'Reforms can go much further, much faster'

     Print Edition: Nov 11, 2012

Hans-Paul Burkner, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was in Mumbai recently on a whistlestop tour. Burkner, 59, will be demitting office on January 1 to become chairman of the management consulting firm. He spoke to Geetanjali Shukla on reforms and BCG's business prospects in India. Edited excerpts:

On the Indian economy: I hope India will get back to eight to ten per cent growth. That will be our aspiration. Over the next two to three years we should be back on that path. We need to expand infrastructure so that there will be no bottlenecks. We have to see massive growth in energy, more than double-digits probably. There has to be a significant double-digit growth in manufacturing and services. For agriculture to grow eight to ten per cent would be a hard thing. I see secondary and tertiary sectors adding to growth and jobs.

On the government's reform agenda: The government seems quite serious about the reform agenda. Of course you can imagine that things could go much further, much faster. But these are very concrete steps. Could they be faster? Yes. Could they be more? Absolutely. I am sure, and we are hoping, that there will be more.

On whether Indian companies are overleveraged: In any growth phase, and India has gone through a very strong growth phase over the last 20 years, you are going to the limits. If you go back to the history of most companies today, you will see some periods when they were in enormous debt. We're seeing this in India, China and other emerging markets. Some companies will not survive. But as we go back to the momentum of higher growth most companies will do well again.

On BCG's consulting business in India:
It is a huge market. We have seen strong growth over the last 10 years. There are many more companies who will be our clients, not just to deal with the challenges in India but also as they expand overseas.


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