India may be going through a slowdown, but it's certainly not doomsday, say CEOs of India Inc at the Business Today Mindrush event. Despite the automobile sector being the worst impacted in the current economic slowdown, Maruti Suzuki India, CEO, Kenichi Ayukawa, said that he looks at India as the most progressive market in the world. "We are investing and preparing for the future."
Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and MD, Nestle India said that consumption may have dropped from 11-12 per cent to 7 per cent, but the roof hasn't fallen. "I am optimistic about the Indian economy. It may not be a quick fix, but it's certainly not doomsday."
India is an aspirational consumption economy and the CEOs of India Inc feel that it is the duty of the industry to fuel consumption by innovation. "Only those who read pink papers and magazines know that there is a slowdown," said former MD of The Titan Company, Bhaskar Bhat.
Anil Rai Gupta, MD, Havells India, called himself an eternal optimist. "We are fortunate that we have a long-term growth story that will play out over the next two-three decades. The glass should always be half-full so that we constantly look at growth opportunities."
Nestle MD Narayanan said that good brands focussing on essentials such as great quality product and distribution have no reasons to face any kind of trauma. "Indian consumers are asking for brands and quality. Bulk of my growth is coming from tier-2 and tier-3 towns." He talked about selling 2,000 Nescafe machines over the last few quarters and this happened not in metros but in 600 towns.
"Big opportunities are coming from tier-2 and tier-3 towns," agreed Rai of Havells.
What should the government do to boost consumption? The CEOs of India Inc said that the government urgently needs to boost employment. "We are investing to increase business and create more employment but the government has to create employment too," said Maruti's Ayukawa.
"The government needs to think of employment. If employment comes down, spending power also comes down," agreed Bhat of Titan.