Earlier this week, the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly organised the 33rd India Economic Summit in Delhi on October 3 and 4, 2019.
Bringing over 800 leaders from government, private sector, academia and civil society together, the India Economic Summit was held under the theme of ‘Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’. The influential attendees convened to address issues of significance including geopolitical shifts, inclusive growth, digitisation, climate change, automation and Industry 4.0, innovation and entrepreneurship among others.
The discussions at the summit ranged from India-US trade relations, to India’s economic reforms, to the digital divide in the internet economy to more pressing issues such as healthcare innovation, sustainable mobility, skill development and the economic slowdown.
Here’s a list of key takeaways from the summit, curated by Inc42:
- WEF’s Drone Delivery India Pilot To Begin In 2020The government of Telangana in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals and the World Economic Forum has formalised the plan for a six-month pilot called ‘Medicines from the Sky’, starting in 2020. The project aims to explore the use of drones to increase access to healthcare for communities across the Telangana state.To create an ecosystem for drone applications, WEF has collaborated with multiple drone startups which also include Indian startups such as Marut Drones, India Flying Labs, Asteria, Adani, Aarav Unmanned Systems, IO Techworld, and Ideaforge. Marut Drones, India Flying Labs and GEN India are specifically contributing to the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project.
- India Needs To Find More Balance In Ecommerce Policy: US Secy Wilbur Ross
Speaking on day one of the India Economic Summit in Delhi, the US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross said that India needs to bring in more balance in its ecommerce policy and consider the timing of the changes in regulations. “I think it is the question of how rapidly things change. It is a question of proportionality, question of timing, and a question of balance,” he added.Responding to the US administration’s comments on FDI in ecommerce rules and that India needs to reconsider them, India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal said that because of India’s market conditions, the government has to be very clear on creating ecommerce regulation to protect smaller retailers. Small retail affects the livelihoods of about half the Indian population when one considers the families impacted, he added.
- Corporate Tax Cut Alone Cannot Revive Economy: India IncWhile the government’s corporate tax cuts were welcomed by companies, the summit saw many corporate leaders expressing their views on how corporate cut alone would not be enough to revive the economy.“Reduction in corporate tax rate would be good but personal tax rate should also be cut down as the slowdown in demand is now clearly visible,” said the chairman of Godrej Group, Adi Godrej. He added thatthe government should provide more stimulus even if it means increasing the fiscal deficit.
- Sequoia, Kalaari Partners Urge Govt To Allow Startup IPOs Even Without ProfitabilitySequoia Capital India’s Shailendra Singh said that many Indian tech unicorns are at a very big disadvantage because the Indian public markets are designed to reward only profit-making companies. Whereas, a global company such as Uber or Lyft has the opportunity to go public and tap global markets, despite not showing profits.Interestingly in a separate session, Vani Kola of Kalaari Capital also brought up the need for structural reforms in how the startups access capital, especially in the context of public and private capital.
- India’s DPIIT Secy Hopes To Have 1 Lakh Startups By 2024Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary at the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of India (DPIIT) said that there are 50,000 registered startups in India, and there will be 50K more by 2024 at this pace. Mohapatra said this change has been accelerated since 2015-16 when a new policy came into effect.Further, he said that the government is committed to spreading its startup mission to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in the next five years. The government is working on providing technology startups with room to experiment and develop without setting tight regulatory boundaries, as it did with the IT sector and the aviation sector earlier, he added.
- Amitabh Kant Says Govt Working To Ensure Funding For Indian Startups NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the government is pushing for public sector disinvestment and asset monetisation in a radical way. He also mentioned how the government is working to ensure that startups are never starved for funding in India. And one of the ways could be to allow public participation in Indian startups.Beyond the Startup India initiative and funding, Kant also emphasised on the need for startups in India to have the courage to enter the international market and take risks.
- India To Become World’s Largest EV Market: WEF-Ola Mobility SurveyGiving a breather to the electric vehicle (EV) industry players and their concerns of market adaptability of the electric cars, the World Economic Forum has released a report stating that Indian has the potential to become the largest EV market in the world.
“The role of government is crucial for accelerating adoption. Right now, the uptake of electric vehicles is slow due to the high upfront cost and range anxiety, but a long-term investment in research and development (R&D) will create sustained growth,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum.
- WEF Survey Found Indians Most Optimistic About Tech Globally According to an opinion poll by the World Economic Forum (WEF), people from India are among the world’s most optimistic about technology.The opinion poll was prepared and commissioned by SAP and Qualtrics in conjunction with this year’s India Economic Summit. With more than 10,000 respondents from 29 countries, the poll found that Indian respondents are exceptional in terms of their optimism. They are also some of the least sceptical in the world about the motives of technology companies. In fact, more than two-thirds don’t feel that technology companies only want to make money.