The new Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) president Jyotsna Suri shared her views...
The new Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) president Jyotsna Suri shared her views with FE’s Arnab Dutta on issues ranging from the business environment in India, her confidence in the new government’s initiatives and her passion for the tourism industry. Excerpts:
How would you assess the present government?
I think six months is little too early to assess. We need to give them more time. However, the mood is buoyant, the sentiment is good. They have a number of good initiatives which will hopefully, in due course of time, start showing results.
Which are the key legislative Bills you are looking forward to?
The GST is a must and we expect the rate of taxation to be prudent. Undoubtedly, GST is going to be one of the biggest reforms that the country has witnessed so far. Apart from the Insurance Bill, the Land Acquisition Bill is also very important. The cycle of investment that prevails in India now is not very promising and we need to come out of it.
How do you see the industry’s mood at the moment?
The sentiment is good. In the past 3-4 years, efforts to improve the health of the economy was completely stalled. The interest rate and inflation were going upwards and this resulted in complete despondency. But the business confidence is back with the onset of this government.
Were you disappointed when the Reserve Bank did not cut rates recently?
We would definitely like to have the rate below 7%. But just like the rates did not go high in a day it would also not come down drastically. Under the current macroeconomic situation in the country, it (rate cut) should be around 1%. We are requesting the governor for a cut in the interest rate soon.
You have been working in the tourism industry for long now. What is the current situation in that sector in India?
The tourism sector is the second-largest foreign exchange earning sector for India after IT. However, it currently contributes around 6.6% of the gross domestic product. But if the resources can be fully utilised, it has the capacity to contribute up to 9%. The tourism sector has huge potential as India is a unique country to have all the natural resources to become a hot-spot for the tourists. While the issue of good connectivity needs to be addressed at the earliest, I am very hopeful that the tourism will grow substantially in the near future.