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Future Frontiers: Competitiveness, Technology, Sustainability, Internationalization

26 Apr 2023

The world is going through a phase of predictable unpredictability with uncertainty becoming the “new normal”. Amidst this global churn, the Indian economy has shown resilience and is expected to continue to be the fastest growing major economy this year too, three years in a row.

The reforms and various other initiatives of Government of India targeted towards inclusion make India an attractive market and an attractive destination for investments. A strong foundation has been laid for high and sustainable growth as India looks at becoming a Viksit Rashtra by the hundredth year of its Independence – a prosperous nation, marked by growth, which is inclusive, climate conscious, and technologically advanced.

Further, India is playing a larger global leadership role with its presidency of the G20. This serves as a historic moment for India, with the opportunity to bring together the world which seems to be more divided even as countries look to tackle common challenges.

Given these dynamic changes, it is even more urgent for India and Indian industry to anticipate the future and ensure its own resilience and readiness. As India prepares for a period of rapid development, it will need to plan the contours of its growth to encompass all. It must emerge as a global leader in innovation, while also aligning with many requirements including those of climate change mitigation. At the same time, its outward orientation would offer many new opportunities for the world’s progress. With this backdrop, CII is holding the CII Annual Session 2023 with the theme of Future Frontiers: Competitiveness, Technology, Sustainability, and Internationalization.

Future Frontiers

Driving Competitiveness

As the world is experiencing a major geopolitical and geoeconomic flux, the challenges these pose have also come with newer opportunities for countries to fill in the gaps created by the many changes.

Supply chain disruptions on account of the Covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have created opportunities for countries, particularly the developing countries, to compete with each other to diversify their export basket and enter into newer markets. Global companies are looking at distributed supply chains and competitive ecosystems for new investments.

Indian companies, both large and small, can avail of the arising opportunities by scaling up competitiveness, productivity and efficiency. This requires a conducive investment climate as well as reducing costs of doing business. On the other hand, firms need to align to global quality and conformity standards and ensure strong capabilities to address cross-border norms.

The various aspects that go into building national competitiveness include infrastructure, access to finance, skill development, generation of jobs, healthcare, and many more that together combine to impart its industry with an edge in global markets. At the regional level too, Indian states are proactively competing to attract higher investments, encourage foreign capital, and achieve faster economic growth.

Future competitiveness will derive from the actions of central and state governments and businesses today, and the policies and processes need to be strengthened to move up the ladder.

Technology

Technology and digitalization are fast becoming the drivers of economic activity and our lives. They are changing the way humans live, learn, move, work, transact, communicate, produce, heal and recreate.

However, without appropriate policy frameworks, technology can be a double-edged sword. We need to ensure that the benefits including their diffusion to reduce disparities at both the inter and intra country level are maximized, while the negative consequences are neutralized or minimized.

India itself is utilizing technology to improve governance and public service delivery through Jan Dhan Bank Accounts, Direct Benefit Transfers, Aadhar Identity Cards, and BHIM Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Now, India is looking at scaling up these success models for replication in other developing economies.

India must explore how to drive technology in the business ecosystem in the future. Large parts of the industry world are excluded from digital access and awareness on emerging technologies and opportunities therein must be widespread to reap the fullest gains in the future.

Sustainability

As per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying.

However, the road to sustainability through reduced emissions and adoption of renewables remains highly skewed. The relationship between level of income and emissions at the global level gives us an inverted funnel with increased division between the developed and the developing economies. Availability and need for finance and technology for sustainability are separated geographically, and their flow currently seems to be broken.

India’s per capita carbon emission at 1.87 metric tonnes is much below the global average of 4.5 metric tonnes per capita. Despite the pressing needs of reducing poverty, hunger, malnutrition, India has chosen a renewable path to its development road ahead. India has set ambitious renewable energy targets and is also playing a key role at getting the global community together in this endeavour. Industry’s part in this will be crucial to the success of India’s Net Zero aspirations in the future.

At the same time, global structures and systems are shifting to incorporate sustainability imperatives and these will have differential implications for different countries. India can assume a leading position while aligning to emerging global scenarios in sustainable goods and requirements.

Internationalization

The process of internationalization, which was already seeing headwinds got further impacted as a result of the tensions between US and China, Covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Internationalization has benefitted millions of people and enterprises around the globe. India is entering a new phase in its globalization journey, with ongoing negotiations on various free trade agreements, exploring multiple dimensions of external engagement and seizing the opportunity in sectors such as software, healthcare, and global services.

The future of internationalisation for India will need to encompass the traditional areas of trade and investment as well as emerging areas of global cooperation such as digitalization, healthcare, financial system and the green economy.

The CII Annual Session 2023

The CII Annual Session is the flagship convention for Indian industry, bringing together global thought leaders and Indian industry for intensive conversations on macroeconomic developments, growth, reforms, and investment climate. It is held in conjunction with the CII Annual General Meeting each year.

This year, the CII Annual Session 2023 is of special significance as it coincides with India@75 and India’s G20 Presidency. It will converge insightful deliberations on the future of multiple areas of interest to the global and Indian economy, digital technologies and innovation, green energy and green supply chains, and new global opportunities.

A vibrant and buzzing platform, the CII Annual Session 2023 ‘Future Frontiers: Competitiveness, Technology, Sustainability, Internationalization’ is built around the themes that CII has been working on since long. It is aligned with CII’s theme for the year of Beyond India@75: Competitiveness, Growth, Sustainability, Internationalisation.

The CII Annual Session 2023 will bring together Government leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, startups, professionals, and other stakeholders for capturing thoughts and ideas on the trajectories of the future in key realms of interest to Indian industry. Given that CII is the B20 India secretariat, it will focus especially on the future of India’s global role and Indian industry’s outward engagement with the presence of global businesses and experts.

For more information, visit https://www.ciiannualsession.in/index.html .

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