- The Prime Minister’s clarion call for Atmanirbharta was received with a great sense of pride and enthusiasm soon after the pandemic-induced economic hardships started posing existential challenges from several fronts. The industries headed by proven leaders successful in their endeavors too were enthused by the PM’s exhortation for self-reliance on the back of the fast-changing global geopolitical scenario. China’s aggressiveness, ambitions, state-controlled restrictions, haughtiness, and scant disregard for international territories as well as failing to diligently observe time-tested orderliness in following the established norms also played a crucial role in altering the global industry perceptions.
- Consequently, this prompted the business behemoths to look for alternatives to move out of the communist country. It is here that New Delhi sensed an opportunity to lure industries in the grip of crippling constraints in China as also altered opinion aftermath of the pandemic by laying out red-carpet welcome to interested conglomerates. Assurances of extending every possible assistance, concessions, and incentives were also bandied about in the hope of attracting investments in the country to supplement the efforts of reviving the stalled economic activities. Since then, the efforts to enthuse local and global industry giants have become a recurring process for the Government of India, and rightly so.
- One such attempt was undertaken by the PM recently while addressing the industry body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) outlining his vision. Two issues stood out amongst his many observations during the address. Thus, asking the industry to strengthen its partnership with the Government and urging entrepreneurs to enhance their risk-taking appetite necessitates deeper introspection. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has forced the governments across the universe to play a more activist role in influencing the economic direction. The PM’s call to strengthen industry-government ties is an essential element to realize the Government of India’s vision. Against this backdrop, some recent developments convey the wrong kind of signals and contrary to the PM’s call suggesting there may be a modicum of trust deficit between the Government and industry.
- The Commerce Minister’s reported observation originating at a public forum that Indian industry practices are not always in sync with national interests not only tantamount to a sweeping statement but also conveys mixed signals to entrepreneurs. Another instance relates to continued technical glitches about the income tax e-filing portal eliciting somewhat insensitive remarks of summoning the CEO of Infosys, over official social media messages, to answer for the problems. This shows a gross lack of finesse on the part of officialdom. Agreed, Government should enforce its contractual rights, but when it comes to public messaging, exercising care is a must.
- As the Government of India also happens to be the policymaker and enforcer as well, exercising discretion is advisable. The above two instances amply demonstrate conflicting viewpoints of not walking the talk communicating anything but a harmonious industry-government relationship. The narrative has to change if any meaningful contributions have to originate from industry who expect nothing short of sincere, honest, and no-strings-attached free flow of communication from the Government sources. The need of the hour is to encourage harmony rather than an acrimonious association between the two ends but with a single point agenda of ensuring the nation’s ascendancy. I Hope, the stakeholders realize the importance.