The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

December - 2009 - issue > India Road Ahead

What lies ahead for Indian businesses?

S Sridharan
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
S Sridharan
The past year has turned out to be, to put it mildly, one of the most volatile global economic seasons in history, and its ripples were felt in every part of the corporate world. India Inc was not spared the blushes as well, but we can now safely say that we were able to tide over the crisis remarkably well. So what lies ahead for Indian businesses? Were there any lessons learnt? What are the strengths of India Inc that came to the fore during an unprecedented crisis like this? Let us try and explore in detail what lies ahead for the Indian economy.

One of the strengths of our economy, which also came to light during the past year, is the presence of half a billion strong literate workforce, complementing the fact that a vast majority of this country’s population is young. What this means is, that such a huge population is constantly striving hard to achieve better, they are not only pushing up the per capita income of the country but also continuously thinking of innovative ideas thereby creating new business opportunities regularly.

Education has fast emerged as one of the most attractive destinations of private investment in India, resulting in many more people getting access to quality education. I see this thrust, resulting in India, emerging as one of the global hubs for R&D, especially in the technology space as more and more companies look to tap the immense scientific potential of the country. However, infrastructure and incentives for innovation and entrepreneurship need to be given an additional boost for the purpose. A national body on the lines of NASSCOM to foster R&D in India is definitely the need of the hour. Over the years, we have seen MNCs open up their R&D centres here, and I see no reason why other sectors will not follow suit. The other cash cows of the economy going forward, would lie in the use of technology leading to lower natural resource usage, any product or service that builds in higher efficiencies and eco-friendliness.

What is going to ultimately establish us as global economic leaders however is when all the above strengths and positives are buoyed by our spirit of entrepreneurship. As a community we are trained to take a gamble from very early in life.

The challenge before the Indian entrepreneur is the business models based on cost arbitrage, large population and the inherent India advantage with low entry barrier. With the entrepreneur competence, we should leverage the scientific talent to invent and lead in science-driven innovation to create the differentiation in the global market place. Government has an important role to play by investing in basic scientific research, introducing reforms in higher education, allowing for the creation of more world-class universities and creating mechanisms for technology transfer from universities. When the appropriate systems are in place, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs can license and commercialize technology, moving it from the lab to the market.

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