Amidst geopolitical tensions between China and India, several stalwarts of India Inc have supported the Narendra Modi government restricting business with Chinese companies. AM Naik, the chairman of Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is no exception to this.
Addressing shareholders at L&T’s 75th AGM, Naik said anti-China sentiment poses an opportunity for India Inc, “The strong anti-China sentiment within India and around the world is a possible game changer for domestic industry. To leverage these trends and harness them for productive purposes, we need to move beyond knee-jerk responses and draw up a long-term strategy with a time-bound plan for implementation.”
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Naik outlined how L&T was working towards building and growing domestic business, “Recently, our Prime Minister made a rallying call for Atmanirbhar Bharat which has resonated across the country. I believe that Atmanirbhar Bharat represents the logical next step to Make in India for it encompasses the entire value chain of design, procurement, manufacture and delivery.”
“This is an opportune moment for government and industry to act in unison and advance national interests. Your company has all along been championing self-reliance in the key sectors of defence, nuclear power, space research, power and infrastructure. With ‘technology for sustainable growth’ as the central theme of our endeavours, we reiterate our commitment to rise to the occasion and contribute to the national cause,” he added.
However, Naik candidly agreed that reforms are very critical at this stage for the industry to grow and it is necessary that the public and private sector work in unison to spur growth.
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“It is essential that an enabling eco-system for growth is created. Reforms are urgently needed in many sectors including land acquisition and labour. The financial system is also in urgent need of attention. In tandem, the administration would do well to streamline processes and accelerate the pace of decision making,” he said.
Naik also expects the second half of the FY21 to signal better economic activity. He believes that NIP or National Infrastructure Pipeline project formulated by the government is likely to lead to increased spends in critical areas.