10 July 2020

Editor's Space

Equipped for the future

India Inc, which till the first half of the year lived in the debilitating umbra of the global economic slowdown, seems to have recovered remarkably well. What is even more gratifying is that in the wake of Narendra Modi’s assumption to the prime ministerial hot seat following a hugely popular mandate, the country has won a thumping international vote of confidence. The evidence of that is not just seen from the recent peregrinations of the prime minister, but also from the verdict on the Indian economy from the Global Indian. Witness this.  Prem Watsa, the Hyderabad born chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings, dubbed as Canada’s own Warren Buffet, is betting big on the India Growth Story. Not only is he predicting that the economic growth from now on will cross 10 per cent but he is lining up a staggering $1 billion investment in India. The corpus is not unsurprisingly for infrastructure development – sectors like grain storage – and in various other businesses.


Then we have Anshu Jain, co-chairman of Eurozone’s largest lender Deutsche Bank – he is the first non European to head the German financial powerhouse – heavily underlining his optimism for India’s growth prospects. The enthusiasm is particularly directed at the government’s ambitions to to build smart cities and to bridge the infrastructure gap with developed countries. The support is not without the warning of the enormous pitfalls, not to mention requirements of potential investors of a detailed road map of the plan and a proper framework for public private partnership projects.


It is a known that financial investors are inspired to put their money when FII inflows are at an all time high and contribute to the positive performance of equity markets. But strategic investments on the other hand tend to be guided by long term conditions like the ease of doing business. That is one area where India scores low on the international performance index owing to crucial factors like taxation and consistency of policies. Very obviously there is a huge groundswell of support for the direction India expects to take. But it is high time the political minders realised that ground realities need to be altered to suit financial engagement both from domestic and overseas investors.


Admittedly there are international firms which are ready to take the financial leap as India embarks on its next phase of growth. Like the UK based digger manufacturer JC Bamford Excavators – popularly known as JCB – which unmindful of the economic slump recently inaugurated two factories in Jaipur at an investment of Rs 500 crore. The company has till date invested over Rs 2,420 crore in India. As JCB Group Chairman Lord Bamford declared at the recent inauguration of the facilities, “We have always been extremely bullish on the long term growth prospects of India.  We even kept investing in the country during the slowdown and we will continue to keep investing here.”


It is not just romance but also smart business sense which will dictate investor choice. That is also how visitors to bC India 2014 – the world’s largest construction equipment trade show – beginning this month in Noida, outside the national capital, will view the fare on display. The urgency to grab the opportunities available to participate in the India Growth Story cannot be ignored.


It will truly be battle out there, as can be seen from this issue’s cover story on the Construction Equipment sector’s Big Daddies. Have a wonderful read!

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