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India Inc: 2001 accolades

Dec 24, 2001

The year 2001 was among the most testing times for the global economy. While the world was still coming out of the shock of the dot.com bubble, three of the world's largest economies went in to recession. If that was not enough, the global business faced an immediate problem to counter terrorism. This fuelled pessimism and more so changed the world geopolitical scenario. Several attempts by governments round the globe (read central banks) to pump prime economies showed no signs of respite.

Back home, India was no exception. More than businesses what covered financial headlines where unearthing of series of astonishing scams. Industrial activity remained in dire state, GDP growth plunged and new investments both in the public and private front remained amazingly low.

What was more exasperating for Indian business was the growing tension with our geographical neighbors. On a broader parameter, after a decade of joining the mainstream global economy, corporates still seem uncomfortable fighting global competition.

Amidst all the carnage there are some industry stalwarts, who are setting contemporary examples, serving as torchbearers for India Inc.

Let us take the pharma sector. Five years back, it would had been hard for anyone of us to believe that Indian companies would be able to survive if India recognizes product patent. However, Dr. Reddy's and Ranbaxy have proved that these concerns were totally unfounded. These companies have been able to create a brand identity in the global market, after successfully entering the generics business.

Petroleum exports by RPL to some of the world's most regulated markets, which conform to some of the most stringent norms also needs to be appreciated. Within 3 years of its operations, the company has emerged as the largest export house in the country. In commodities, Indo Gulf, Hindalco and Tisco are benchmarking themselves against the world's best in terms of cost efficiency.

And then off course we have the great software story. It is clear now, that IT companies are slowly but steadily rising the value chain and cheap labour is not their only USP.

Take Automobiles. There was complete pessimism in the air when Telco declared its Indica project. Despite initial hurdles, the country can now boost of indigenously produced car, which is competing, with some of best technologies in the world.

We should be indeed proud of our accomplishments. But considering a larger potential, this seems to be too little, too late. India's share in the world trade is still miniscule and we have a long way to go before India makes its presence felt in the global economy. As we embrace yet another year of the new millennium, let us pledge to rise from our mantles of protected environment and discover new opportunities that global competition offers, not just fight it.

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