Shashi Kiran Shetty, the founder and executive chairman of the Mumbai-based Allcargo Logistics, listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, shares his views on India’s economy.
What do you think needs to happen for India’s economy to improve dramatically?
India’s focus has to be more in identifying its strength as an economy. For example, by focusing on sectors such as engineering, automobile, precision manufacturing, IT hardware, defence, we can create our own niche. Also with its strategic location, we can be a global trade hub for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Asia Pacific, as well as for Middle East countries. Our ports, policies and regulations need to be focused on achieving this objective to scale our growth.
What are some of the biggest challenges?
Today, India competes on a global scale and thus we need our infrastructure, policies, regulations to be benchmarked to the best in the world. The most critical being its logistics infrastructure. [We need] not only hard infrastructure such as ports, roads, rail, coastal shipping, but also soft infrastructure such as single window clearance, transparent and uniform taxation policies, and reforms in labour laws, among others. Clearances at ports also needs to improve tremendously and will be beneficial to Singapore, Dubai and China. More robust road and rail connectivity leading to our ports can tremendously improve the delivery of cargo, thus reducing wastage and costs.
What kind of changes might come into effect that could perhaps boost the economy?
We foresee a revival of exports as the Make in India initiative takes shape. More and more manufacturing will come to the country and our companies will play a bigger role in manufacturing products for global markets. As a growing economy, exports will be matched with surging imports as well. With GST (goods and services tax) coming into full effect, it will reduce the transaction costs of doing business to and from India, resulting in more efficient movement of goods within the economy.
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