Managing India Awards 2016: Address by Suresh Prabhu

Address by the Chief Guest – Mr Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Government of India

An excerpt from a speech by Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Government of India at AIMA’s Managing India Awards 2016.

“Good evening friends. I have been attending several programmes of AIMA, about a year or 2 years ago I was here and the awards were given to some distinguish people for their contribution in various fields. And I was wondering then and even wondering today that how they must be making this selection. I was just looking at the type of people who have been awarded and I don’t think there could have been any better person than this in any of the field they were chosen, so I really congratulate AIMA for having a fabulous process of selection. I think if you can share that information we can probably select every person in that category, in every public life and everywhere else, probably India would be a much better place.

So I think I really wish to congratulate AIMA and nominees who have been chosen for very interesting fields. E-commerce is a growing area and I think over a period of time everybody is going to operate from home, overcoming the problem of mobility that we face. Delhi Metro, I think urbanization is rising. I would not say that people should not use more vehicles because I know two of you stalwarts are here. But we need more public transport. And therefore we need connectivity, mobility in a form where more people can travel in one single sphere of operation. So that is something for Delhi metro.

Amazon is again the same category. Of course two of them are not here but entertainment. I think as we earn more, we earn not only money but earn more tension and so we need little bit relaxation. And therefore we need more and more of entertainment in the years to come. I know Dr. Reddy’s laboratories, one of the great achievements of India. Two great contributors of India’s global supply chain is Automobile Industry and Pharma Industry and both Ajay Piramal as well as Satish Reddy, both of them have played a great role.

I remember some years ago, we used to feel that foreign brand is very important. Then we started manufacturing, people used to abuse us that we are doing reverse engineering. That would’ve been the starting point; all industries are grown like that. Even after the industrial revolution 200 years ago the USA also started the same way. Then came Japan, people used to say made in Japan brand is not at all good but made in the USA was good. Later made in Japan became very important. Now people doubt China but they are also sledging volley chain but in generic drugs we have done something amazing. The new drug delivery system, the new molecule that we develop, has made India a capital of generic drugs, thanks to this contribution by few these great individuals.

One of the great things about Rajiv Bajaj is that we used to think that Bajaj Auto was synonymous with one type of vehicle only but the way you changed gears and made it happen, really congratulations to you and I wish to also honor the contributor for this. I’ve always said about Ajay Piramal is a great person and S Ramadorai has been rightly honored not for his contribution to the company alone which itself is a great organization but also as an institution builder because I know he has also created a new institution for developing skills for the country and many others so I think all of these awardees have done a phenomenal job, therefore, I also wish to, while congratulating AIMA for selecting them,  congratulate each one of them for their contribution. Rajat Sharma is a good friend of mine as well as a great contributor and I think Rajat Sharma is the original interrogator on television. I wish to congratulate him; he is also another great contributor.

So congratulations to all of you! I think since the time immemorial and for the times to come, everything is going to revolve around management. How do you manage everything? Of course, if you manage wrongly, things can happen as we discuss in the parliament. But we really need to find out how you actually manage everything. And for the first time, I think everybody is experiencing that managing not only your own business is important but understanding what is happening in others’ business is more important. The externalities are now putting so much of influence on your own corporate policies. I don’t think there has been any time in history that such a huge change has happened in such a short time. Now just imagine that any business that you need to manage; you can say that I developed the best product, studied the competition and so I understand that where to benchmark my product, but now it is not enough because what’s happening maybe about thousand miles away is going to influence you for no fault of yours.

The market conditions are changing so rapidly, that increasing your market share and understanding your own market isn’t enough; understanding the global economy the interplay it has with your own market forces had become so critical and therefore suddenly the uncertainties are rising and those uncertainties are the one which I don’t know how we are going to deal with. So the biggest challenge now is understanding the uncertainties and then managing the uncertainties.

But I think the biggest challenge that we all are facing globally is how do you understand what is happening. Nobody understands what is happening, that’s another part because I have been participating even in the G20 negotiation, I discovered that everybody was saying yes now I think I have the hang of my own economy. But you can see that for the US, the Japan, the European Union, even China and most of the major economies, the biggest challenge for them is not the economy itself but the uncertainty surrounding the future of the economy. Therefore managing businesses is such a huge uncertain atmosphere not related directly to your business, also not necessarily only affecting your own markets, but understanding its complexity is going to be a big challenge for us and I’m sure all the distinguish people will navigate the businesses not only for them but for our own country so that we actually reach our destination in a proper manner.

As a country we have gone through various phases; just immediately after the independence, our only issue was how to manage the transition from being under a foreign rule for so long to understanding how we are going to manage everything on our own. So building an institution, meeting aspiration and creating new fervour of running India was important. So all of that was the first phase. Then came the second phase, the cold war, so we thought managing our foreign relations was important. If we manage foreign relations well, then probably we can go through the process. Immediately when in the seventies, there was the first oil shock we thought the best way to manage it is to have good relations with the countries who have got more oil. We never managed it in a domestic way. We didn’t understand the implications of that as well as we should have and then we managed that. Then came another phase, in the early nineties we realized that probably to best manage the economy – de-control. But that was a much easier phase of doing it. Just De-control, De-license, De-regulate and things will happen. It happened but with limited success. So now comes a phase very important and how do you manage the next phase of growth in a way that we’ve achieved so much even more yet to be achieved? In that phase, I think what is going to be important is the overall ambit of management at a macro level and I think there again I’m sure AIMA will contribute, help us to understand and create a new environment and to manage it.

Globally very interestingly, people are thinking that now the demand side management is more important. Because there has been an oversupply, if you really go globally, there is more or less over supply of everything. So demand side management is important also because the oversupply is not just of commodities or of creating capacities to manufacture things but also at the same time there has been a short supply of natural resources. So it’s a very paradoxical situation. There has been oversupply and at the same time, there is a constraint on natural resources. So people realized that in this context you need to create demand side management for natural resource management.

In India, we are at a very unique phase. We understand demand side management is critical but at the same time there is so much of unmet demand, people want more and more of many things, so we also need to increase the supply. How do you manage more supply by ensuring demand side management to ensure efficiency of resources in a way that we also keep progressing? It’s going to be very interesting and challenging management strategy that we need to adopt.

So I’m sure to do that we need expertise and ideas from people like you. For the first time, we are seeing that private sector is playing a very dominant role, not just in terms of managing the economy, but also generating lots of new ideas and I think that becomes a new benchmark for the adoption of various ideas. IT is one good example. When you started doing it, the governance had to follow that process and therefore I think it would be very interesting time. How do you manage India’s economy, how do you manage our natural resource management, how do you manage the aspirations of the people, how do you manage the constraints that oppose by various different external forces at the same time and therefore we really need to manage that and I’m sure AIMA will be able to contribute us towards that process.

In the seventies when we had first oil crisis the prices started shooting up and they crossed $100 and even the top investment bankers were saying that they are going to touch $200 per barrel. Now that same investment banker globally known is saying it will be 20$ per barrel. Of course, we are now 40 plus but at the same time what India has done is very interesting. We realized this demand side management and we are trying to increase the supply of energy but not necessarily from the same source. So 170,000 megawatts of solar energy and wind energy that India will produce. That means we’ll become a top supplier or top producer of the renewable energy in the world. So we’ll become a renewable energy capital of the world. But how do you make the transition? We have natural resource constraint because we don’t produce enough oil and gas but if we switch over to the energy source and try to produce more renewable energy than fossil fuel energy. I think supply increases in a way that demand side management also happens at the same time.

So I think these are the types of strategies we need to adopt and I’m sure to do that. We need participation of industry leaders like you, management experts like you, management practitioners because as a management expert I can come and speak something but to actually put into reality is something we need hands on people like you, who were the awardees and many more who have been sitting here to look forward to a partnership with AIMA, the management practitioners, and government so that we can actually become what we are capable of, what potential of India is, to that we need all of you to partner with us. So congratulations to all of you once again and thank you very much.”

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3 thoughts on “Managing India Awards 2016: Address by Suresh Prabhu

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