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Covid-19 brought everlasting changes in ways consumers, businesses function: Uday Kotak

Covid-19 brought everlasting changes in ways consumers, businesses function: Uday Kotak

There are some significant structural changes that are taking place in the way we live and work, the way we bank, shop and interact with others, Uday Kotak writes to the shareholders

Kotak Mahindra Bank managing director and chief executive Uday Kotak Kotak Mahindra Bank managing director and chief executive Uday Kotak

Kotak Mahindra Bank managing director and chief executive Uday Kotak has said the country has leapfrogged five years in a span of a year when it comes to digitisation and technology amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In his address to the shareholders, the 62-year-old banker, who built a financial services empire from scratch, wrote this year's annual report theme as 'Never Normal.''

"The dictionary defines normal as usual, regular, conforming to a type, standard or pattern. Humankind is hard-coded to seek the assurance and security such patterns promise, even a new normal, if you will, to which we can adapt and grow accustomed to," he writes. "But a never normal world, one that is unpredictable and does not fit patterns, is a new planet of challenges and opportunities," he adds.

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Kotak, who completed his one-year tenure as CII President in May this year, said the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in some everlasting changes in the way consumers and businesses will function. "There are some significant structural changes that are taking place, in the way we live and work, the way we bank, shop and interact with others," he writes.

When it comes to digitisation and technology, Kotak, whose bank enjoys a market capitalisation of Rs 3.25 lakh crore, says: "We have leapfrogged five years in a span of a year, and while there will be some rebalancing when we revert to more in-person interactions, there is no going back completely, with digital extending to almost all aspects of our lives."

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However, for India to harness this opportunity fully, what is critical is that we redouble our efforts in education, says Kotak. "India in 2021 is also where we were in 2003, at the early stages of an investment cycle," says Kotak.

According to Kotak, the growth driver for India will be infrastructure -- both physical and social. Investments in physical infrastructure, including internet and broadband connectivity, a sharp increase in healthcare spending -- building and upgrading healthcare facilities, training doctors and nurses -- and education is necessary. "We have to invest significantly more and move closer to the 3 per cent of GDP mark in healthcare investments over the next 3-5 years," he says.

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