January is a momentous month for India. The first month of the Gregorian Calendar is also the month when two of the most illustrious and acclaimed sons of Maa Bharati – Narendra Dutta aka Swami Vivekananda and Subhash Chandra Bose aka Netaji were born on January 12th and January 23rd respectively. We have been celebrating the birth anniversaries of these two lighthouses of Bharatiya civilisational consciousness for a very long time. However, this year is different. India, that is Bharat, is hosting and chairing the G20 Summit this year. Amongst various tracks, we are hosting two very interesting and relevant tracks – StartUp 20 and Business 20. These two tracks testify the rising significance of India as an economic powerhouse that will propel global economic growth.
Fastest growing economy
The World Bank estimates India is the fastest growing economy in 2023, with a forecasted GDP growth rate revised upwards from 6.5 per cent to 6.9 per cent. The World Bank estimates Indian economy to grow at a faster pace than its previous estimates, in a time when it has revised its global GDP growth to 1.7 per cent in 2023. This is a downward revision of 1.3 per cent from its earlier forecast of 3 per cent for 2023, which was done six months ago. In its report titled “Navigating the Storm”, the World Bank has stated that despite external challenges, the Indian economy is relatively well positioned to weather global spillovers compared to most other emerging markets. The World Bank also says that India is better positioned to navigate its economic growth amid global headwinds that could hamper growth globally and in many vulnerable economies.
While India remains the oasis of growth in a global sandstorm, we are seeing a thriving startup ecosystem. India has now become the 3rd biggest startup nation and 3rd biggest startup ecosystem in the world. Today, India has more than 84,400 such businesses operating across 656 districts in the country. In 2022, Indian startups attracted FDI of US$ 25 bn and we saw 21 unicorns emerge up in the country. This is a giant leap for the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem, which didn’t really exist in this kind of force and vigour a decade ago. As India continues to be the 3rd largest economy with highest economic growth amid crisis, it has unleashed its entrepreneurial talent and is propelling ahead with all cylinders fired.
Inspiration to think big
Hence the question that arises is where does India get inspiration to think big, plan big, do big, and be big? The source lies in the lessons taught by our guiding lights, the founding fathers of the Independent India and stars that rekindled the conscience of Indians in the turn of 20 century and continues to do that till today.
“Reality is, after all, too big for our frail understanding to fully comprehend. Nevertheless, we have to build our life on the theory which contains the maximum truth” — Subhash Chandra Bose
Netaji Bose, who was himself the biggest risk taker once said “Life loses half its interest if there is no struggle — if there are no risks to be taken”. This is what an entrepreneur lives on. His life is meaningless without risk. This is how entrepreneurs like Shri Dhirubhai Ambani – whose company Reliance Industries Ltd is India’s highest-ranked private sector firms in the Fortune Global 500 2022 list. Be it Dhirubhai’s idea of thinking big and planning ahead of times by setting up India’s first petrochemical plant and then petroleum refinery, to JRD Tata’s dream of bringing computers in India or Devang Mehta’s endeavour to make India the software development outsourcing capital of the world, or Narendra Patni’s vision of starting software development in India, they all have done only one thing that Netaji expected from Indians: “One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives”. Today, IT Services Sector is one of the biggest employment generating sector that has generated more than 5 million jobs and earned more than US$ 227 bn in FY2022. Their dream has changed the lives of not thousands but millions of lives.
The World Bank estimates India is the fastest growing economy in 2023, with a forecasted GDP growth rate revised upwards from 6.5 per cent to 6.9 per cent
Dream for Startups
Startups like Zomato, Oyo, Flipkart, etc have proved Swami Vivekananda correct by practicing what Swamiji said “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swamiji also has an advice for startup entrepreneurs chasing valuations instead of revenues and repeat orders from customers and new business coming due to recommendations and word of mouth publicity of existing customers. Swamiji said “The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.” Swamiji said what Bhagwan Krishna told in Bhagwat Geeta that we must focus on our karma and become unselfish and detach ourselves from results. Today, in the age and time when startup entrepreneurs are chasing valuations instead of business, this teaching of Swami Vivekananda will help them get the right direction and achieve success. As we continue to grow, let us remember what Swami Vivekananda advised us: “Arise, awake, and stop not until the goal is achieved.” Swamiji had confidence in abilities and endeavor of every Indian which can make India a Vishwaguru, and also the largest economy in the world.