What’s giving Anand Mahindra sleepless nights? Fear of complacency! Yes, you read it right! At the 70th AGM of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, while giving a thumbs up to the government’s economic reforms drive, also cautioned that it is “too early to celebrate”. “The one fear that keeps me up at night is that once things look up, we will become complacent. And, as a result, we will always be hostage to the next round of failed monsoons,” he said in his speech. Stressing on the need for ‘monsoon-proofing’ the Indian economy, Mahindra said, “Even today, in the second decade of the twenty first century, we scan the skies each year as anxiously as our forefathers did, two centuries ago. Every failed monsoon takes us one step forward two steps back.”
Mahindra said, “To me, monsoon proofing our economy is crucial if we are to continue to move steadily forward. We are moving in that direction.” Acknowledging the government’s initiatives in this direction, Mahindra said, “The government has made irrigation and drought-proofing a priority. 2.85 million hectares will be brought under irrigation through the flagship Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana scheme in 2016-17. Rs 86,500 crore will be spent over the next five years on the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme.” However, he believed that the goal has to be even more ambitious than that. “We must aim for complete Swaraj from the volatility of the monsoons. Rainwater harvesting. Water conservation. More crop per drop. Maximisation of irrigation efficiency and water productivity. Eliminating water theft. It’s a battle that needs to be fought on many fronts because monsoon proofing ourselves is a vital foundation for the nation’s future growth,” Mahindra urged.
Mahindra is confident that India is turning the corner, even if things appear gridlocked in the rest of the world. “The government has been doing the right things and reforms have been proceeding in a measured fashion. Many important initiatives like financial inclusion and large scale irrigation plans are quietly but successfully being implemented and their effects are beginning to kick in. In 1991, a new liberalized India was born. I believe 2016 will propel India to reach its true potential. After the sweeping FDI reforms in June, the Rajya Sabha passed the landmark GST Bill last week, which I truly believe will unleash the ‘caged tiger’ – India’s huge common market – which for inexplicable reasons, we had kept divided,” he said.