India would continue to see high unemployment rates post-COVID if the economy doesn’t revive soon, industrialists at a CII session warned. If more people fall below the poverty line, it could lead to a demographic nightmare.
Speaking at the session on ‘Getting growth back’, Ajay Piramal, chairman of Piramal Group said, “There will be new ways of doing business and probably 20-30% of these people will not be employed,” he said. “How do we ensure that those sectors that they work in, whether it is construction or at home — are revived?” he asked.
While companies can survive the crisis, many people may not, he warned. “If we don’t address growth, there will be social issues — if people do not have food. I am worried what would happen if after living a certain standard, people fall below the poverty level,” he said.
To revive growth, demand must increase. “The prime minister’s concept of self-reliant India is a great initiative. Just like we had a full blast on Swachh Bharat, we need the same for this initiative. We need to create demand first in India and then serve the global markets,” he said. The starting point for self-reliance is strong companies. “We need investments in technology and innovation so that we can make world-class products at the least cost,” he added.
Piramal advocated speed over being perfect when it comes to policy implementation. “There is a difference in what policies are articulated and when the ground implementation takes place.
What is important is that all the concerned people work together, whether it is the political masters in Delhi and the states, the bureaucracy, the regulatory bodies. We need to have an urgency in the implementation of the policies.
You don’t have to be perfect,” he said and added that what in normal times would take a year to be implemented, ought to be done in less than a month.
India also needs a strong financial sector for growth. Post the Lehman crisis, it was India’s financial sector that supported the economy, he pointed out. “I am seeing that now as well. Therefore, we need to see how we can support the financial sector and make it stronger.”