My reflections on 2019: The glass is not always half empty
In the pursuit of so-called ‘balance’, 2019 has seen far too many commentators straying towards the negative as their safest bet when explaining India’s growth story. The glass is not always half empty, argues India Inc. Founder & CEO, Manoj Ladwa.
Over the past five years, I have written over 250 ‘Globally Speaking’ blogs, which are published online every Friday at www.indiaincgroup.com and selected ones in the ‘India Global Business’ magazine. I am pleased to inform readers that in 2020, some of my columns will be compiled into a book, which currently has a working title ‘Positive India’.
Why positive? Well, frankly because there is so much that is negative in what is written about India and its path to globalisation, that there is almost a default belief that the glass must necessarily be half empty. Alas, a lot of writers feel that in the pursuit of balanced commentary, imbalance towards the negative is the safest path.
At India Inc., each day we seek to disprove this thesis. Every issue, of course, has two sides. Or, in India’s case, multiple differing voices. As a passionate believer in democracy (however imperfect it may be), the voice of the silent majority also must be heard. They include those who don’t always think that the world is crumbling around them, who experience political and business decisions in their towns and villages which are changing their lives and those around them for the better.
For instance, despite the economic slowdown in India, there are many measures that the Indian government has taken, for which credit must be due. For instance, the lowering of corporate income tax rates, not only to historic lows in India, but also bringing them to competitive levels with the ASEAN bloc countries. Similarly, whilst the debate rages over India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act, we have taken the view that in protesting against its perceived ills, the case of the persecuted and the stateless must not be ignored.
2020 will also mark a decade of our own journey as a media house. It was in 2010 that the idea of starting a media platform focussed on India’s globalisation first came to mind.
Over the past decade, we have seen the emergence of two phenomenal globalisation stories. The China story, and the India story. China’s global march, however fascinating it may be, is essentially driven by the state. Whereas India’s is driven by its people and its business. The Indian government has mostly been a cheerleader – though of late, a rather assertive and, quite often, an effective one with the emergence of Modi.
It’s that story, the story of Indian business going global in such an unprecedented manner, of its vibrant and increasingly influential diaspora, and the interplay between global business and policy, that we tell through our content and our events.
2019 has been a watershed year for India Inc. In the UK, we have established ‘India Global Business’ as the leading India focussed business magazine, which we publish fortnightly from London. Its covers have become quite iconic, with many readers regularly commenting on them and comparing which they like the most! For me, this year, the most memorable cover was ‘Gandhi Cool’, which marked 150 years of the Mahatma’s birth anniversary. We also publish the annual ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations‘ which is widely read and appreciated as a go-to place to get a pulse on who’s who in this important bilateral corridor.
We launched the North America edition of ‘India Global Business’ in September, to coincide with Prime Minister Modi’s memorable ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston. I have been astonished at the interest that India Inc. has received in the US, and this has spurred us to start planning some high-profile events in 2020 on the East and West coasts. My team has already started to curate a list of the ‘100 Most Influential in US-India Relations’ to complement our UK power list.
As a team, we have almost doubled the number of staff in one year, and have opened an office in Bangalore, India’s tech capital, as we see technology playing a huge part in our business going forward. This is that time of the year when we start planning in earnest for our annual India Inc. Leaders’ Summit and India Global Awards in June 2020. Yet again, we will have some blockbuster speakers and participants from across the world.
At India Inc., we believe it’s only a matter of time before the other half of the glass fills up to the brim. And we will be there, as always, to bring you a ringside view of that ascent to the global high table.
Manoj Ladwa is the Founder and CEO of India Inc. publishers of India Global Business magazine.