Sunday, October 17, 2021

An idea whose time has finally come: Indian Private Sector

This is recent news, but carries a long hidden message. What’s that? Take a re-cap:
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Our approach to Space reforms is based on four pillars — freedom to private sector in innovation, role of Government as an enabler, to make youth future-ready, and to see the Space sector as a resource for the progress of common man.”
• Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said: “The Indian private industry must step in to provide cutting-edge space technologies and products to boost operational capabilities of the Indian armed forces… The privatisation of the space industry will catapult the space industry into the future as the central driver of nation building.”
• National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said: “Private investments in the space sector will generate high tech jobs, facilitate technology absorption, and ensure involvement of foreign partners through joint ventures. These steps will make India a manufacturing hub of space assets. A strong private sector industry will also contribute to meeting growing security challenges. ”
All the aforesaid dignitaries were speaking in the launch of the Indian Space Association (ISpA).
Nothing is wrong in repeating, as General Rawat said “Space and cyber domains have become critical to our ability to undertake operations across the spectrum, both in peace and conflict. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will continue to provide leadership and guidance, the expanding needs of the nation and the armed forces require that the private industry must step in and step forward. ” “The armed forces look forward to the Indian industry to provide products and innovations…and cutting-edge technologies towards war winning capabilities.” he said.
Opening of our space to the private industry in India is a historic decision which was taken by the prime minister in June last year.
How the private sector is an equal stakeholder in nation-building?
On 1st March, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for increased participation of the private sector in agriculture, especially in research and development.
Addressing a webinar on the implementation of Budget 2021 in the agriculture sector, PM Modi said “There had been much contribution by the private sector towards research and development in the agriculture sector but it is time to increase participation of the private sector in Research and Development in the agriculture sector. It should not be limited to just seeds, but a holistic scientific ecosystem associated with one crop, the entire cycle”.
Just ten days earlier, on 21st February, 2021, while addressing the governing council of Niti Aayog, PM Narendra Modi exhorted states to join the Centre’s effort to expand the role of the private sector in giving a major push to self-reliance. He said “The private sector is coming forward with more enthusiasm in this development journey of the country. As a government, we also have to honour this enthusiasm, the energy of the private sector and give it as much opportunity in the campaign.”
On 10th February, 2021, in his reply in Lok Sabha to the motion of thanks to the President’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “”The public sector is essential but at the same time, the role of the private sector is also vital. Take any sector- telecom, pharma- we see the role of the private sector. If India is able to serve humanity, it is also due to the role of the private sector.”
In fact, PM tweeted his opinion also. He said “To use improper words against the private sector may have got votes for a few people in the past but those times are gone. The culture of abusing the private sector is not acceptable any longer. We cannot keep insulting our youth like this.”
Recently, on 7th September, 2021, once again PM Narendra Modi asked the private sector to come forward and contribute to increasing the quality of education in government schools. Addressing the inaugural conclave of Shikshak Parv, Modi also highlighted that the transformation being ushered in the education sector is not just policy-based but also participation based.
And the trail goes on. And this is a big change the government is persistently working on. In the past, the leadership, polity and even the media used to look upon the private sector pejoratively and with ambivalence and mistrust, to say the least. With this background, my observers found it bold on part of PM to have openly acknowledged the contribution and role of the private sector as an important engine of growth and employment.
Yes, it was a sharp departure from the past. The logic is not about the virtues of wealth creation only, rather the PM applauded the wealth creators also. Simply put, the Prime Minister acknowledged this simple fact openly that If you don’t create wealth you cannot distribute it. The creation of wealth is essential for growth, employment and the reduction of poverty.
Why do these ‘simple facts’ matter more?
• Economic growth and technology development are the most important engines of national power. Innovations, competitions, high tech jobs, technology absorption, and involvement of foreign partners through joint ventures are the new realities.
• In the fierce environment of this age, the governments can no longer be the sole stakeholders.
• This sets the direction for government policies and future economic reforms in India.
• Any country can only work up the buildup strengths. The vast majority of India’s successes in the last three decades are mostly linked to the private sector. These industries have successfully created growth, jobs, buzz and hope in the last three decades. Be it airlines, banks, telecom, insurance, IT services, IT-enabled services, health care, internet companies or others.
• The private sector has weaved a new wave of innovation and enterprise in young India. The success of the Mudra Yojana and Start-up India are living testimony to this fact.
• It helps creating an enterprising society.
• With the government sharing its expertise and providing launch pads for the private sector, and creation of an appropriate regulatory environment to address safety, security and legal liability issues; the good corporate citizens of India will also strengthen the government, stick to the law of the land and pay taxes, raising the size of the pie.

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