Ashwajit Singh features in Silicon India Magazine

2019 is going to be a crucial year for business in the world and India. The Brexit fallout, suppressed European markets and the budget standoff in America foretell a cautious and limited growth possibility. India too, with a credit squeeze and post-demonetisation base, is likely to record a lower growth rate in 2019.

However, India is likely to emerge as the fifth largest economy – overtaking United Kingdom during the year. Over the last few years, several parts of the economy have been aligned in India – the improvement in EoDB is remarkable and an eco-system for startups is emerging slowly, but surely. Government spend – especially in rural areas – is increasing manifold which would fuel consumption.

The depreciating rupee, teething GST, limited foreign investments and uncertain crude prices will pose challenges for India in the current year. In addition, the general elections are due in early 2019.

Be that as it will, I look forward to the year with great optimism. This is drawn from the 4 areas below:

1. Finding Innovative Solutions

I see 2019 as a year where slowing growth will spawn newer ideas and options. Technology, logistics and customization would continue to be the main-stay of our innovation journey. The startup and angel-funding eco-system should also be able to encourage and mainstream these initiatives. I also feel that the e-commerce marketplace and mobile platform are maturing and will play an important role in this.

2. Meaningful CSR

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should become more attractive and meaningful in the next year. Although a recent phenomenon in Indian Corporate culture, CSRs have the capacity to generate synergistic Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for improved access to the poor.

3. An empowered Workplace

I see a more empowered and inclusive workplace, especially in terms of women safety and rights. Recent legal and regulatory changes are welcome and are likely to strengthen further. I also feel that this will help recognize and encourage better talent and merit to find their place in corporate boardrooms. The proverbial glass ceiling has to and should go.

4. Responsive to the Market

As compared to earlier times, I think businesses will need to adopt a market-linked model to deal with the uncertain future. The power of the market will be seen in asking for solutions, testing prototypes and even in funding. The future is about a real-time, direct market connect for corporates and technology is making this interface possible and economical.


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