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2020: Reshaping Global Business and Society

A USIBC India Advisory Council White Paper Series

2020 has been a year of transformative change in global business and society, accelerating major shifts in our approach to climate, technology, economic growth and social interaction. With the course of the pandemic in the United States and India unclear and a vaccine development still underway, both countries are still weathering a major economic downturn. Still, the unique challenges of this period have also revealed new layers of resilience and ingenuity. Both individually and as partners, the United States and India have launched transformative technology, re-imagined manufacturing and global trade flows, and developed new tools to foster the connections between people and businesses that will allow us to weather the crisis.

To support these efforts, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is pleased to launch Big Ideas: 2020 & Beyond – an occasional thought paper series. Drawing from the expertise of senior executives from USIBC’s India Advisory Council (IAC), the papers are designed to help businesses understand evolving dynamics in their industry and provide a set of actionable recommendations to kick-start India’s economic growth and strengthen the U.S.-India commercial partnership.

In “India’s Digital Transformation: Accelerating the Journey Towards the New Normal,” Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India emphasizes that the current crises has fundamentally accelerated existing, albeit slow-moving trends, packing two decades of incremental change into a transformative digital revolution. The Government of India, major corporations, startups and academia will all need to play an important role to create a technology ecosystem that can unleash the full potential of data-driven technologies and permanently establish new approaches to “doing business.” Click here to download the thought paper.

In “The 5G Revolution: Empowering People, Societies, Enterprises and Industries,” Sandip Patel, Managing Director, IBM India expands on Rai’s paper with commentary on the transformational potential of cheap, high capacity, and ubiquitous access to information. 5G is set to have the fastest global roll-out of any generation of mobile network technology. While acknowledging delayed spectrum auctions as an area of concern, Patel focuses on transformational use cases and the impact of 5G on Industry 4.0, media products and consumer buying patterns. Click here to download the thought paper.

In “Building Supply Chain Resiliency: Opportunities and Challenges in the Present Times,” Madhusudan Gopalan, Managing Director & CEO, P&G India identifies COVID-driven dramatic and irreversible changes in supply chain technology, processes, and geographic distribution. Click here to download the thought paper.

Nitin Prasad, India Chairman for Shell Group of Companies outlines a vision for sustainability and renewable energy in “Innovating for India’s Energy Needs: Pathway for a Resilient and Sustainable Economic Recovery.” While 2020 could have been a critical year to address climate issues, the pandemic has delayed action in some arenas, while accelerating progress in others. As Prasad notes, the pandemic has also helped to outline a roadmap for the action needed to ensure long-term climate and energy sustainability. Click here to download the thought paper.

“Financing Infrastructure Development: Building a New India,” co-authored by Naina Lal Kidwai, Advent Private Equity and Arun M Kumar, Chairman of the India Advisory Council & Chairman & CEO, KPMG India argues that infrastructure has long been a critical factor in the global policy agenda. Governments across the world are seeking to both fill gaps and maintain and modernize critical infrastructure as a way to support industry, generate jobs, and infuse money into the market in the midst of a turbulent economic period. Click here to download the thought paper.

Nishith Desai’s “India’s Services Sector: Charting a New Trajectory to Make India Self Reliant” underscores the value of manufacturing. He urges India’s government to re-emphasize the country’s services industry, which is world class and does not require massive investments in infrastructure. Desai, the founder and Chairman of the law firm Nishith Desai & Associates argues that digital services such as tele-medicine and drones can reduce required spending on infrastructure.  Click here to download the thought paper.

Each of these papers – as well as additional forthcoming pieces – provide directional insight into a rapidly changing business environment. With many of the changes identified in the paper likely to permanently reshape industries and global trade, we hope they will provide insights for business as they emerge from a crisis response-focused year and chart their paths in a post-COVID world.