“Wealth creation is critical and you need an ecosystem for wealth. Government can’t do it alone, businesses have to be involved.” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, in his keynote address to a hall full of participants at the IRBF Conference 2017.
Responsible business & CSR
Speaking about responsible business, Mr. Kant said, “We need to work in partnership with businesses…we need responsible business leadership. There is extreme inequality in India because India has not invested in social capital.”
Mr. Kant expressed his views on CSR too. He said, “According to the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), 6,000 Indian companies will be required to do CSR projects. We have 20,000 crore to invest in CSR projects, which is a huge possibility.”
Mr. Kant said, “All businesses are not bad, some have done a lot of good.”
He shared various examples of successful CSR projects. He praised the educational projects initiated by Piramal Foundation, the Nanhi Kali project of Mahindra Education Trust, the Prayas medical centre established by L&T in Chennai and Capgemini’s digital literacy centres.
He said, “We need to motivate businesses to look at successful case studies. These studies should be put in the public domain so that others can learn from them.”
Focusing on wealth creation
Mr. Kant also addressed the topic of growth. He said, “India must grow. It’s important to have hunger and ambition to grow. We need to grow at 9% in the next 3 decades. We are passing through a rare transformation – we need to create wealth for a younger population.”
He also agreed that grave inequality still exists in India. He said, “ I completely agree on inequality. Let us not damn wealth creation in India and kill the spirit of enterprise.”
“Make India easy and simple. Allow people to flourish.” said Mr. Kant, who has played an important role in creating ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Incredible India’ and ‘God’s Own Country’ campaigns. He is also the author of Branding India – An Incredible Story.
He said, “We’re in the phase of globalisation. Globalisation has lifted vast segments of people above the poverty line. Countries like Japan and Korea are an example of that. They allowed free trade and pushed for exports. We need to penetrate global markets and become a part of the global supply chain.”
Ease of doing business
Mr. Kant spoke about how the Indian states are performing on the ease of doing business rankings. He said, “There are 7-8 states that spoil the India story. India falls back because of them…we are ranking states on the ease of doing business. By naming and shaming the states we create a sense of competition. This also affects investment.”
Mr. Kant also shared his views on the rising trend of entrepreneurship. He said, “India is seeing a unique movement of startups. This has brought in a lot of energy and social innovation.” He also mentioned the emergence of health startups Practo and Mitra Biotech and the app Hello English.
“India must allow this to grow and flourish. Bangalore and Hyderabad have become centers of innovation. India has combined frugal innovation, engineering and entrepreneurship.”
Mr. Kant’s speech was followed by the launch of the India Responsible Business Index 2016. Learn more about the rankings of top 100 companies on the index here.