The easy availability of electricity is a critical enabler of socio-economic growth in India, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

The basic building block for sustained economic growth is now in place. From a chronically electricity-deficit country, India has, in a space of three short years, turned the power sector around – so much so, that not only does the country now have surplus power, it is also exporting electricity to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Piyush Goyal as Minister of State for Power, Coal, Mines & Renewable Energy (Independent Charge) in 2014, India was reeling under a massive deficit of 87 billion Kwhs or 9 per cent of demand. Result: the economy was suffering long, daily power cuts and the use of diesel generators for back-up that sapped productivity and ate into corporate profitability.

There was little light visible at the end of the tunnel as India’s state-owned power distribution companies, or discoms as they are called, were also bleeding. With cumulative debts of more than $50 billion, they were having to borrow money just to keep their operations running, thus, pushing them further into debt.

This turnaround has made it possible for the Indian government to announce that it would be in a position to fulfil its election promise of providing power for all by next year – a full year ahead of schedule.

This is an incredible achievement. The easy availability of electricity is a critical enabler of socio-economic growth. Being the basic building block of prosperity, power is also the key enabler of several flagship schemes announced by the Prime Minister. There can be no Make in India, Digital India, Start-up India, Skill India or even Swacch Bharat without the provision of adequate electricity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of an educated and empowered nation would also have come to nothing without adequate electricity. Power, as we all know, is sine qua non for children to study, do their homework and prepare for examinations.

The rejuvenation of the power sector will have an impact far beyond the remit of the ministry itself as will help change the lives of millions that currently live, or till recently lived, in darkness.

Power, arguably, is the most critical component of the Prime Minister’s promise of providing jobs for the 10-12 million youth who join the Indian workforce every year. Key to accomplishing this goal is the aim of increasing the share of manufacturing from 18 per cent of GDP at present to 25 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Among several constraints that are holding up the growth of the manufacturing sector was the lack of adequate power to run the machines in thousands of small and medium enterprises that form the backbone of any economy and are the main incubator of the millions of low skilled jobs that really bring prosperity to people at the bottom of the pyramid. I have purposely left out large and heavy industries because they can afford to set up captive power plants or make provisions for back-up power from diesel generators.

But Minister Goyal himself will admit that his job is only half done. Almost a quarter billion Indians still do not have access to electricity in their homes. Turning this situation around and providing power to fuel the expected manufacturing boom in the coming years will consume the current surplus and call for additional sources of electricity.

This is where the Prime Minister’s ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 will come into play. Achieving this target will not only to enable India to meet its emission goals under the Paris climate accord but also to meet the additional demand that improving economic growth and rising numbers of power consumers will generate.

There will be challenges, for sure. Financing large projects in India remains an issue as the banking sector, which is in the throes of a bad loan crisis, is unable to provide large volumes of credit. Then, the issue of balancing the infirm power that wind and solar plants generate – the potential this has to destabilise the grid – has not yet been resolved.

But neither of these problems is insurmountable and there is every reason to be optimistic that solutions will be found.

This edition of ‘India Investment Journal’ tracks Minister Goyal’s mega power challenge as he travels around the world to scout for investments, besides the usual cross-sector coverage.

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

The Strategic Partnership Policy (SPP) could throw open deals worth over $20bn to six selected private sector companies in India.

India’s defence forces will get their first fighter jets, submarines, helicopters and armoured vehicles made in India by the private sector within a few years. And it is entirely probable that friendly foreign countries could also be using some of these Made in India weapon systems.

After years of research with experts and bio-chemists, Forest Essentials set off to build on the 6,000-year-old Indian science of Ayurveda. Company chief Samrath Bedi talks ‘India Investment Journal’ through his ‘Luxurious Ayrurveda’ tagline, the tie-up with American skincare giant Estee Lauder and future plans.

What in your opinion attracted investors to Forest Essentials?

Successful brands are built on rich heritage and history. What is compelling about Forest Essentials is its focus on the skill, science and tradition of Ayurveda – central to one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Initially, Ayurvedic products available in the market were formulated with effective properties, but products were not made with fresh and seasonal ingredients, as prescribed by Ayurvedic texts, and were often not pleasurable to use. Forest Essentials has simplified Ayurveda to make it more accessible to the world by curating high quality, user-friendly and pleasurable Ayurvedic products.

After the heady rush of initial years, Indian start-ups went through a churn in 2016. A spate of mergers beckons this year, as local firms brace against a global onslaught.

He was a 26-year-old young achiever. A dropout from India’s premier tech institute —Bombay IIT. A chief executive officer of a company he himself co-founded with 11 others. A man who became the toast of the nascent start-up ecosystem in India when within two years, five rounds of funding, a list of investors as prestigious as Japan’s Softbank, Qualcomm Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Helion Venture Partners, valuation peaked at $220 million.

Naspers has been behind investments in some of India’s most successful start-up ventures in recent years. Here Larry Illg, CEO for Ventures, explains what makes India an exciting prospect for the firm.

What would you attribute Naspers’ success in the Indian market to?

Naspers is active in more than 130 countries and markets across the world, and our approach to investing in companies has been fairly consistent over the years. Firstly, we ensure that we understand the business model. Do we think it has legs? Do we think there is long-term defensibility and profit potential? This can be a few years out, because we look at a relatively long horizon for our investments. Is there a fundamental need in the market for this business to exist; increasingly, we look for businesses that address big societal needs. And finally, has the business got good potential to scale?

Ramesh Awtaney heads the iSON Group, Africa’s largest technology and BPO specialist with a presence in 29 countries, including India. The businessman, who is passionate about replicating the Digital India model in Africa, shares his views on the emerging trends in IT/ BPO space in India, Africa and globally, Donald Trump’s impact on the industry and iSON’s growth journey.

What is your analysis of the Digital India programme?

The Digital India programme has picked up remarkable pace over the last few years. As an NRI with significant business interests in digital, telecom, and innovation, I view the Digital India initiative from two critical aspects – broadband connectivity and applications. Connectivity has improved a great extent thanks to the roll out of LTE and 4G networks. In what would be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre, the Government of India is connecting 250,000 village panchayats through its high speed digital highway, Bharat Net. India’s state-owned telecom company BSNL is replacing 30-year old exchanges through Next Generation Network (NGN), an IP based technology to manage all types of services like voice, data, multimedia and other packet-switched communication services.

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The year 2016 was one of the best years in recent times for initial public offering (‘IPO’) in India owing to stronger macroeconomics, pro-business political regime, continuing regulatory reforms and an overall positive investment climate.

Indian companies raised more than $4bn through IPOs in 2016, which is close to the aggregate equity raised over preceding four years from 2012-15.



The IPO pipeline for 2017 looks promising with some of the large companies expected to tap the equity markets including NSE, SBI Life, UTI Mutual Fund, Railways and Insurance public sector undertaking (PSU). Economic fundamentals are improving and the equity index performance is at a record high. India continues to be one of the top destinations for investments globally.

The Indian healthcare sector is riding the growth curve and emerging as a lucrative site for foreign investments, writes a healthcare analyst.

The Indian healthcare sector is one of the fastest growing sectors with high contribution not only in terms of revenue, but also employment. The Indian healthcare market is expected to rank amongst the top-three healthcare markets in terms of incremental growth by 2020.[1] The sector stood at approximately $113.9 billion in 2016 and is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6 per cent in the next five years to reach $195.6 billion.

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The Goods & Services Tax (GST) is one of the most significant reforms in post-independence India which has rightly garnered interest of businesses across the nation. Here a tech enthusiast highlights why digitisation is the key.

For decades, India has been thriving on a ‘red tape’ culture. India as a trade economy has been functioning on high import tariffs, excises and turnover tax on goods and services having enormous cascading effects, leading to a distorted structure of production, consumption and exports.

A proactive, business-friendly government, great location and sound macro fundamentals are powering Haryana’s economic surge.



This is not the kind of news that makes for banner headlines. So, it was no surprise to find the news on Gurugram, the commercial capital of Haryana, getting an International Arbitration Centre (IAC) buried in the inside pages of most newspapers.

The city, part of the National Capital Region (NCR) and till recently known as Gurgaon, will be the second Indian city after Mumbai to get an IAC. The Punjab and Haryana High Court, whose approval is necessary, has given its consent and sent the proposal to the Haryana government.

A leading consultant analyses the factors that have made investing in India easier and a more rewarding experience as long as investors go in with a level of preparedness.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently altered its predicted growth rate for India slightly downward to 6.8 per cent, but this is still attractive compared to the sluggish rates of growth elsewhere in the world. Foreign investors’ confidence in India has also recently improved, making it the eighth most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). Meanwhile India’s ranking in the World Bank’s league table for ‘ease of doing business’ is rising, albeit at 130 the improvement isn’t over yet!

These changes have been strongly influenced by the government’s attempts to make India a more attractive market by, for example, implementing demonetisation in November 2016, increasing online transactions and the planned introduction of a common nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July.