IRREVERSIBLE RISE OF INDIA – Mukesh Ambani Chairman and Managing Director Reliance Industries Limited 15th HINDUSTAN TIMES LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2017
New Delhi December 1, 2017
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,A very warm good afternoon,
Thank you, Shobhanaji, for making me a part of this iconic Summit again.
The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit is… about Hindustan’s Leadership in
Thirteen years ago, when I spoke here, India was a USD 500 billion economy. And I said in 2004 that India would be an USD 5 trillion economy in twenty years. Today that prediction seems certain.
Indeed, it will be achieved well before 2024.
Today, this summit is about India emerging as a pre-eminent Global Leader. Dear Friends,
I come from the world of business.
Any nation’s leadership role is determined, first and foremost, by its economic
Therefore, I want to talk about why India will become a global economic leader. Today India’s GDP is about USD 2.5 trillion, and ranks at No. 6 in the world. Can we triple it to USD 7 trillion in the next ten years and become the third
largest economy in the world?
Yes, we can.
Can we cross the USD 10 trillion mark by 2030, and close the gap between India and China, and India and USA?
Yes, we can.
Can India become the most prosperous nation in the world, overtaking both USA
and China, within this century?
Yes, most certainly we can.
We are seeing ─ and the entire world is seeing ─ a new and resurgent India. And I believe that the coming three decades will be the defining decades for
In 2047, India will celebrate the centenary of our Independence.
Around the same time, China will celebrate 100 years of the birth of the People’s
Republic of China.
Today the whole world is talking about China’s Rise and India’s Rise.
This is civilizational re-birth for both India and China. There is nothing surprising about it.
In the long history of mankind, India and China were the most prosperous nations before the 17th Century.
After a short interval of about 300 years of western domination, the centre of gravity of world economy is shifting back to India and China.
But, friends, today I wish to make a prediction.
By the middle of the 21st century, India’s Rise will be higher than China’s Rise.
And more attractive to the world.
Yes, India’s Rise will be higher than China’s Rise…and more attractive to the
India will provide a superior and different development model.
A model that will create equitable and inclusive growth based on technology, democracy, good governance and a society-wide culture of empathy.
Let me elaborate why I believe this is possible.
Energy and technology have been the key drivers of human progress.
No country has ever emerged as a global power, without embracing new technologies whole-heartedly…and without using new-generation energy sources widely.
The First Industrial Revolution used coal and steam power to mechanize physical activity.
It began towards the end of the 18th century in England and lasted for over a hundred years.
This shifted the economic power from China and India to Europe.
The Second Industrial Revolution used electricity and oil to mechanize and mobilize industrial processes for mass production and distribution.
It started towards the end of the 19th century and prevailed for roughly another hundred years.
And this shifted the center of economic power to the US from Europe.
The Third Industrial Revolution… that began roughly in the mid-1970s… used electronics and information technology to increase productivity, automation and greater customization.
The US was the key beneficiary of this… followed by Japan.
Among the developing nations, China benefited from this to emerge as the manufacturer for the world.
Each technological revolution completely rewrites the rules of the game and creates a new world order.
It creates opportunities for early adopters of that technology to leapfrog into positions of global leadership, power and influence.
Through the first two Industrial revolutions, India remained on the fringes. India started catching up in the computer-driven Third Industrial Revolution. Friends,
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now upon us.
The foundation of this revolution is connectivity, computing, data and artificial intelligence.
It is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds.
Human civilization will collectively achieve more in the next 30 years than what it has achieved in the last 300 years.
I think it is crucial for all Indians to fully understand, internalize and change their mindsets on THREE defining characteristics of this new age.
The FIRST defining characteristic… is that the world will go from linear to exponential.
In a linear world, if you take 30 steps… one, two, three, four, and so on… you will travel 30 meters…
But in an exponential world… you can go one, two, four, eight… and with 30 steps you can travel a BILLION meters… more than 2.5 times the distance to the moon.
Exponential technologies and processes start slowly…. but very quickly, they bring about dramatic changes.
Just think about it…
Mobile telephony, the Internet, eCommerce, Social networks, Virtual Assistants, Self Driven cars…
These were Science Fiction just a few years ago. Today they are Facts of Science.
Early adopters of each of these shifts will have the opportunity to leap-frog the competition, and create unprecedented societal value.
Those who do not, will be out-competed. They will become irrelevant.
The SECOND defining characteristic… is that we will go from scarcity to abundance.
For most of our history, humanity has progressed by extending our mastery over nature, and by marshalling natural resources.
But, in the digital age…when you put the power of data connectivity, computing, software, information and intelligence together, the price/ performance of everything changes drastically.
Combined with the rapid strides we are making in renewable energy, life- sciences, robotics, 3D printing and machine-intelligence…what we are looking at is the future possibility of abundance in the true sense of the word…
Abundant energy… Abundant health…
Abundant knowledge… Abundant agricultural output… Abundant manufacturing capacity… Abundant renewable materials…
And unlike the past, this abundance will not be for just a privileged few – but for all.
I believe that we are at the doorsteps of creating ubiquitous availability and affordability in each of these areas, for every human being on earth.
The THIRD defining characteristic… is that we will see a migration from a goods and services economy to one powered by intelligent services.
Today, with state-of-the-art digital techniques, it is already possible to monitor billions of data points from smartphones and other connected devices in real- time, all the time.
This information is continuously analyzed by machines, and a service can be provided automatically… not just in response… but even IN ANTICIPATION of a customer’s needs.
There is no doubt that in the coming years, machine intelligence will augment and multiply biological intelligence manifold.
This means that truly predictive and targeted services… intelligent services… will
be delivered 24 x 7 creating unparalleled user value, delight and loyalty.
I believe that intelligent services are the next frontier of competitive differentiation and market leadership across industries.
We are in the age of super-intelligence.
What manufacturing was for China, super-intelligence will be for India.
We have the opportunity to not only rapidly grow our own economy, but also to be the provider of intelligent services to the rest of the world.
In this hyper connected world, this will mean that a talented craftsman even in the remotest Indian village can participate in the global marketplace.
Technology is a great leveler.
It provides equal access to all without prejudice or judgment, benefiting only those who are best prepared.
It’s my firm conviction that India can not only participate in the 4th Industrial
Revolution, but has the opportunity to be a leader.
And I have THREE reasons for this conviction…
ONE…India is a very young nation with 63% of its population under the age of 35 years.
And our youth adapt to technology easily. They have the talent.
They have the ideas.
They have the entrepreneurial energy.
They have the courage to dream big, and the ability to realise their dreams.
I have no doubt that they will make India the Number One Start-up nation in the world.
TWO…India’s historical lack of infrastructure is actually a boon in disguise. Not having any legacy technology base means… we can skip multiple
generations of technologies… and directly embrace the next generation.
THREE…most importantly…We have the political vision, leadership,
determination and ability to make India a technology leader.
Our Prime Minister’s Digital India vision has created an alignment amongst all political parties in this mission of making India a technology leader.
Each and every one of our 29 states has embraced this vision. Friends,
Collectively, these three factors have perfectly positioned India to be a leader in this new age.
We can see early signs of successes around us. Take Aadhar as an example.
With nearly 1.2 billion enrolled members, Aadhar is the world’s largest, and the most sophisticated, biometric ID system.
India has created this infrastructure from scratch within a decade.
In this area, India is now a clear leader, and Aadhar is now decades ahead of even advanced economies.
Or take the example of the Indian Space Research Organization – ISRO.
In February of this year, ISRO created a world record by launching not one… not two… not three… but 104 satellites with a single rocket.
And this mission carried not just Indian satellites, but also from six other countries.
India also became just the fourth country to reach Mars, and the first country to do so in its first attempt.
More significantly, India did it using local technology and at a cost that is a fraction of global benchmarks.
Or take the example of mobile broadband adoption.
Just one year back, India was ranked 150th in the world for mobile broadband. Now it is number 1, after the launch of Jio.
Today, Indians consume more mobile broadband data than users in USA and
If Data is Destiny, New India is well and truly ready for its new Tryst with Destiny. In the coming years, we will see many such success stories from India.
We now have the opportunity to digitally reinvent all sectors of our economy… whether it is financial services, commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, education and healthcare.
India can leapfrog the world in each of these sectors.
Let me focus on three important sectors ─ agriculture, education and healthcare.
First, I have chosen agriculture because we cannot ignore the reality of poverty and underdevelopment in rural India.
Over 60 % of Indians still live in villages.
And by 2050, will have close to 300 million more Indians to feed.
Today, average farm yields in India are just about 20-30 % of the best global yields.
There is both a pressing need, and a golden opportunity, to create a digital green revolution….an evergreen revolution.
Digital green revolution means:
1. Digitally enabled mechanical services to benefit all farmers irrespective of their landholdings
2. Digitally enabled fertilisers/ pesticides to rejuvenate soil
3. Digitally enabled ‘seed to crop’ processes to get the best yields and
double and treble every farmer’s income
4. Digitally enabled water management to achieve more crop per drop
5.Digitally enabled supply Chain from the kisan to the consumer with full traceability, to ensure quality at every stage and remove wastage at every stage.
In short, Data is not only the New Oil. Data can also be the New Soil.
The second big digital opportunity is in education.
India’s population is our biggest asset.
But we need good quality education for all to make them a productive asset. This goal is difficult to achieve with conventional infrastructure and traditional
We need digital tools and innovations to break geographical, social, language and economic barriers.
58,000 colleges, over 700 universities and 19 lakh schools in India will be digitally connected, with Jio playing a leadership role.
A student anywhere, even in a remote village, can have access to the best teachers and the latest knowledge in the world.
AI-based smart assistants can bring personalised learning adapted to the needs of each student.
And which can in fact overcome the gaps and constraints of classroom education
like any age, any time and any subject learning in any language.
Now it is both possible and necessary to reorient education for the new kinds of productive and creative employment that will replace large number of existing mechanical jobs.
This will help in quickly imparting and upgrading new employable skills to millions of our youth.
Within a single generation, we can empower and enrich our vast and young human resources to give India a competitive edge in the world.
Healthcare is a basic human right of every Indian.
However, India cannot emulate any foreign model to ensure this right. Constraints of budget, physical infrastructure and trained personnel make it difficult to deliver quality healthcare to India’s large and growing population.
India can overcome these constraints only by adopting digital tools and innovations.
As in education, the best doctors and best diagnostic facilities can become accessible to all citizens anywhere in the country.
Shared medical devices and predictive healthcare will be able to save lives in the remotest corners of our country.
Fewer doctors and scarce facilities will serve far many more patients across the nation.
India can thus design a path-breaking and affordable healthcare system that will be a model for the rest of the world.
When new technologies touch and transform the lives of all Indians, India’s Rise
Reliance is a proud participant in India’s Rise.
And privileged to serve this New India.
I have been fortunate to participate in building global-scale Reliance businesses in energy, information and digital services.
As energy and information converge in future, Reliance will contribute even more significantly to India’s Rise.
Five years ago, when most Indian businesses were investing outside India, we decided to invest about USD 60 billion in India.
We have nearly completed this investment cycle.
We are now ready to commit even more in our next investment cycle.
We are doing this out of our undiminished conviction that India is the biggest investment opportunity in the world.
Therefore, to foreign investors, I have a simple message:
Be a part of India’s Rise.
Invest in India. Earn in India. Grow in India.
Partner with India and Prosper together with India.
As I mentioned earlier, in 30 years, India will celebrate the centenary of her
In these 30 years, we can… and must… aspire to grow from a 2.5 Trillion economy today… to become the most prosperous nation in the world in the 21st Century.
I will safely predict that, from now on, every new generation of Indians will live a better life than the previous generation.
As the internet becomes accessible to all Indians, I believe we will be among the first to graduate to the Internet of Everything.
The Internet of Communication, Content and Commerce…
But I believe that we have only scratched the surface. In the coming years, I can imagine…
An Internet of Intelligence… that powers next-generation smart services.
An Internet of Energy… with smart sensors, smart grids and distributed generation that lays the foundation for our nation’s energy security.
An Internet of Trust… that creates the framework for distributed transactions and contracts without intermediaries.
An Internet of Empathy – that harmonizes value creation with life-sustaining human and ethical values.
I believe that India is well positioned to combine its demographic, technological, entrepreneurial and civilizational strengths to seize this opportunity….and create a bright and prosperous future for our nation.
As a nation we must rise to this occasion. The climb is difficult.
The challenges are many.
And the goal cannot be achieved by any one person or enterprise.
All of us – 1.3 billion Indians will have to work together with a single purpose to realize this.
We must have a partnership of all sections of society to realize this in the fastest possible time.
Collectively, let us commit ourselves today to work together to make India’s Rise
And make it Irreversible. And make it Unstoppable.
And may God bless us as we embark on this most exciting new era in India’s
In many ways, we are pilgrims of progress. Thank you.