India has been the fastest growing economy in the last decade and is expected to become the world’s 3rd largest economy by 2027, surpassing Japan and Germany, Nitin Paranjpe, chairman of Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the country’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) major said in his speech at the company’s 90th annual general meeting. He added that the country is steadily emerging from the shadows of being a ‘poor nation’.
Paranjpe said that against the challenging global backdrop, India appears to be a silver lining.
He said there are five factors that will help India in its growth journey which include a young workforce, rising consumption, enviable digital infrastructure, quest to become a favoured investment destination and a growing culture of innovation and enterprise.
The challenges that also stand in front of the country include boosting employment and employability, agriculture and allied sectors, participation of women in the workforce, creating a healthy society, and ensuring sustainable growth.
While talking about agriculture and allied sectors he said that currently, nearly 60 per cent of the country’s population is agriculture dependent, but it contributes to about one-fifth of GDP. “On the one hand, there is a need to increase agricultural productivity and on the other, we need to move people out of agriculture dependent livelihoods,” Paranjpe said.
He added, “Also, the future of jobs in agriculture and allied sectors will need to be created across the value chain from farm to fork.”
While talking about the capacity to adapt and lead change, Paranjpe said that the deployment of 5G and increasing smartphone penetration in the country, can provide a major tailwind to businesses such as its own business. Adding that the company is already on a journey to become an intelligent enterprise.
“Through our People Data Centre, combined with social listening, we are capturing insights and consumer trends faster than ever before, enabling us to develop solutions in line with the evolving needs of Indians. Our ‘Agile Innovation Hub’, a physical zone developed for collaboration and innovation, is helping us speed up product design, development, and testing, in order to launch innovations faster,” Paranjpe said.
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Also the company’s direct-to-consumer platforms are directly engaging with digital-native consumers which enable an end-to-end shopping experience.
While answering shareholders questions, Paranjpe said, “This company (HUL) has produced over Rs 900 crores of incremental turnover coming from products which did not exist, completely new offerings, brought into the market in the last two years.” He added that many brands are new and are 'digital only' brands and some of them are catering to new spaces particularly in beauty.