The recent slump in economic growth notwithstanding, India will be one of the world's top consumption centres and a manufacturing and services hub for the next several decades, billionaire Gautam Adani has said, stressing there is no better time to bet on India than now.
India's economic growth slipped to 4.2 per cent in 2019-20 fiscal (April 2019 to March 2020) -- its slowest pace in more than a decade. International rating agencies as well as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have forecast a contraction in GDP in the financial year that began in April 2020 on account of the coronavirus-induced slowdown.
"What we must realize is that there are no absolute right or wrong ideas. What is required during an unprecedented, hard to model, crisis like COVID-19, is a Government that is willing to make decisions based on best available information at a given point of time and constantly adapting as new information becomes available," Adani said in the latest annual report of Adani Gas Ltd.
Countries with greater resources have struggled while India has done well in containing the fallout of COVID-19, he said. "While our battle with the virus is far from over, I have no hesitation in stating that had the decisions that got made been delayed we could have been facing an unmitigated disaster that would not just impact India but have global ramifications," he said.
Adani, who heads the country's biggest infrastructure conglomerate spanning ports to power, said "business has suffered immensely, lives and jobs have been lost, and the migrant worker crisis saddened the entire nation, but the consequences of the unknown alternates would be far grimmer."
"What the leaders of our nation, the doctors, the healthcare workers, the police, the army, the small street side vendors, and the citizens have done to support each other is truly what defines India and its resiliency," he said. "Sitting where we are today, I can say that history is in process of being scripted."
Stating that the short or mid-term possible economic outcomes as a result of COVID-19 are hard to predict, Adani said there cannot be any denying the fact that India over the next several decades will be a market continuously on the up and one that simply cannot be ignored.
"It will be one of the world's top consumption centers, manufacturing and service hubs and a beacon of stable democratic governance," he said. "If there was a time to make a bet on India, there may not be a better time than now."
Adani, who is the chairman of Adani Gas Ltd, said on the other side of this crisis will emerge massive new opportunities, terrific businesses and a few stronger nations. "Those that succeed will be the ones that understand that resilience is built on the other side of the tunnel of crisis and we are already getting ready for this," he said.
Adani Group's six publicly traded companies have each performed well. "While we may have to do need-based course correction in our strategies in the wake of the challenge that we are facing, the roadmap remains clear," he said, adding the group's businesses are closely aligned to the lifeline of the economy, providing essential services and addressing critical national infrastructure priorities.
"Any shock to a system always helps drive home some key points and what the Indian businesses have learnt over the past few years and most certainly post COVID-19 is the value of an optimal and perhaps for some sectors a conservative capital structure as well as the criticality to have systematic risk mitigation plans in place," he noted.
Adani Group, he added, is focussing on optimising capital utilisation, redesigning the organisational structure to minimise risk in businesses and funding operations in phases. "I am happy to share that during the year (2019-20), the Group has been able to bring strategic global equity partners in Adani Gas, Adani Green Energy Ltd and Adani Mumbai Electricity Ltd," he said, adding the total investment of USD 1.6 billion by the partners will help drive future growth.