India@75: Stronger Economy and Plethora of Opportunities

By Rajesh Mehta & Sunny Sabharwal

“Economy has frequently nothing whatever to do with the amount of money being spent, but with the wisdom used in spending it.” – Henry Ford

According to the estimates of the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) will be $3.12 trillion in FY22. Milk, pulses, jute, rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnuts, vegetables, fruits, and cotton are just a few of the agricultural items where India is the world’s top producer. In addition, having the biggest livestock population and postal system in the world, she is also the largest consumer of gold. It is noteworthy that India has the third-largest unicorn population in the world, with over 100 unicorns estimated to be worth US$ 332.7 billion.

The Growth Drivers

Let’s look at the sunrise sectors which are going to be the significant contributors to our GDP in the next 5-10 years:

Fintech

The fintech industry primarily includes technologies related to payments, lending, wealth management, personal finance, insurance, regulation, etc. Globally, India has the highest Fintech adoption rate of 87 percent as compared to the global average of 64 percent, as per IBEF.

The size of the current Fintech industry is estimated at $50 billion in FY2021 and is projected to grow up to $150 billion by FY2025. There is staggering growth in the sector, as evidenced by the fact that as of June 2022, India has 23 Fintech companies that have achieved ‘unicorn status’ with valuations of more than $1 billion. The growth of this sector will be driven by financial penetration, exponential growth in mobile application usage, and massive sector funding.

Electric vehicle (EV)

The EV sector, which has a global focus, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 49 percent between 2022 and 2030 in India. The government is working with private actors to set up its own semiconductor capabilities to reduce dependence on China and keep pace with rising demand. A 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) is now allowed in the sector.

On the consumer side, in order to stimulate demand, various tax and non-tax subsidies and incentives, including subsidies, registration tax exemption, toll exemption, insurance allowance, etc. have been already introduced. India’s young population, rapid urbanization, easy financing, and rising income levels could propel the sector towards expected growth levels.

Green Hydrogen

In 2020, the global hydrogen market brought in $187,517.3 million. From 2021 to 2027, the market is projected to rise at a CAGR of 6.6 percent as per IBEF. The market for hydrogen generation is being driven by rising awareness of the use of green and clean energy.

The use of hydrogen for power generation is also being encouraged by the focused government measures to minimize carbon emissions. India has also declared a “National Hydrogen Mission” to manufacture hydrogen from renewable energy sources to address the global hydrogen market.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In India, the market for AI is expected to reach $7.8 billion by 2025, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.2 percent between 2020 and 2025, as per data company IDC.

The AI market’s growth at a CAGR of 35.8 percent by 2025 shall enhance India’s position as a leader in the sector. The IT sector created the “AI Adoption Index” for India, which assesses the trends of AI adoption in four significant sectors: banking and financial services, consumer goods and retail, healthcare, and industrial and automotive.

According to the NASSCOM report, global investments in AI have more than doubled – from $36 billion in 2020 to $77 billion in 2021. Growth in the AI sector is crucial to India’s $5 trillion dream.

Space technology

The launch of foreign satellites and the production of inexpensive spacecraft are hallmarks of the Indian space industry. India presently contributes between 2-3 percent of the $423 billion global space economy.

Despite being small, India’s share is expanding at a CAGR of 48 percent as per IBEF. India has flown 25 launch vehicle flights and 27 satellite missions successfully by March 2021. Since the space industry has now been opened to private participants, around 60 startups have already registered with ISRO for projects involving space debris control, nanosatellites, launch vehicles, ground systems, and research. 100 percent FDI is permitted to bring in international capital and skills.

Agritech

Agritech seeks to benefit from technological advancements in the agricultural industry by raising output and productivity, and by offering ancillary services, that reduce costs and labor for the farmers.

Startups in the industry pinpoint the trouble spots such as logistics and the scarcity of useful resources like seeds and animal care. An expert analysis indicates that there are more than 1300 startups in this field and that investments totaling $ 1.6 billion would be committed through 2021. The government is actively supporting the sector by launching schemes such as the National Agriculture Market, India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, and National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture, etc.

Defense

Every country must develop local defense technologies and production capabilities. By 2025, the Indian government aims to produce $25 billion worth of defense goods with an export target of $5 billion.

As the public sector alone cannot accomplish this task, India has chosen to seek the assistance of the private sector. To promote self-reliance in defense manufacturing as part of the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” program, the government has created the “Defense Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020.” Two Defense Industrial Corridors (DICs) in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are aimed at attracting investments worth $1.31 billion each.

Edtech

The field of education technology has altered how people learn and teach throughout history, particularly after the year 2020 when educational institutions ceased to exist. By taking advantage of this opportunity, India created multiple unicorns, including Byjus, Unacademy, Lead, Upgrad, Vedantu, and the most recent PhysicsWala.

By 2025, Statista projects that the market value of the Indian Edtech sector would be US$10.4 billion. K-12, test preparation, online certification, and skill development are the sector’s main subsectors.

Infrastructure

The quantity and caliber of India’s infrastructure impact its capacity to capitalize on its comparative advantage and makes it possible for her to be cost competitive. According to Economic Survey 2022, India needs to invest roughly $1.4 trillion in infrastructure during these years in order to reach a GDP of $5 trillion by 2024–2025.

With 13,327 km of new roads built in 2020–2021, the building of national highways and roads has been rising steadily. The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and the National Monetization Plan (NMP), among other programs, are being implemented to boost infrastructure investment. Construction and infrastructure received close to $55 billion up to March 2022.

India needs to have strong industrial and technology skills, and tight control over economic parameters including unemployment – currently at 8 percent, inflation – at a high of 7 percent, and foreign exchange rates in order to realize its $ 5 trillion economic ambition.

(Rajesh Mehta is a leading International Consultant in the field of Market Entry, Innovation & Public Policy. Sunny Sabharwal, a Chartered Accountant, is an Associate Professor of Practice at Jindal Global Business School.)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times 

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: IMPRI), (Image Courtesy: PIB) and Provided

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