Speaking at the Republic Summit 2019 on November 27, managing director of Bombay Dyeing and CEO of GoAir Jehangir Wadia elucidated the way for India to achieve sustainable growth. He exuded confidence in the country’s growth trajectory and observed that the ease of doing business was better in comparison to the past. At the same time, he opined that sustainable growth could only be achieved through social development.
Wadia remarked, “I think we are on a fantastic growth trajectory. I am extremely positive, upbeat and I think the ease of doing business has never been better. However, it is not just economic growth that we should focus on. We will exceed in terms of targets and I don’t think there is an issue in terms of that, but I think we should talk about sustainable growth. And sustainable growth comes from social development."
He added, "I can’t subscribe to how our poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. We have 600 million people who do not have more than a dollar and a half on a daily basis. We have 200 million people who don’t have food out of which 70 million are kids. How do we keep talking about growing the economy when we leave people behind? I mean it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
According to Wadia, the India story could not take off unless the villages were made economically viable and self-reliant. He cited the model built by social activist Nanaji Deshmukh which ensured that people from below the poverty line were brought above the poverty line. Moreover, the GoAir CEO lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for focusing on rural development.
The managing director of Bombay Dyeing stated, “And I would like to remember in terms of one of the greatest visionaries of India. He said that the gold essentially is in the villages and unless we pick up India from the bottom which is our villages and make them productive in terms of transparently and economically able and self-reliant, India doesn’t stand a stance."
He continued, "We keep on focusing on urban areas, whether you call it Lutyens or whatever you want. I think we should focus more on our villages. We have 6,00,000 villages that need developing. Nanaji Deshmukh has a complete model created on how you can take people from below the poverty line to above the poverty line. He has done it in 6 months. I think our Prime Minister has done an incredible job in focusing on rural development. Because I have had enough of people only trying to develop urban areas and economic development."
"I think our focus should be on social development and doing something about the 600 million people who do not have any visibility on any growth,” he concluded.