The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the country’s largest body for the Indian industries. Since inception, CII has been collaborating with the Government to nurture the nation’s growth and acting as a guiding force to safeguard the interest of various industry segments. Recently, it has elected its first woman President, namely, Ms. Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.  

During her first media interaction in Chennai after taking over the reins of the coveted post of the CII President, she has expressed her full confidence about the brighter days ahead for the Indian economy.  

According to her, given the low inflation rates and subdued investment conditions, a cut in the interest rates is essential to boost demand and new investments.

She has pointed out that the reform agenda has clearly picked up, and over the last three years, substantive policies have been announced, the most prominent among them being the GST legislation, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, RERA, FDI liberalization and Ease of doing business. Conditions are positive for further strengthening of the economy in the current year.

Ms. Kamineni said that agricultural growth has generally peaked at four per cent. However, the sector has registered double-digit growth in States like Madhya Pradesh, indicating the possibilities of a consistently further growth. She also highlighted the industrial participation and linkage in agriculture and gave perspectives on non-farming rural jobs. The overall encouraging scenario gave clear indications that the four per cent growth is maintainable in the current year also.  

The very fact that India has more than 200 R&D centres out of the 500 Fortune companies is indicative of the positive trend and opportunities available in the country. At the same time, while China’s construction sector accounts for 60 per cent of the job market, India’s share remains low at 30 per cent. Hence the urgent need for industrial groups and the Government to raise the construction sector contribution to a higher level. CII is ready to work jointly with member-companies and the Government to add 10 lakh more jobs in the organized and non-organized sectors. 

She also stressed the need for evolving a new industrial policy in an age of e-commerce, new technologies, newer initiatives like GST, etc., replacing the one crafted during 1991. CII has been working with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion by submitting its inputs for a new rationalized industrial policy. 

Stating that job creation remains a top priority for the nation, the President said: “CII suggests that better quality of jobs be targeted in the organised sector in line with the emerging new technologies.” Technology advancement could create different types of jobs to suit the livelihood in the entrepreneurship sector. Services sectors such as tourism, healthcare and retail have huge employment potential with higher incomes. For example, every million rupees invested in tourism creates 78 jobs compared to 45 in agriculture and 28 in manufacturing. It is in this changing environment that CII has framed the theme – India Together – Inclusive. Ahead. Responsible for the current year.   

Ms. Kamineni further reiterated that CII’s objective is ‘Thriving in Balance’, which would ensure that all industry sectors and all sections of society as well as regions progress in tandem, and CII would extend its co-operation towards achieving this goal. 

Answering the question from the INDIAN BUSINESS REVIEW Editor, Ms. Kamineni said that CII has a special focus on MSMEs since 80 per cent are from this segment. 

India: Ultra competitive market

Mr. Vikram Kirloskar, Chairman, CII – Southern Region, and Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd., stated that the Indian automotive sector has become an ultra competitive market for the world. During the last 10 years, there has not been much increase in the prices of automobiles in the country inspite of the hike in salary, etc. It shows the customers in the country get maximum benefit. Also, India has exported 8 lakh vehicles last year, which is the highest in the world. 

He also expressed confidence that investments in various industry sectors, including automotive, would pick up further.