Three decades is a long time. For those of us who were in journalism thirty years ago, the changes India has witnessed in the business and economic environment over the years have been nothing short of dramatic. I remember, as cub reporters on the stock market beat, we would have to trudge every day to the crowded stock exchange to take a peek at the latest notices on the exchange notice boards, and would return to office thrilled if there was something big enough to warrant a story. Those were the days of open outcry trading, when the Securities and Exchange Board of India didn’t have statutory powers, and the brokers were often at loggerheads with an institution struggling to get regulatory teeth. That was then. Today, people trade at the click of a button, and the regulator is busy keeping a close watch on the markets as trading volumes reach stratospheric levels. For perspective, the benchmark BSE Sensex, which was at 999 thirty years ago, is at 55,000-plus now.
And that’s just the markets. Much has been written about the distance India has travelled from the time Manmohan Singh, the then finance minister, liberalised the Indian economy in July 1991. Ever since Business Today was launched in January 1992, we have been witness to the momentous changes in the India's economic and corporate history, bringing you stories of the biggest policy decisions and boardroom battles, capturing the essence of the India story as it unfolded before our eyes. Whether it is the dramatic changes in banking, the cleaning up of corporate balance sheets, the scorching pace of growth in mobile telephony, or the emergence of the new digital ecosystem powered by cheap data prices and smartphones, Business Today has been at the forefront of getting you these stories as they developed. Now, as we count down to our 30th Anniversary, we are proud to bring you this special issue — the first of two we’ve planned this time — which seeks to take a look at the future, and how India can take its rightful place as an economic powerhouse in the new global order. And that’s why we invited a galaxy of the finest minds to write on the theme ‘The Next India Opportunity’. As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day, there’s no better time than now to look ahead.
We are in a new India. An India defined by the power of enterprise and ambition, where even the most ordinary Indian is unafraid to dream of a better life and knows it can well become a reality. The digital ecosystem has democratised India like never before. Wealth creation is no longer a bad word. As Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian writes in his essay, “the change towards embracing wealth creation is a durable one because the polity now recognises that ethical wealth creation has been part of India’s DNA for millennia. The idea of ethical wealth creation as a noble human pursuit is rooted in India’s old and rich tradition ranging from Kautilya’s Arthashastra in the North to Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukural down South.”
This is an India whose time has come.
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