GDP, we can see that the industry amounts to 30 %, agriculture amounts to 17 % of the overall GDP and the rest comes from services. India, however, depends heavily on the agricultural sector in terms of livelihood despite the low contribution of agriculture to the GDP. He stressed that there is a need for more investment since global demand has come down all around the world after the financial crisis. In India public investments have been increased but in areas like infrastructure further improvement is needed with the promotion of public investment. He emphasized that doing business has been difficult in India but the government is constantly working on the development of this issue.
Mr. Abhishek mentioned that India hopes for a good monsoon this year which will be good for the agriculture. According to him, in the manufacturing sector, a liberal policy climate has been created because India was closed for FDI in many sectors. Recently, there has been a 50 % increase in FDI. He underscored that another priority for the government is the area of youth policies. India tries to provide young people with the necessary skills like it is outlined in Digital India concept initiated by the government.
Mr Abhishek told the participants that India tries to increase financial inclusion to create a better life of its people. The close cooperation with Hungary is an indicator of the Indian effort to create an integrative system of trade and investments for all partner countries. Potentials residing in the cooperation between Hungary and India have to be seized especially in the field of technologies.
Dr. Didar Singh delivered a presentation with the title of Indo-vation: Jugaad 2.0 (Beyond Quick Fix) on how India as a country is going beyond quick fix solutions. He explained the meaning of Jugaad which is a colloquial Hindi word with the meaning of a hack that refers to the resourceful improvisation of Indian people. Mr Singh argued that India needs to go beyond Jugaad as the country is looking for sustainability not only in business sector but in the social, environmental, political and economic fields as well since it is a very big challenge for the country at the moment. He continued with the explanation of Indo-vation which is the Indian way of technological innovation.
Mr Singh underpinned that the current world of start-ups resembles to the survival of the fittest in a Darwinian way: start-ups need to adapt quickly and respond to pressures even quicker, besides that creativity is one of the most important quality in that field. He outlined that India could overtake China economically according to Ernst and Young’s Rapid-Growth Market Forecasts 2011.
Mr. Sigh further asserted that India is the world’s second largest growing start-up ecosystem. He also presented a couple of innovative and sustainable start up ideas like edible cutlery of Bakeys or Bhungroo which is a local innovative water technology that handles and gives access to water in rural areas or 3Netra which is a technology for screening eye diseases at rural areas. Mr Sigh underlined that India has the world’s second largest diaspora. He underlined that India’s software revolution happened partially because of the large amount of returning Indian migrants from all around the world to brought technology back to India. He pointed out that Hungary has also large diaspora oversees therefore diaspora policies shall be taken into account more seriously to boost the Hungarian start-up world as diasporas are strategic, technological, diplomatic and political resources as well.