There is a need to energise Doordarshan (DD) to become the voice of a new India, writes India Inc. founder and CEO Manoj Ladwa.

India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry is, arguably, the most anachronistic symbol of a bygone age in Indian politics, administration and society. A country that justifiably prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy has no business having a government department and a bloated bureaucracy that regulates and supervises the dissemination of information to its citizens and the world at large.

Following the nomination of Venkaiah Naidu as the BJP’s vice-presidential candidate, his baton at the I&B ministry has been passed onto Smriti Irani, a feisty politician and former actress who many of India’s younger generation consider their icon. Irani takes on the role as an “additional charge” to the Textiles Ministry, which for India is a hugely important and strategic industry, especially in the Modi government’s quest for more job creation.

In an ideal world, Irani’s brief should have been simple: shut down this archaic department that reeks of a Soviet-era mindset. But unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. So, her remit should be to reform the department and pull it, screaming and protesting, into the brave new India of the 21st century.

Want to know what’s wrong with Indian media? Switch on any news channel between 6 pm and 10 pm. All you’ll get are gladiatorial contests masquerading as “debates” on topics that are, more often than not, of little relevance to the viewer. To maintain their ratings and to make the programmes entertaining, channels carefully invite speakers known for their controversial views or some who openly spew venom on their rivals. The resulting shouting matches provide a great spectacle and generate a lot of heat but end up leaving the viewer none the wiser about the topic under discussion.

What can the I&B minister do, you may ask, since these are privately owned channels that are free to telecast whatever they want.

The answer lies in reforming the state-owned Doordarshan (DD), which has a bouquet of channels that still enjoys a greater reach across India than all the private broadcasters combined. But urban audiences, whom broadcasters chase because they bring in the advertising big bucks, have mostly given up watching DD.

Why? Because DD’s current affairs channels have over years been considered nothing more than the propaganda arm of the government in power in New Delhi. And it has been decades since a general entertainment programme on DD has topped the popularity charts. The reasons aren’t hard to find. Nepotism and corruption in awarding programming contracts have ensured that the best producers and directors of television programmes prefer to deal with private channels.

Irani can make a big impact if she can bring a big broom to this stinky stable and clean up the mess created by decades of political interference.

If she can bring balance and edginess to DD’s current affairs programmes and professionalise the general entertainment channels, the state-run broadcaster will once again begin to attract viewers. And given DD’s reach, this will almost certainly exert pressure on the private channels to improve the quality of their fare.

Since India’s TV channels are largely self-regulated, pressure from a proactive and genuinely public service DD will almost certainly force its private counterparts to fall in line.

It’s a shame that India still doesn’t have any global platform to project its soft power around the world – on the lines of a BBC, or even Al Jazeera (despite its recent controversies).

A reformed, edgy and professional DD can fill this void by becoming the voice of the Global Indian, which is now heard with respect in capitals and boardrooms around the world. It will unleash India’s creative talent and, over time, can emerge as a global platform for the dissemination of an alternative world view. Irani would do well to also harness the hugely successful talent pool of media professionals from the diaspora in this mission.

Irani’s end game must remain the closure of her new charge. But her roadmap for getting there, we hope, will pass by some of the milestones on our wish list.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

India’s Revenue Secretary, Dr Hasmukh Adhia, embodies the spirit of a new-age bureaucracy, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, independent India’s first Home Minister, famously dubbed the bureaucracy as the “Steel frame of India’. It was, and is, India’s multi-layered bureaucracy that keeps the wheels of the vast nation in motion.

But over time, the edges of the steel frame have rusted and parts of the core have become weak. Result: India’s governance structure has become lax over the last 70 years since Independence.

Enter another man from the state of Gujarat – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who earned his spurs as an effective administrator during his 13-year stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Focused on delivery of services to the ordinary Indian, Modi encouraged and supported bureaucrats who were highly motivated, empowered and results driven – a clean break from the traditionally negative impression (and experiences) of the Indian bureaucracy – of a class of highly educated but corrupt, inefficient and uncaring mandarins who are a hindrance to progress.

We have featured one such “supercrat” bureaucrat – Revenue Secretary Dr Hasmukh Adhia – on our cover this time because I feel he is at the vanguard of the arrival of this new breed of honest, hardworking, diligent, and fiercely independent set of bureaucrats that the Modi government is spawning – and empowering. Adhia has spearheaded the tricky implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which in effect makes India’s 1.2 billion people members of one common market, at last. He also was at the helm of the department that rolled out India’s record breaking financial inclusion programme – the Jan Dhan Yojna.

As a politician and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, his job – and that of his ministerial colleagues – Modi had said, was to focus on policy and public engagements. It was the duty of the empowered bureaucrats to focus on delivery and implementation .

Now, Modi is bringing his tried and trusted success formula to New Delhi. The modern bureaucrat can no longer think like the proverbial bureaucrat. Instead, he or (increasingly and thankfully) she has to be the CEO of the department(s) under his or her charge.

India’s top tier bureacrats can no longer depend only on precedent to show them the way; they have to think out of the box to support Modi’s vision and resolve the many issues that governing a complex country like India routinely throws up.

The Indian government has recently announced that it will no longer follow the practice of awarding automatic time-served promotions to the positions of Secretaries and Principal Secretaries. Instead, aspirants will be subject to 360 degree reviews – and only those who have shown initiative and ability to deliver on difficult targets will be promoted to coveted posts.

At one stroke, the highest levels of the Indian bureaucracy will be rid of mere time servers and only the best will rise to the top.

Adhia is just one example of this new breed of mandarins. There are many others waiting in the wings to follow in his footsteps. And, the Indian Prime Minister and many of his colleagues in the Cabinet are encouraging them to do so.

There are other, far reaching proposals as well. The chief of Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s in-house think-tank, Arvind Panagariya has suggested that senior positions in the government be opened up to talented personnel from the private sector as well. If implemented, this will provide a further much-needed blood transfusion to the system and challenge the cosy, clubby world that senior Indian mandarins currently live in.

Doubtless, there will be many more suggestions and hurdles, like addressing the massive pay gap between the public and private sector.

I’m glad though that the journey has begun on a positive note, and with role models like Adhia and others, the emerging go-getter legion of Indian “supercrats” will stand the country in good stead for the future.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The notion of globalisation is not under threat as a result of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, writes a senior academic.

A day after the crucial Brexit Vote, it seemed the world had opened its eyes to a new world. An island within Europe had willingly decided to split from the European Union (EU) forever. Soon after, while there was opposition and emotional outcry by people who were not observant of current realities. Brexit isn’t as surprising as it seems in the first instance. Change has always been coming and so it will continue, for good or bad. The only way to be successful, for every individual, business or country, is to evolve and adapt to new realities.

London Stock Exchange has proved a popular choice for investors keen to participate in the India growth story, writes a keen observer of the trend.

Despite macro economic uncertainty, London Stock Exchange Group is showing itself to be the ideal partner to India, as Prime Minister Modi embarks on his ambitious plans to revolutionise the country’s economy and infrastructure.

Rana Kapoor, the CEO of Yes Bank, talks ‘India Investment Journal’ through his company’s recent tie-up with Santander UK, the impact of demonetisation and the gains in store for the banking sector with GST.

What is the thinking behind the tie-up with Santander UK?

The UK-India corridor is a high priority corridor for us. The fact is that India is the fastest growing economy in the world today and quite naturally the opportunities between India and the UK are getting catalysed. Especially, SMEs [small and medium enterprises] need cross-border partners and banks are the channel that can help open new markets for them. Santander and Yes Bank are looking at providing a collaborative platform to help SMEs penetrate new geographies.

The introduction of GST has passed of smoothly and the economy looks set to enter a higher growth trajectory once the initial teething troubles are sorted out.

At the stroke of the midnight hour on the intervening night of June 30 and July 1, while the world slept, much of India was wide awake, watching President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally launch the much awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST).



At the stroke of the midnight hour, India was transformed – from 29 discrete markets each with its own labyrinthine tax laws to one common market.

India’s ambitious renewable energy targets will help the country pick up some of the slack created by Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord.

Early June, the world was in shock. President Donald Trump of the US announced that he was pulling out of the Paris climate pact. The news wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the US withdrawal still raised question marks about the world’s ability to meet the goal of capping the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of end of this century.

The biggest challenge for India’s Renewable Energy targets is the intermittent nature of Wind and Solar technology, writes a power sector expert.

India remains the fastest growing economy with GDP upwards of 7 per cent and growing population. With increasing urbanisation and growing needs and demands, the energy requirement is also growing at a CAGR of 5 per cent from FY2010.

The capacity addition in the 11th plan (2007-2012) has been 50GW and that in 12th plan (2012-2017) and beyond is close to 130GW. The main contribution for this significant capacity addition (CAGR 10.5 per cent) has come from the private sector, which now has the largest share of 145GW followed by state sector with 104GW and remaining with central sector. With the significant capacity addition, the energy deficit which was 10 per cent in 2009-10 has reduced to 0.6 per cent in 2017-18 and the peak power deficit from 12.8 per cent to 0.6 per cent in 2017. The present energy generation in the country is close to 1300TWh with 330GW of operational capacity comprising mainly fossil fuel 225GW, Hydro 45GW and Renewables 55GW. Renewables comprise Wind, Solar Bio mass and Hydro <25MW. With 1.3-billion population, the per capita consumption of electricity is close to 1000KWh/annum – a third of global average.

The impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is set to shake up India’s property markets.



The Indian real estate market was just beginning to steady itself from the impact of demonetization in November last year by clocking in smart sales in February, March and May nation-wide. However, the dual impact of GST implementation and the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) in July, has got the industry extremely worried.

Sunil Misra, as Director-General of the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), has an inside track on the country’s renewables challenge. He speaks to ‘India Investment Journal’ on what gives India an edge in this sector and how the 175GW target for renewable electricity generation by 2022 is on course.

What are the main factors behind a surge in India’s electrical industry sector?

India has seen significant and continued growth in its GDP and per capita income. There has been a substantial increase in in middle class and also aspirations of people, giving rise to consumption.

This enhanced consumption requires strengthening of the Transmission and Distribution network, which the country is undertaking with full vigour through its recent initiatives in coal and renewable sector. The government has also increased its spending on rural electrification in parallel schemes with IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme) and DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana), which has further spurred the demand of electrical equipment in India.

The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) launched its first Green Bond on the London Stock Exchange’s new International Securities Market (ISM) to finance renewable energy projects in India.

A new 10-year dated green bond listed by REC raised $450 million, with an annual yield of 3.965 per cent. It was 3.9 times oversubscribed on the final order book and secured strong international investor interest, with Asian investors making up 68 per cent of the order book and investors from Europe, Middle East and Africa region making up 32 per cent.