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The decade of India begins

Wednesday, January 1

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Hello there! It's a new day, it's a new year,a new decade. It's 2020! We at GSN Invest would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year and thank you for being a member of our community over the last few weeks. We hope to continue delighting you in the decades to come. (If you aren't a member yet, today is probably a great day to start! Sign Up)

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Today's post, as the title would have indicated is focussed on India. We take a step back from the string of negative news and try to see the bigger picture: The strengths we have, the distance we've covered, and what lies ahead.


A minute to acknowledge the strengths we have


It's a curious thing Harry, but perhaps those best suited to power are those who have never sought it. ~Albus Dumbledore, The Harry Potter series.


India has historically been heralded as a soft power. While the likes of the US push their weight through their military might and sanctions, and China marches ahead with authoritarian precision, India has moved quietly but steadily in the shadows, growing from strength to strength. The acumen and drive of our young workforce is second to none reflected in the presence of Indians in the top tier of almost every global giant out there. Despite its flaws, we have a flourishing democracy with extremely strong and globally respected institutions including an independent central bank and an impartial judiciary. And while we still have some ground to cover on improving the ease of doing business scores, the structural reforms implemented have set us up on a good runway for growth.


A minute to acknowledge how far we've come


If Indians can make steel, I will eat if for breakfast ~Largest British steel manufacturer, 1914

The comment was made when the Tatas first ventured into steel manufacturing in 1914. Not only did the Tatas make steel, in exactly 94 years they acquired the British firm.


When we look at the things around us, we often begin with criticism. And in most situations that is pretty helpful. It helps us take stock of where we are lagging, and work on improving in. But despite our flaws, the fact remains than in less than 75 years after independence we have made amazing strides. Today our youth literacy rate touches 90% up from 14% in '47. Our average life expectancy has increased from 30 in '47 to touching 70. All of the world's top ten of the top cities arranged by GDP growth rates are Indian cities. We are the 7th largest by landmass but rank #2 in agricultural output. We are also #2 in Steel, #2 in Cement and #3 in power. And we are only just getting started. [Credit to G. Maran sir for his "Know your country" talk with the CFA India institute. Do check out the video whenever you have time.]


A minute to think about what lies ahead


The decade to come certainly holds a lot of promise, but it will not be without its challenges. As automation grips the world, our largely service dependent economy will have to rapidly reskill our workforce. As countries in SE Asia continue to put in efforts to become the second supply chain hub, we will have to work fast on our policies including labour and land regulations to capitalize on the abundance of productive labour we have, and as our population grows, we will have to make rapid advances in agriculture to maintain our food security. We will have to do this while managing a hostile neighbour to the north, internal issues with our own government, and a significantly weakened banking and non-banking system with a potential real estate crisis on the horizon. The early part of this decade will most likely bring some pain, but it is important to keep in mind that on the macro level, we are stable enough to get out of it with only a few bruises.


I for one am extremely optimistic about the future of India and through my firm, will do my bit to help it on the journey to the top. And on that note of positivity, we begin the decade.

Happy New Year. Jai Hind.

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