07 August 2020

Editor's Space

The Big Push


If, May the month in which Narendra Damodardas Modi assumed charge as the 15th Prime Minister of India, signalled possibilities – read hope – for the country, June has seen dollops of certitude from the man who has rarely ever experienced doubt when it came to setting a development agenda for his home state of Gujarat. So it is now for the country. Much of his clarity of purpose has been in evidence in the decisive manner in which he has systematically gotten   into action mode by first quietly identifying the fault zones in the system – and there are many – and then like a predator moving in for the kill, directing concerned officials to immediately clear road blocks to the implementation of key infrastructure projects. India Inc has taken a considerable beating in the last few years thanks to the global economic slowdown aided in large measure by systemic inefficiencies and the ogre called corruption which saw the previous political dispensation being voted out of power.


Modi’s aggressiveness, if it can be viewed as such, is not about scoring political brownie points. It is simply driven by an understanding of business – which comes naturally from his Gujarati antecedents – and the sense that India needs more than economic normalcy: that it needs to be catapulted to a high growth trajectory which becomes a new norm – and a sustainable one at that.


This month’s cover story examines the new growth zones which will engage the attention of both the government and the opportunity seekers – it includes Modi’s big push for projects like bullet trains, Smart Cities, Industrial and Freight Corridors, metro rail network, airports, bullet trains or even port connectivity which owe majorly to Japanese influence on his thinking.


It is no surprise that Prime Minister Modi and Shinzo Abe, his counterpart in Tokyo, are a mutual admiration society. It is also no wonder that in the DMIC project which runs its longest stretch in his home state of Gujarat there is a very significant Japanese influence and presence which is not just restricted to the funding. Interestingly enough, it was inspiration from a visit abroad which led Modi to mobilise efforts to set up GIFT City outside Gandhinagar, which now not only seeks to be India’s answer to global financial centres like Tokyo, Singapore, Dubai, London, but lays claim to being the country’s first Smart City. Against that background it is easy to understand why technology firms like Bentley Systems are seeking opportunities in the new growth zones. That also explains why Mumbai’s Capacit’e Group, a rising star on the construction firmament, is increasingly thinking of contributing to more tall structures.


With the new government in place at the centre and a man of action in the hot seat there is hope yet of growth. Much has happened in Gujarat. And much can happen elsewhere in the country.


It is just a matter of political will.  


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