India can become USD 10 trillion economy in the next 12-15 years: Sanjiv Mehta: HUL Chairman
New Delhi, Sept 22 (KNN) Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), Sanjiv Mehta has said that making India a middle-income country, will help it to become a USD 10-trillion-economy.
“We should dream of making India into a middle-income country. We have to cross the chasm from the 6-6.5 per cent, which we have delivered over the last 30 years, to the 8-10 per cent kind of growth that we need to deliver over the decade and a half to take India to a mid-income country,” said Mehta while speaking at a FICCI event on Monday.
“If we can successfully do that, we could very well become a USD 10-trillion-economy in the next 12-15 years,” he added.
At this stage, the country needs to protect the people, Mehta opined.
Commenting about the COVID-19 crisis, Mehta stated he does not believe it to be a ‘black swan event’.
“It is obvious that this is a crisis of huge magnitude. This is not just about an economic crisis; it is a health and a societal crisis too. It will have far-reaching implications for the world at large, “Mehta added.
Today, the global trade, which at about USD 18 trillion, could possibly decline by 20 per cent, he claimed.
From the consumer behaviour perspective, there are certain very clear discernible trends on which Mehta commented, ''First, the COVID cocoon. There is a mass behaviour change on a scale we have never seen before. The second is e-everything. From communicating, working, shopping, informing, educating; everyone is online today. Then comes the fetish for clean living followed by a contactless culture. Very clearly, people have become far more conscious about their physical, emotional and mental health.''
And last but not the least, looking at the shape of the economy, people have become much more value seeking. These are some of the behaviours that are going to last much beyond the pandemic, he added.
When talking about the Goods and Services (GST), the HUL chief said that it is of course very worrying.
''When you look at the GDP contraction of close to 24 per cent, it is of course very worrying. It is understandable because we went in for a very hard lockdown. India’s healthcare facilities were very fragile. So, that gave a breathing space for the government and the society to beef up the health infrastructure. But unfortunately, the curve of the virus is still creeping up,'' he asserted.
He further said that over the last 20 years, over 20 per cent of the population has been able to move from the bottom of the pyramid to the lower middle class, so one of the biggest risks we see is that many of these people will again be pushed back to the bottom of the pyramid.
''The government must look at the poor and the marginal sections. There should be no Indian who goes to bed hungry. That should be the dream,'' he added.
He said that the second important bit is kickstarting the economy adding, ''I think this is the time where the government needs to press the bell, press the accelerator and take a risk. Also, we need to be much more aggressive with the interest rates of the country. Growth and inflation control must move in tandem.''
''There is a risk of inflation, but the bigger risk is the economy going on a tailspin. Also, we must ensure that the MSMEs keep breathing,'' he avowed.