And for a Friday marking the 30th anniversary of Economic Reforms in India, some thoughts….. some musings..…
My generation who started Careers as Management Trainees in a fledgling Socialist Economy in mid 1970ies have very unforgettable memories of the trauma and travails of the Socialist Controlled license Inspector Raj. With Income tax upto 75% and CDS ( Compulsory Deposit scheme) from the meagre Balance, no Indian could honestly survive without some cash income. Companies had lunch allowance, paper allowance, taxi allowance, entertainment allowance etc. etc. In short every Enterprise had to find its own unique ways to raise cash money to keep its employees motivated and compensated. Fake transport vouchers, scrap sales and cash from distributors and suppliers, Indian jugaad worked to create cash out of a controlled Babudom dominated economy. Govt had also nationalised 14 very successful private banks and started running them aground. So called Socialism meant just inefficiency and redtapeism. Concept of black money was introduced and grew exponentially till 1991 when the entire Economy almost came to a stand still. No money in the system. Even SBI could not borrow overnight or short term funds that fateful year. India had to load its reserve Gold from the RBI, all of 46.9 MT of Gold, in a chartered Air India flight and pledged to Bank of England and Bank of Japan to raise 400 mn $. Politicians were forced to bring in Economic Reforms of 1991 as dictated by IMF which unleashed Indian Entrepreneurship. Rest is history.
In July 2021, India’s foreign reserves stood at 598 bn $, among the fourth largest globally. India is counted amongst the “start -up” capitals of the world. In the past 15 months alone 24 Unicorns have attained the magical Billion $ valuation each. Corporates, Professionals and Entrepreneurs need no longer depend on sleazy middle men or Politicians to become rich. Company law amendments, SEBI’s changes in listing agreements and loads of other changes in management of Stock markets have now made role of Professionals and Independent Directors very powerful, accountable and really independent. The historic passing of GST and IBC (Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code ) have all combined to create new and better opportunities for transparent and honest route to becoming Rich and prosperous in India.
Every crisis brings opportunities. The Post COVID world will open up huge opportunities for India. Let us all ensure we now prevent any further COVID wave and get the Economy going, the Covid appropriate behaviour way, the Ethical way, the SEEGOS way.