India’s product and services exports to hit US$540 billion this year

Can this be true?

India’s merchandise and services export would touch USD 540-billion mark this fiscal, Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said Thursday.

Seems the figures back it up – India was once an isolated domestic economy but is now a major global exporter.

He said exports are growing at a healthy pace and shipments of goods would reach over USD 330 billion.  Similarly, services exports would touch about USD 200 billion.

The goods exports grew by 8.85 per cent this year and the Indian economy continues to hit around 7 per cent growth annually.

Surely this is one of the world’s great economic stories.

How China and India differ in the consumer goods market

India’s share in the consumption of consumer goods is expected to double by 2030 and favourable demographics (youth) will soon take it ahead of China in regional market dynamics, according to a report by Credit Suisse.

Interestingly, in India it is the home-grown brands like watchmaker Titan, hosiery company Rupa and another watchmaker Sonata which are gaining the most out of this propensity to spend in India.


However, India is at a comparative disadvantage vis-a-vis China because of factors like less urbanisation, high concentration of urban pockets and lower enrolments in higher education.

It said in 2015, China had 150 million more people in working age than India, while by 2045, the northern neighbour will have 300 million less people than India in the bracket.

Additionally, China will also have to grapple with ageing related issues by 2045, it said, pointing out that the Communist country will have 350 million people aged over 65 as against 200 million in India.


It marked out the apparel and meat sectors as the ones with ‘high’ growth potential as the per capital income of the country grows, followed by beverages, cars, cereals, personal computers, smart phones and education with ‘medium’ growth potential, while healthcare, consumer credit and tourism were the ones with ‘low’ potential.

consumer 4

From a consumption perspective, the Chinese prefer more of travel and entertainment-related options, it is staples that dominate the Indian story, the brokerage said.

India scores over China when it comes to spending intentions, the brokerage said, pointing out that the desire to spend is declining “more broadly” in China.



A “watch out!” for Australian education – the UK and Canada are competing big time

The UK and Canada are innovative and aggressive in their pursuit of international education – reminding Australia that if we regard international education as “just a transaction and revenue opportunity”, we might see decline in future.

First, from the UK:

Ambitions to grow international student numbers by 30% and boost the economic impact of the industry to £35bn annually by 2030 are at the centre of the new UK International Education Strategy. This is huge!

Among the key points of the strategy is an extension of the post-study work visa “to ensure the UK continues to attract and welcome” international students, and plans to improve the visa process and support student employability. Warning Australia – improve the work prospects for international students or expect a backlash.

Other propositions include the appointment of a new International Education Champion to develop global partnerships, tighter collaboration across government department on international education policy and a call for sector groups to bid into the £5m GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the UK internationally.

Current UK numbers are 458,000 international students – increasing to 600,000 under the plan. That’s competition for Australia.


Second, to Canada:

The government proposes to invest CA$147m and $8m per year after that to support work and study opportunities abroad, with the development of an outbound student mobility program, and to promote Canadian education abroad with a focus on its quality. Love this combination!

“In an increasingly global economy and labour market, Canadian youth need to develop a range of skills. These include adaptability, fluency in more than one or two languages and inter-cultural skills—skills that are best fostered through international experiences, such as travelling, studying and working overseas,” the budget text read.

“The investment…will give more students – including those from marginalised backgrounds – the international study and work opportunities so highly sought by Canadian employers,” a Universities Canada spokesperson said.

What should Australia do?

  • Improve employment rights for international students
  • Use international students (paid) to teach us their language and culture
  • Add value by increasing employability skills of international students
  • See students as a long term resource, building a bridge to key economies

What are your thoughts?


IMF confirms India leads as a growth economy

India has been one of the fastest growing large economies in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, asserting that the country has carried out several key reforms in the last five years, but more needs to be done.

Responding to a question on India’s economic development in the last five years at a fortnightly news conference here, IMF communications director Gerry Rice Thursday said, “India has of course been one of the world’s fastest growing large economies of late, with growth averaging about seven per cent over the past five years.”

“Important reforms have been implemented and we feel more reforms are needed to sustain this high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity, which India has,” he said.

Details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook (WEO) survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month, he said.

This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF’s chief economist.

“The WEO will go into more details. But amongst the policy priorities, we would include accelerate the cleanup of banks and corporate balance sheets, continue fiscal consolidation, both at centre and state levels, and broadly maintain the reform momentum in terms of structural reforms in factor markets, labour, land reforms and further enhancing the business climate to achieve faster and more inclusive growth,” Rice said.

World auto industry investing in Indian auto startups

India is attracting global investment, especially in automotive startups – global automobile manufacturers have invested around $491 million in 2018 in Indian automobile industry start-ups, led by Essel Green Mobility’s investment of $300 million into Bengaluru-based on-demand AC bus service provider Zipgo, according to market intelligence firm Venture Intelligence.


There were 13 investments during the year. In 2018, Taiwanese two-wheeler manufacturer Kwang Yang Motor, known as Kymco, invested $65 million in Gurugram-based electric two-wheeler maker Twenty Two Motors, while auto major Mahindra and Mahindra invested $40 million in self-drive car company Zoomcar.

Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trading arm of Toyota Group, invested around $30 million in Droom Technology, the operator of India’s largest online automobile marketplace by co-leading Series D fundraising of the company. The firms also concluded a pact on the overseas expansion of the used car and motorcycle marketplace business.


What’s the “biggest story in the world you have not heard about”? Happening in India right now

“The biggest global story you haven’t heard about right now is India’s sanitation drive,” according to my friends at FUTURE CRUNCH. See 

Since 2014, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open.

This is change on a massive scale – but not such a big story for the short concentration span of the major media.


Pictured – Indian Prime Minister Modi launches the program in 2014

The government claims that since its Swachh Bharat Mission programme started in October 2014, 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open, down from 550 million at the beginning of the programme to less than 50 million today. Over 90 million toilets have been built across rural India under the Mission. 615 districts have been declared ODF, along with 30 ODF States and Union Territories, as per the government.

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150-birth anniversary in 2019,” said Shri Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, as he launched the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajpath in New Delhi.


The Independent Verification Agency has presented their findings to the Expert Working Group (EWG) constituted for oversight of the survey, comprising representatives from organizations including the World Bank, UNICEF, Water Aid, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, India Sanitation Coalition, NITI Aayog, and Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat Mission is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2014 to 2019 that aims to provide sanitation, clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas. The campaign’s official name is in Hindi and translates to “Clean India Mission” in English.

It is India’s largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,041 cities, towns, and rural areas.

Do you agree this could be the biggest story in the world today that you have not heard about?

Asia Society showing the way on “global competence” for students

We are facing massive and fast change. Industrial 4.0 (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is beginning to impact – the technology a current student will use in their first job has probably not been invented yet. And where we work is becoming irrelevant – we will all be global.

It is therefore good to see the Asia Society and its Centre for Global Education taking such a lead on the idea of global competence – articulating the knowledge and skills students need in the 21st century.

Our universities need to move fast on this. 

According to the Asia Society, globally competent students have the knowledge and skills to:

Investigate the World

Globally competent students are aware, curious, and interested in learning about the world and how it works. MY COMMENT – curiosity is the basis for cross-cultural success, it embraces difference, is tolerant and generous.

Recognize Perspectives

Globally competent students recognize that they have a particular perspective, and that others may or may not share it. MY COMMENT – we still hear frustrated business leaders asking “why can’t they be more like us”. Recognising perspectives is the basis of acceptance – which is a reality based way to deal with difference.

Communicate Ideas

Globally competent students can effectively communicate, verbally and non-verbally, with diverse audiences. MY COMMENT – there is a huge job to train and motivate students from Asian cultures to speak up and have confidence in their ideas – once they do speak up, we will quickly learn how much value they add.

Take Action

Globally competent students have the skills and knowledge to not just learn about the world, but also to make a difference in the world. MY COMMENT – my guess is that in Industrial 4.0 many of the jobs of the future will be ones we create for ourselves – individually or in teams. This used to be called entrepreneurship but might morph into a new form.

Please share your perspectives…

4 trends for Indian university students studying abroad

Trend 1

STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will remain the top preferences for Indian students for studying abroad.

Trend 2

Unusual course choices to increase – The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows Indian students in the US are now showing a strong interest in off-beat courses like marine engineering, geophysics, game design and development. One main reason behind the shift is that these interdisciplinary courses are not easily available in their home countries. Also, as parents in India become more supportive of their children’s career choices, students are no longer shying away from choosing the road less travelled.

Trend 3

With the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and rapid progress in automation, machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), traditional job roles are evolving, and new jobs are coming up. Courses such as Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics are likely to witness increased demand in 2019.

Trend 4

The USA, Canada and UK have been the top destination, but challengers will emerge or pass them – including Australia. Plus, spending on tuition and hostel fees by Indians studying overseas has gone up by 44 per cent from $1.9 billion in 2013-14 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18. Australia now has 68,000 Indian students.


PM Modi an achiever for India – whether he wins or loses this week

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept into power in 2014 with the first single-party majority government in over three decades – thus holding out the promise that “things would happen”. With results to come in this week for Indian elections, it is time to ask: Have things happened?

PM Modi has been an achiever for India and his legacy will continue whether he wins or loses this week – with higher expectations from governments, more revenue for governments, increasing digitisation and anti-corruption – and an expectation that India is a global player and needs global political leaders like Modi.


There are four achievements of Modi that have changed and are changing India forever – and for the better.

The first was to show he was serious about ending corruption – his Demonetisation move shocked many, hurt the economy short term but sent a clear signal. Indians had been used to governments paying lip service on corruption – Modi took action. Increasing digitisation of government means less opportunity for corruption.

Second, the world’s biggest tax reform was his Goods and Services Tax (GST), long talked about in Indian politics but it took the skills of Modi to make it happen. Modi was outstanding in gaining state government support, essential to the process. Government revenue is now getting to where it should be. As a result, governments in India are awash with money and can now do things.

Third, Modi knew that the key to improving India’s attractiveness to global investors and businesses was reform of the Bankruptcy law. Since Modi, business leaders who had run their businesses into the ground would be called to order and stripped of control. He was also a global sales person for India – vital in the global economy.

Fourth, Modi has also activated the 29 state governments by financing and introducing competition. Indices, which rank states on the ease of doing business, health, education and water, already creating energy and activity in every state capital.

I am not saying each of these were done flawlessly but given the history of India it is amazing that they were done at all. Yes, there is a lot to be done. But against the odds and expectations, Modi has made significant change to India that will last for decades or more. Win or lose, he has earned his place in history.



PM Modi leads India to 6th largest economy in the world with high growth

Things are happening fast under the leadership of the Prime Minister,  Shri Narendra Modi – India is having its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.

Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament this week, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri  Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth  of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.

Shri Goyal said  under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid the foundation for sustainable growth  and restored the image of the country.

New India by 2022

Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

This is clearly an ambitious government, and the track record so far proves that Modi does get things done.