Secret signal for Singh

by Véronique Queffélec on juin 3, 2009


By Dilip Cherian

MID DAY Wednesday May 27 2009

There is a message here somewhere. Certainly, these must be the first private pointers for the new Manmohan Singh government. At the by-invitation-only conclave of CEOs assembled by Bill Gates in Seattle, only five Indian big boys figured. Confidential their discussions were, but the conclusions were simple.

The folks who make the world go round, have now reached the sombre calculation that the kind of growth that we had experienced recently is unlikely to repeat itself in the next 10 years. This will be Pranab Mukherjees challenge areas.

But for corporate India it must be comforting to recognize that globally CEOs now expect that the bizarre salaries, and dare we say bonuses, that have been routine over the last five years are on their way down. We may indeed employ more people but it is likely that we will pay them a lot less. The new Labour minister will probably have to deal with the fact that our public sector unions are unlikely to take this lying down.

The third significant conclusion of the conclave, which perhaps applies a little less to India is the fact that the big boys now recognize that individual behaviour in most developed economies may have been altered permanently. That part of the world may now display frugality and price sensitivity that many of us here live with everyday.

But where Singh and his merry team can take most solace is from the fact that, the gathered CEOs recognize that the engines of a future global recovery rely entirely on what happens next in India and China. Obviously this is a huge opportunity which comes with a huge alarm bell attached. While India is the flavour of the moment, as we have been insisting it is for some time now, clearly we need to recognize and move very quickly to cash in on the advantage of the moment. The world may beat a path to our door, whether we are ready or not. But China is not about to sit still and watch us do this. So, Singh and his team ready to take all these challenges on full-time? Only the immediate future will tell, but you can be sure that you will read about it here first!