“Mere policy reforms to incrementally affect the status quo will be meaningless to grab this opportunity. We will need disruptive policies, like the one which changed the future of India in 1991. The disruptive industrial policy that allowed India to compete with the rest of the world,“ he told member of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
He said reforms of 1991, when government shed many controls on businesses, had catapulted the $300 billion economy to $1.3 trillion in 20 years and increased the market significantly, but the coming decades had the potential for even more explosive growth.
“The Great Indian Story then veers to another set of facts and figures. It reflects our dismal physical infrastructure . Our miniscule per capita energy consumption. The non-existent distribution. And problems of last mile access," he said. He said India's per capita GDP of just over $1000 is lower than that of some neighbouring countries and a third of China’s and India was home to 40% of the world’s poor.
“The India story is unsustainable without discovering policies and practical means of including these millions in the mainstream of our progress,“ he said. He said the country needed "radical reforms" in the health sector. Improving the lot of the deprived people presented enormous business opportunities, he added.
“At a modest $1,000 dollars per year per person for higher education, India represents a 200 billion dollar demand by 2020," he said. “India can produce value-added food, medicinal plants, aromatic oils and biomaterials for the global markets. In the next ten years there is an opportunity to add $500 billion year on year in this sector,” he said.
Ambani said high global prices of farm products made agriculture an even more exciting prospect. “It is good that we didn't find the KG gas when oil was $20. It is better to find oil when oil is at $100,” Ambani added.