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India on way to becoming 3rd richest country: Mukesh Ambani

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New Delhi: Having missed the first three industrial revolutions, India is now in a position to lead the fourth on the back of its vast tech-savvy young population and is on the way to becoming one of the three richest countries in the world, billionaire Mukesh Ambani said.

Speaking at the 24th MobiCom conference here, Ambani, who heads the oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, said India’s digital transformation is “unmatch and unprecedented” after it took leadership position from being 155th in wireless broadband technology adoption in just 24 months.

Back in the 1990s, when Reliance was building its oil refinery and petrochemical projects, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was around USD 350 billion and had just come out of a severe financial crisis.

 

“Very few in the world thought that our country’s prospects were bright. Today our GDP is nearing USD 3 trillion, and India is well on its way to becoming one of the three richest countries in the world,” he said.

Ambani, the richest Indian, said mobile computing as a catalyst is driving massive data consumption – and this has given young Indians a fertile ground for disruptive ideas. Cloud computing and networking technologies have used broadband as a foundational enabler – leading to Indian entrepreneurs starting to make a global impact.

“In the next two decades, I can confidently say that India shall be leading the world and shall contribute to the next wave of global economic growth,” he said.

India languished on the fringes during the first two industrial revolutions powered by coal and steam and electricity and oil, respectively, and only started playing catch-up in the computer-driven third industrial revolution, he said.

“The fourth industrial revolution is now upon us. It is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds,” he said.

“I can say with full confidence that India has a chance of not just participating in the fourth industrial revolution, but also leading it.” This is possible because the India of today is remarkably different from the India of yesterday.

“India’s vast tech-savvy young population is its key strength. Just imagine the kind of connected intelligence India can create if the power of billion-plus minds is combined!,” he said.

Also, being a democracy that is run on the model of equitable and inclusive growth, it is openly embracing the digital technologies of tomorrow. It is a rich and fertile ground for entrepreneurship and has emerged as the fastest growing start-up base worldwide, he said.

“Today, the nation is home to the third largest number of technology-driven start-ups in the world. Never before has India witnessed such an explosion of entrepreneurial spirit,” he added.

Ambani said India needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on scale, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and create more employment opportunities than what new and disruptive technologies take away.

“We have to groom our children to be digitally-savvy right from school. Schools should train students in ‘the four C-s’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. These are the skills required to build the foundation for a sustained leadership in the digital age for India.

“Within a single generation, we can empower and enrich our vast and young human resources to give India a competitive edge in the world,” he said. Governments, businesses and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massive upskilling of the workforce, he stated.

“We now have the opportunity to digitally reinvent all sectors of our economy – be it financial services, commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and healthcare. India can leapfrog the competition and lead the world in each of these sectors,” he said.

Ambani said there was a pressing need to create a digital green revolution by encouraging adoption of technologies for water conservation, soil management, precision farming and waste reduction to enhance agricultural productivity.

Secondly, there is a need for good quality education to make India’s youth a productive asset, he said adding there is also a requirement to make healthcare affordable.

Talking about Reliance Jio, his telecom venture that stormed the industry by combining free voice calls and SMS with cheap data, he said India is ranked quite low at 134th in the global ranking for fixed broadband.

“Jio is determined to move India to among the top 3 in fixed-line broadband, too,” he said. “Our state-of-the-art digital infrastructure provides mobile and broadband connectivity across the country, with the largest fibre footprint.”

This fibre connectivity will now be extended to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises simultaneously across 1500 cities to offer the most advanced fibre-based broadband connectivity solutions, he said.


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India second most optimistic globally about executive job market in 2019: Survey

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Mumbai: Senior management leaders in India are optimistic about growth of executive jobs in 2019, only second to Brazil. According to the 2019 BlueSteps Executive Career Outlook report, nearly 57 percent of India’s senior executives believe that there will be stellar growth in job market opportunities as compared with 2018 levels.

In Brazil, 72 percent leaders are positive of growth. India is followed by Africa at 54 percent and France at 40 percent. The results are based on a survey of over 1,400 senior executives worldwide.

Globally, optimism levels for executives about senior management jobs market dropped considerably as against their strong outlook at the beginning of 2018. “This indicates that while the decrease in optimism does reflect an overall concern in the marketplace, the change may be more of a reflection of how strong last year’s market was instead,” the report said.

 

Nearly a third of the respondents cite strong economic growth and business environment as a reason for their optimism. India topped the list with respect to economy forecast for 2019, where 57 percent respondents believed in the pace of the country’s growth.

Brazil trailed with 56 percent leaders expecting growth. Leaders of the eastern European countries, the UK and Ireland were pessimistic about their economy.

The technology sector is expected to have the strongest growth at the executive level in 2019, with 70 percent of all survey respondents believing there will be robust growth in the industry.

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Traders’ body slams Rahul’s statement on abolishing GST

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New Delhi: Traders’ body CAIT criticised Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s statement of abolishing GST if voted to power, saying he does not have a blueprint of any alternative tax structure.

The attempt of Gandhi for seeking political mileage making traders a scapegoat is deeply regretted and vehemently opposed by CAIT, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

He said Rahul Gandhi should not do any politics using shoulders of the traders else traders are capable to give a fitting reply in forthcoming elections.

 

CAIT secretary general said Gandhi is opposing the GST “whereas he does not have a blueprint of any alternate tax structure”.

Khandelwal demanded Gandhi should speak out the plans and programmes thought by the Congress party for traders and added that there must be a blueprint of alternative tax structure before abolishing GST.

While addressing a traders’ conference in New Delhi, he said the Congress has ruled the country for a long time and in such a long tenure, the trading community was never on a priority of the government or for the Congress party.

In reference to forthcoming elections, Khandelwal claimed almost 7 crore traders across the country have now converted into a vote bank due to a two-month national campaign of the CAIT under the slogan “One Nation-One Trader-Ten Votes”.

The CAIT would shortly release a National Charter of Traders carrying core issues of the trading community and whoever political party gives a logical road map of solutions, the traders will vote for that party as one unit across the country, Khandelwal said.

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NSE eyes 350-375 tonnes of domestically refined gold market for derivatives

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Mumbai: With over 350-375 tonnes of the domestically refined gold market still away from the organised trading platforms in India, the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has decided to accept it as good delivery on its derivatives platform. So far, only London Bullion Market Association recognised bullion is accepted as good delivery on the exchange platform.

NSE has initiated a move to decide India good delivery norms for gold including sourcing norms for gold refined and unrefined (dore). The process of finalizing new norms and implementing is expected to take two months.

These are significant as in last few years Indian bullion refineries’ business has increased and in 2018 domestically refined gold contributed from dore and recycled gold to half (350-375 tonnes) of the domestic gold demand. However, on gold futures exchanges this gold cannot be delivered. This means domestic refineries have limited access to hedge their future production on exchange platform as they can’t deliver gold the refine on exchange platform.

 

India’s domestic physical gold demand is 600 tonnes for jewellery and 160-175 tonnes of investment demand, according to the World Gold Council 2018 data. 275 tonnes of gold was supplied by Indian gold refineries and 87 tonnes of gold was derived from scrap or recycled gold. Indian metal companies also derive gold from ores of other metals during the process of refining them. This was 8.6 tonnes. All these can now be deliverable on the futures market once India goods delivery norms are in place.

At present, only MMTC-Pamps refines gold, which is LBMA standard and eligible to be delivered on Indian exchanges.

NSE’s move will help this domestically refined gold deliverable on its futures exchange where gold is already traded. At present, MCX and BSE accept gold to be delivered in futures, which is as per LBMA good gold delivery standards. NSE spokesperson said that “we are developing India good delivery standards and they will be largely in sync with LBMA and BIS norms.” 20 plus Indian bullion refineries that are registered with Bureau of India Standards have applied to NSE and six have been approved. International agency Alex Stewart, which provides inspection and analytical laboratory services, is studying the processes of these refineries and giving their score.

Even a domestic laboratory is also looking at the same and expected to give its report on processes of refineries that it has studied.

Sourcing of dore or unrefined gold is a big controversy globally and there was always a question on mines which are producing it whether the mine is using the funds for illegitimate activities or not. Globally OECD has developed norms to avoid such gold and Indian industry has been working for the same. However, NSE spokesperson said that “the exchange’s India good delivery norms for gold will accommodate norms to verify legitimate sourcing of gold dore by Indian refineries.”

The sourcing norms will also include norms for sourcing domestic gold for recycling where the gold provider will have to give an undertaking that no money laundering etc involved for the gold he is giving for recycling.

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