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Business News/ Economy / Learnings from the pandemic to help India in efforts to become $5 tn economy
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Learnings from the pandemic to help India in efforts to become $5 tn economy

The roadmap to $5 trillion economy also features Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) as a critical parameter

Flexibility, agility, resilience, and a universal dash to accelerate and adopt technology have been key learnings across sectors in the two years of the pandemic. (Photo: Mint)Premium
Flexibility, agility, resilience, and a universal dash to accelerate and adopt technology have been key learnings across sectors in the two years of the pandemic. (Photo: Mint)

Flexibility, agility, resilience, and a universal dash to accelerate and adopt technology have been key learnings across sectors in the two years of the pandemic.

“The last two years have been more like a science fiction movie than anything else," said Swarup Mohanty - Chief Executive Officer at Mirae Asset Investment Managers (India) Pvt. Ltd at the Mint India Investment Summit 2022. “The entire business of asset management stands disrupted as we speak. I think covid is the trigger which starts the incredible journey of financial assets over physical assets. In our industry, there will be a pre covid and post covid period."

Mohanty detailed how the mutual fund sector transitioned to an immediate work-from-home model during the pandemic. Buying and selling of shares and securities was allowed from home with the nod of the regulator.

“The regulator was fleet footed and rose up to the entire challenge. If dealing can go home, then everything can go home," said Mohanty.

The insurance sector saw its customer service, P&L (Profit and loss), balance sheets, deliverables, stressed to the hilt.

“It was also an opportunity as insurance for the first who was seeing a pull, rather than a push," said Ritu Arora - CEO & CIO, ASIA, Allianz Investment Management Singapore Pte Ltd. The CEO of one of the largest insurance firms noted how all its operations were faced by the same challenge that also brought in opportunities of “mammoth proportions".

Arora highlighted how talent the sector realised the need to look at talent in a different way. “Amidst all these, we saw a complete reset of how talent was being engaged. We however saw a big dearth in skills. Everything started getting more skilled-based, which is a significant shift," she said at the event.

Flexibility and agility were highlighted by Ashwini Kumar Tewari, managing director (International Banking, Technology and Subsidiaries) of State Bank of India, as key learnings and the resilience that has been shown to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Banking is a very process-driven industry. RBI had been very proactive and providing regular notifications. We also changed systems, delegated more powers to Branch managers. It was a marvellous piece of work," Tewari added.

Despite Covid, sectors like the real estate saw its residential segment thrive as families decided to move into larger homes with online classes and work from home, kicking in.

“So 25% of my sales of the upper segment was actually upgrade of houses in a short period of time, especially those which were ready," said Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director (MD) Hiranandani Group.

Hiranandani, however, said that the roadmap to a $5 trillion economy would include ease of getting approvals and focusing on skill sets remains critical.

Prabhat Awasthi , MD and country head India, Nomura, referred to “flexibility" and “resilience", required during the pandemic.

“Flexibility in terms of decentralisation of decision making was very important," said Awasthi at the panel. He highlighted how flexibility is important and prefers the hybrid style of working.

“If the investment banking team does not meet the exchange of ideas will not happen," Awasthi said  during the panel discussion.

He also pointed finding right people on the way become a $5 trillion economy remains a challenge.

The roadmap to $5 trillion economy also features Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) as a critical parameter.

“What's good for the planet is certainly good for the business," said Rishi Pardal, CEO and MD at United Breweries Ltd . Pardal said questions aimed at how firms are supporting ESG are mostly coming from the younger generations.

“What do the brands really stand for, how do they produce, what do they put on their packaging and do they treat their supply chain fairly. And this is a huge pressure on all of us in business.

Mukund Rajan, Chairman, ECube Investment Advisors, said, in the long term the focus on ESG is going to be the key determinant for success.

“The type of commitments you see from companies and the kind of the pressure point is building up on the regulators, investors and others," said Rajan.

However, the changes are not expected overnight.

"Most companies didn't realize how to adapt to technology disruption for the last two decades. And you can see how many of them have suffered versus those who have adapted." Ankur Thadani, Partner, TPG Growth and RISE Fund

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Published: 15 Mar 2022, 09:12 AM IST
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