Anand Mahindra can’t wait to come back from the US as all the action is taking place in India with a new stable government headed by Narendra Modi. Hours after chairing a Mahindra & Mahindra board meeting at midnight US time, the company’s chairman and MD spoke at length with Satish John from Boston on Saturday about his hopes and aspirations for the country. The new government is off to a good start and much more is expected, he said. fragments:

On the Modi government’s 10-point agenda.

I think it’s almost brilliant to put at the top of the list that bureaucrats should be encouraged to make decisions without fear. In a way, he has gone to the heart of the paralysis problem. The Indian government is extremely large and it is hard to believe that one leader can make all the changes. This is a federal system. In a large bureaucracy, you cannot transform any situation without co-opting bureaucracy.

Empowerment therefore becomes important. It’s a good sign. If you remember, one of the biggest concerns about Modi was an autocratic style of functioning. By putting the empowerment of the bureaucracy at the top of the agenda, I think one has to appreciate and admit that it is certainly not the act of an autocrat.

About dissolving ministerial groups.

Without going too far, he’s been a case study for business schools on how to exercise leadership and make an impact in the new job from day one. He sets a clear agenda and clearly promises to measure the progress made against that clear agenda. For example, creating a 100-day calendar reveals what the matrix would be to measure the success of that calendar. It is important that some incremental progress is made every day towards that agenda and that progress is communicated transparently. He has his team ready, which is a focused team. For me, every decision does not have to be a major reform, but a signal of proactive decision-making and the elimination of bureaucracy and bureaucracy. And a promise of even faster decision-making in the future.

On the immediate priorities of the government.

In the 1980s I had written a column with the headline ‘Roads to Nowhere’. At that time, we weren’t building enough roads. (Below) America’s competitive advantages happen to be its highways and transportation network. They are like blood vessels for the economy and they create employment. Therefore, in a funny sense, ironically the best thing anyone can do to create an inclusive economy is to build roads, because access to markets or lack of access to markets is one of the most discriminatory things one can do. to the poor, especially to the rural poor. It’s not something we automatically think of, but roads are a mechanism to create inclusiveness in the economy. So, I think the faster he does that, the better for the economy. There is huge economic data showing that roads provide a greater boost to rural income than even irrigation. It will give families a double income and will allow for a kind of diversity of dependence on agriculture, which creates productivity.

About India-American ties.

I’ve been here (in the US) for a while now. The Indian elections have aroused enormous interest. Most diplomatic and political pundits are now urging leaders in Washington not to miss what they believe is a diplomatic opportunity for the US to achieve and rebuild a very strong relationship with India. They believe that the US has lost ground because of the visa controversy and that they now need to rediscover the ground and build a strong relationship.

There is a sense that both Japan and China have both stolen a march to build this kind of relationship with India. In my opinion, the decision makers here will make a lot of effort to reach out to the Prime Minister and his colleagues to rebuild the relationship.

On the perception that the new government will tilt more to the east – Japan, China, South Korea.

Significant interest has been shown by Japan. It is a country with a liquidity deficit and an investment surplus. Modi is well aware of this. The reason Japanese investors are hesitant is because they didn’t notice any of the promises we made to gain traction.

In the field of construction and large industrial projects, they can take the pole position here in large projects. That said, everyone has been speculating what the position of the Prime Minister and Cabinet would be and the Prime Minister is his own man. My position is that our Prime Minister is a practical man and he knows that any form of vindictiveness plays no part in foreign policy.

I think his whole purpose is to improve India’s economic health and by winning what should be India’s rightful role in the world. The fact that we are the world’s largest democracy and we are all aware that power and a role in global affairs for a nation comes from economic strength. I think he will respond positively in his own way and at the right time if the right signals are sent from the US government.

On Foreign Direct Investment in Defense

We have been consistent from the moment we entered into joint ventures with foreign companies. We have not changed our position. From the outset, we have made it clear to the government that allowing investments of at least 49% through the automatic route is a positive step. Because it encourages the foreign partner to deploy the technology in the JV. Otherwise, they are reluctant to support the joint venture 100%. So if you really want the best technology to be produced here then (it should be) a minimum 49% stake, which we’ve always advocated.

About Mahindra’s investment plans.

We have never shied away from investment. Even during downcycles, we never stopped investing. We invested in the car factory in Chakan when the economy was disappointing; we also invested in the tractor factory in Zaheerabad when the tractor market witnessed a downcycle. When the tractor market improved, we were able to ramp up our production. We always have a long-term view of the economy. We have invested consistently. In defense for example, if the government starts purchasing again for the much-needed upgrade, we will certainly make the investments. Pawan (Goenka) has officially stated that we are considering an investment of Rs 4,000 crore which is independent of the new developments. It was something we were going to do.

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