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India is at an advantageous position to create opportunity out of crisis: Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal
May 12, 2022

The current times present an inflection point for India to step up to the opportunities emanating out of geo-political challenges, said Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Past President, CII & Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, at the Standalone Session on Being Future Ready, of the 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022, held from 11 - 12 May 2022. He noted that earlier, ‘the eagle hovered over India and landed in China and Vietnam’, and therefore India ‘missed the bus’. However, the current Government’s zeal of promoting Aatmanirbharta, Digital India and other initiatives has now put India in a sweet spot, especially when it comes to the manufacturing sector.

Mr Mittal pointed out that supply chains will shift to trusted sources and to open societies as democracies and business are ready to bear extra costs to accommodate these shifts. He mentioned that entrepreneurs are well accustomed to change, however the last 2 – 3 years have yielded unrelenting shocks. In the face of these external pressures, the resilience of all organisations has been tested. He stated that enterprises across the world, especially in the developed economies of in Europe and US, have received a lot of benefits from their governments. In India, too, supporting the MSMEs will be crucial at this time. He exuded confidence that India is the only country, well-poised to deal with these tectonic shifts in business conditions despite the current stresses of high inflation and hardening interest rates.

Speaking about building successful enterprises, Mr Mittal mentioned that it is important to realise that one size does not fit all. Identifying what works for a particular organization and matching it with partners and thereafter nourishing those principles have proven to work out well. He said Airtel and Bharti as a group has been through many ups and downs, including regulatory challenges, market competition and have survived upon the motto of ‘we will make it’. He underscored that it is important for the leadership to adopt a calm and positive mindset in the face of turbulence, for the success of the organization as a whole.

Mr Mittal also said that adoption of technology and dealing with innovation and disruption are relatively difficult in larger organisations, since the success of Facebook, Whatsapp other e-commerce companies have significantly changed the whole ecosystem. To keep up with the changing times, existing businesses must adopt a futuristic outlook, taking into consideration changes in consumer behaviour, market dynamics and other factors, he said. Given this outlook, the Bharti group is also adapting to change and its newer businesses that are seeing success includes Airtel banks, other apps by the company like Wink, cloud services to MSMEs. He observed that solid partnerships play a key role in building success stories and companies that do not embrace change are bound to suffer.

Technologies of the future would offer immense possibilities that are embedded in the upcoming products like metaverse, robotics, drone management, 5D virtual realities etc. Environmental, Social, and Governance initiatives are imperative for businesses at large and sustainable practices would drive the future, he said.

Mr Rajiv Memani, Chairman, CII National Committee on Taxation & Chairman - India Region and Chairman, Emerging Markets Committee, Ernst & Young LLP who moderated the session mentioned that COVID made technology fly on steroids, however many other industries came to a standstill and are now looking up. Inflation, stagflation, supply chain disruptions have been hindering businesses and economies all over.

Lastly, Mr Mittal stressed that every crisis offers an opportunity while quoting Rahm Emanuel, who has said that “You never let a crisis go to waste”. Mr Mittal expressed his belief that India, with its strong leadership, is embracing this thought considerably well and that in the next 10-15 years we will see a dramatic upliftment in sectors such as electronics and defense.

12 May 2022

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