Slowdown is an opportunity for growth, says industry

March 26th, 2009 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) While the global economic slowdown will impact India, the corporate sector feels the crisis is an opportunity for companies to position themselves prominently.
This was the the feeling among top corporate honchos during a session on the global economy’s impact on India on the first day of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s two-day annual conference.

According to Boston Consulting Group’s India head Janmejaya Sinha, the crisis was a “massive opportunity” for Indian companies with cash reserves to acquire assets.

“We need to do this with care, energy and discipline. Over the next 30 years, the world will position the companies as global leaders those that survive the next two to three years,” said Sinha.

Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan too felt the crisis was an opportunity, saying it “will throw up more opportunities than hurdles for those of us operating in India”.

Describing the current economic crisis as a “fundamental reset of the world economic order”, Venkatesan said the US would return to the peak 2007 level only in 10 years.

However, he said the current fiscal deficit could prevent the next central government from investing in massive infrastructure projects. Also, according to him, the spectre of protectionism was increasing not just in the US but all over the world.

“I hope this is rhetoric and will not transcend into action,” Venkatesan said.

According to Maruti Suzuki chairman R.C. Bhargava, it was important that the current global slowdown is not cited as a reason to revert to unnecessary government intervention.

“There is a feeling that the private sector cannot manage the crisis and therefore, there should be more government intervention,” he said.

“We should not forget that 40 years of regulation finally led to 1991,” Bhargava added.

At the same time, the private sector should go for self-regulation like capping of bonuses and curtailing ostentatious expenditure, he said, and urged the private sector not to rely on government bailout.

Oxus Research and Investments managing director Surjit Bhalla said India and China would lead the world out of the slowdown.

Added Oil and Natural Gas Corp chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma: “The PSE (public sector enterprise) boards are taking decisions not to slow down despite the global slowdown.”

Steel Authority of India chairman S.K. Roongta echoed the sentiment. “We are not slowing down and have decided to go ahead with all our investments,” he said.

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