They agreed the Indian economy in the past several months has been going through a slump, both due to unclear government policies and the difficult economic scenario worldwide. But they also agreed there was continued investor interest in India. The India story was still strong and much of the gloom overdone. "It is currently very fashionable to criticise India," said Rashesh Shah, Founder and Chairman, Edelweiss Group.
"We are in India because this is the market we understand and where we create value. I don't think there is a question in any of our minds about looking beyond India, or substituting India with some other country," said Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India. Jaideep Khanna, CEO, Barclays India added that very few nations offered the kind of growth opportunities that India did and that there were a number of non resident Indians who were desperate to invest in India.
India was a diverse and interesting market with a lot to offer, added Sunil Alagh, Founder and Chairman, SKA Advisors. "People have money and they don't want to spend it. So, the question is what is being done to encourage people to spend because they have the money," said Alagh. "Pick the state you want to work in and the kind of industry you want to be in."
In a similar vein Kishore Biyani, Founder & Group CEO of Future Group, said he would never move out of India. But he added that entrepreneurship had never been encouraged in India and unless new entrepreneurs came in and create new businesses, India would not be able to create the jobs it needs.
The discussion, held at The Oberoi, Mumbai, was moderated by Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor, Business Today and Josey Puliyenthuruthel, Managing Editor, Business Today. The breakfast was hosted by Devendra Bharma, Executive Vice-President, Mumbai Hotels, The Oberoi Group.
Those who attended were: Saugata Gupta, CEO, Marico; Nina Lath Gupta, Managing Director, National Film Development Corporation; Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Managing Director, Diageo India; Sunil Alagh, Founder and Chairman, SKA Advisors; M.G. Parameswaran, ED & CEO, Draftfcb-Ulka Advertising; Kishore Biyani, Founder & Group CEO, Future Group; S. Raghunandan, CEO, Jyothy Laboratories; Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India; John G. Atkinson, President, Hiranandani Living; Moorthy K. Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India & Sri Lanka; Jaideep Khanna, CEO, Barclays India; Kaushal Sampat, President & CEO, Dun & Bradstreet India; Promeet Ghosh, Managing Director, Temasek Holdings Advisors India; Michael J. Surface, Advisory Leader, PwC; Madhukar Kamath, Group CEO & Managing Director, DDB Mudra; V. Vaidyanathan, Chairman & Managing Director, Capital First; Rashesh Shah, Founder and Chairman, Edelweiss Group.