‘India needs data, taxation norms to tap opportunities’

Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran on Saturday said he saw “limitless opportunities” for India, but added that the government needed to establish regulatory standards on data and taxation, while the industry had to think of projects on a bigger scale to capitalise on the chances that would come in a post-COVID world.

Addressing the FICCI AGM, Mr. Chandrasekaran noted that India’s GDP would likely grow at 11% in fiscal 2022, after a significant contraction this year. “While this rebound looks spectacular, we all recognise it is coming on the back of a real loss of output, which means we will need to not only recover, but accelerate. And I believe, given the opportunities and the trends that we see, we can definitely achieve this and much higher levels of growth.”

Highlighting some of the trends such as digital and data, big tech stocks being worth over $1 trillion, rush towards renewables and decoupling of the U.S. and China, Mr. Chandrasekaran said he saw limitless opportunity for India in these trends.

Observing that India had struggled to grow manufacturing as a percentage of GDP mainly because of issues such as power, logistics, and labour, he said, “We have pointed [out] high interest rates and also have underscored overreach and interference. But in the future, if we put this behind and as an industry start acting by visioning our scale, we will become a pivot for the new world order”.

“If we have to realise the idea that the 2020s belongs to India, we need a new focus on talent. We need to enable data and bandwidth and we need to be part of the new regulatory standards,” he added.

The Tata group chief said he saw a more collaborative relationship between industry and government. “Industry should be bold and start visioning all projects at scale, the government should then enable the partnership and make India ready to participate in this new world.”

The government should ensure that every village had sufficient bandwidth, affordable data and establish the regulatory standards required on data privacy, data residency, data localisation, and taxation in general, he added.

He also said that there was a need to reimagine the whole technology blueprint nationwide and for this it was vital that technologies like robotics, and AI become part of the mainstay of manufacturing.

Pointing out that the pandemic had “exacerbated global supply chains and clearly outlined a new global world order” he said India could leverage its large talent pool to become a key player in the global value chain. “The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, and the new geopolitical order only accelerates this opportunity and the time is now,” Mr. Chandrasekaran said.

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