India into a magnet
Narendra Modi has turned India into a magnet: McKinsey CEO Dominic Barton.
MUMBAI: Dominic Barton, the CEO of the world’s largest whiteshoe consulting firm, McKinsey, says that India is back on the priority list of CEOs after Narendra Modi’s ascension to power. “People had given up on India. They felt India is too complicated and it was difficult to get anything done. It had dropped in the last five years on people’s priority (list). I think it has gone right back up, people are interested, obviously people are going to want to see action but I think the feeling is the is they will, because this government seems serious,” says Barton.
On his part, the McKinsey CEO is again advising his clients to bet big on India. “I was not (advising clients to come to India) two years ago because it was complicated… and companies and clients were deeply frustrated with the bureaucracy, no decisions getting made. Companies were saying… let us go to Africa, let us go to Nigeria, let us go to Indonesia, let us just go to the US, but that has changed. I think because if you look at the trends that are going on in the world, India is right is right in the centre,” says Barton.
“Agriculture and food is going to be one of the biggest businesses in the world right here (along with) the healthcare boom, education boom, advanced analytics,” adds Barton.
PM Narendra Modi’s high profile, the outcome of addresses at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Sydney’s Allphones Arena has helped advance India’s cause in global boardrooms. “I hear people say he seems very determined… We know it is unbelievably complicated but he is going to get it done. I see it in pharmaceuticals, industrial companies and the pension funds. The pension funds are interested and that is a big opportunity and so we are interested in getting more investment here too,” says Barton.
With the world economy on a wobbly footing again – Japan receding into recession, a stalled Europe and China slowing down – India could find itself in a sweet spot providing stability and balance to the world economy.
I think the people around the world look at this and say we need growth from India. It is also a bit of desperation for the world, 40% of the world’s growth just last year came from China. We need more balance and India is the place that could do it. So if India unleashes, it is going to help not only India but the world,” says Barton.
Besides, Barton is optimistic about the US, where he says the economy is recovering in spite of the government, and about China. The world’s second-largest economy has plenty of headroom to grow, given that its urbanisation rate has just crossed the 50% mark.