Below is an excerpt from the speech of Mr. Rajeev Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto Ltd on the theme ‘Building World Class Indian Brand’ at AIMA’s National Leadership Conclave.
Rajiv Bajaj at AIMA’s NLC
“I would in the context of today’s discussion tell you a little story about my own self. This is about when I was in college in Pune. I passed out in 1988 and I must tell you I was the most popular student in college and let me tell you the reason why because in 1988 if you wanted to buy a scooter, you had to wait for one and half year. So every professor and student was my friend and whenever they wanted a pair of wheels they had to come to me and make a request. That was the glorious period of “Hamara Bajaj”. I joined Bajaj in 1990 and the financial year 2000 was thankfully the first and last year when the company didn’t make any money making two wheelers. That is how dramatically my world changed from 1990 to the year 2000.The scooter went from having a waiting period to being in a situation where nobody wanted to buy it anymore.
Sachin Pilot, Minister of State(I/C) for Corporate Affairs
The topic given to me this morning is ‘Courage in uncertainty’. Well, I think we should have courage in the most certain times. I will just spend a couple of minutes talking about what’s happening generally and I am sure you heard other speakers yesterday and you will hear more this morning and this afternoon.
All of you know, exactly, where the art way in terms of our economy, where is India’s position, what needs to be done and I am sure you all are brimming the ideas on how best to fix the situation at hand. When I say ‘fixing it’, I say this with the sense of reality that today we are growing at between 4-5%, perhaps .5% +/-. But generally speaking, the last 18months have been a slower growth than expected. Again, the key word is ‘expected’. If the US economy grows at 1%, the base is so large that it’s a phenomenal growth for them. The European economies are struggling to get positive growth. However, when India grows at 8-8.5%, it’s expected to grow at 8-8.5%. The potential for the economy is perhaps more than that. Where does the word potential come from? It’s the expectations from the people of this country and the global community because we have the talent force; we have the engines, the capacities to absorb that kind of growth, the consumptive capacity, the productive capacity. So, when India grows at 4-5%, everybody, all the rating agencies, the World Bank, all the pink press, the entire world says it’s not good enough. Sure, not good enough. But what needs to be done to fix this growth of the GDP and the forward momentum, is what we have to take into account. The first thing we have done as a government from the last 6months or so, is to reduce the current account deficit. And I think the finance minister has done a great job in pulling back the current account deficit to the target that he set for us, as 4.8%. Also, I think, we have done a little bit better than the 4.8% target that we set out for ourselves. Continue reading