Giant Strides by India Inc…Triumph of the ‘Idea of India’

Written by: Pathikrit Payne
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Three important events of this week gave a glimpse of the rising prowess of India Inc. and how the world has started acknowledging them. The first of those is that of the Tata's crossing the iconic milestone of $100 billion group turnover, a milestone that they would have achieved perhaps a year back had it not been for the falling rupee.

This was achieved along with Tata's blue eyed company TCS crossing the Rs 5 lakh crore market capitalization landmark. Through both these feats, the Tata Group became the first group entity in India to have achieved milestones which put them into a different league altogether.

Not forgetting the core

The stupendous rise of the Tata Group over the last 100 years and their overall contribution to the Indian economy needs no further introduction. Even as it has spread its wings into new age industries like information technology and telecom, it has not given up on its core business of commodities. Even as it has India's most valuable IT company namely TCS, it does continue to invest in its core business of steel, power, automobiles etc.

The most impressive part of the achievement of the Tata Group is that it has been able to cross the $100 billion mark at time when business across the world has been faltering and things in India been not very good either. An 18.5% revenue growth during the FY 2013-14 that the Tata Group achieved, in such a difficult year of policy paralysis and global economic uncertainty is not a matter of joke.

Hunger for more success...

However the reason for taking pride on the triumph and feats of Tatas does not end here only. When most would have been more than happy to have a $ 100 billion turnover and sit over it to earn laurels, the aggressive approach and their hunger for further success, does make it more inspiring.

Over the next three years or so, the Tata Group plans to invest over $ 35 billion to further consolidate their business in their endeavor to be among the top 25 entities of the world in terms of market capitalization by 2025. In every respect Tatas now are deeply entrenched with the economic future of India. Their success automatically becomes a step ahead for the Indian economy.

Adani's triumph in Australia- setting a new milestone

The second important news is that of the green signal given by the Australian Government to Adani Group's plan to invest $15.5 billion in the proposed Carmichael Coalmine and Rail Project. This is perhaps one of the largest offshore investments by an Indian company and this invest has long term as well as deep ramifications for India's energy security. Once the infrastructure is built for the shipment of coal from the mines, Adani Group would be in a position to bring to India as much as 60 million tonnes of coal every year.

Adani's Australia investment and its ramification for India..

The issues of shortage of coal in the domestic market and its impact on India's power sector is stupendous and have serious impact on the productivity of the economy as well as the viability of investments made in power sector.

TK Arun in an article written in Economic Times (read here) titled, ‘Vote on Account 2014: Scrapping state monopoly over coal a priority for next government' stated, ‘At present, shortage of coal leads to anything between 40,000 and 50,000 MW of installed power generation capacity lying idle. This starves the economy of power, makes some added new capacity unviable, leading to build up of bad debt on banks' books and making them cut further lending to infrastructure.'

India's plans to make massive thermal power plants based on imported coal received a severe jolt when Indonesia imposed major taxes on the export of Indonesian coal that resulted in considerable hike in the price of coal imported to India from there, thereby completely jeopardizing the viability of the power plants which were to be run with imported coal.

This coupled with the sheer failure of Coal India Ltd to meet up with the rising demand of coal in the country along with the mess that the Coal Scam created, has put a real question mark on the ability of India to sustain its economic growth through seamless supply of electricity.

One cannot deny that even in Indonesia, Indian companies like the Jindal Group had investments in coal mines but even then had to suffer because of the tweak in policy brought in by the Indonesian Government which jacked up the price of the coal Jindals wanted to ship to India.

Though one cannot deny that the same can happen with coal import from Australia as well, the fact remains investment in energy assets abroad is the only way forward for India, given its rising energy requirement is to continue to invest in energy assets abroad.

This apart, the fact that Indian companies are now showing the conviction to commit such high amount of investments abroad is a reflection of their growing confidence and is genuinely praiseworthy.

The giant leap of Flipkart- Inspiration for millions

Last but not the least is the news of new generation e-commerce company Flipkart's successful raising of $ 1billion of investment from existing and new investors. Flipkart, now valued at $ 5 billion has been giving a real run for money to global online companies like Amazon.

In fact Flipkart's success is a testimony of the die-hard attitude and ingenuity of India's new generation of entrepreneurs most of whom came from extremely modest or middle class background and through sheer perseverance borrowed seed capital created organizations Micromax, Flipkart, Snapdeal and IndiaBulls.

The story of the promoters of Flipkart and their starting of the venture with a pittance of seed capital is perhaps the same for most of Indian entities. In fact in a country where more than 50% of people are self employed entrepreneurship perhaps come naturally, sometimes as an indulgence or passion while sometimes as a necessity. But most have not been able to scale up beyond a point in spite of tremendous potential due to lack of institutional support.

The Triumph of the idea

The stories of Flipkart or that of Adani and even that of Tatas defy that norm and have each tried to break the shackles in their own realm. That itself is the triumph of India and perhaps would be a major inspiration for millions of budding entrepreneurs. One cannot deny the fact that it is only entrepreneurship that can solve most of India's employment related problems.

It is said that the word entrepreneur had its origin in the word Sanskrit word ‘antah prerana' which means inner inspiration. Thus the success of Indian entrepreneurs is true veneration to the idea which had its origin in India.

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