The NITI Aayog has initiated the drive for privatization of PSUs, said Dr Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). He was speaking at the Annual Session 2017 of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the subject of ‘Forces of Change in Post Crisis World’ in New Delhi today.
Dr. Panagariya mentioned that the Cabinet has accepted the recommendation for privatization of 20 PSUs sent by NITI Aayog and it is only a matter of time when the process of ownership change would start. Already, the closure of sick PSUs have started happening based on the suggestion made by the Aayog.
Expressing cautious optimism about the turn taken by the globalisation process, Dr. Panagariya stated that even though the global economy is in the throes of a slowdown, this is not a cause for much concern since the size of the global economy is much larger today. There is significant scope for India to increase our share in the world economy which should be leveraged to our advantage.
Further, Dr. Panagariya observed that the strident attitude demonstrated by the US, is showing signs of change and hopefully there would be a turnaround in the approach of advanced economies in favour of openness. Dr. Panagariya was not in agreement with the view that greater use of robotics and artificial intelligence should be a source of worry for India. Our labour force, employed in mass manufacturing industries such as clothing and leather sector, has the capability to do a much better job than robots. With conducive policies and business environment, India would continue to be in the reckoning, he said. He called upon Indian industry to highlight the policies to attract investments in these sectors.
Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Past President, CII, and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, felt that the global economy continues to be under stress and the headwinds are not showing signs of dissipating. The inward looking format of globalisation is worrisome, he added. In fact, the slowdown in the advanced economies is causing a displacement of workers, spurring calls for protectionism and anti-immigration.
Technology advancement and artificial intelligence and robotics would be job displacing, said Mr Mittal. Hence, the call for policies which favour MNREGA, UBI etc would gain traction. There is a strong need for reshaping our economic agenda to stay relevant in the changing global scenario, said Mr Mittal.
Dr Naushad Forbes, President, CII said that CII stood for three things viz . free market and open border; defining an Indian company as one which operates in and manufactures in India, regardless of whether it is domestic or foreign owned; and third, a conducive business climate rather than subsidies and incentives.
Mr Rajesh Shah, Past President, CII, spoke about the competitive pressures in a global India.