He said that the geopolitical situation in the world, from the time of the pandemic, the US-China trade war and now further accentuated by the Ukraine-Russia war, is creating a lot of disruption in the global supply chain which will give rise to an “India plus” opportunity.
“An India plus is going to happen in every industry,” he said. “I don’t want to say an alternative to China but an India plus. And the push will come. It will happen in materials, it is going to happen in chemicals, it is going to happen in electronics, semiconductors and batteries. And this is not only for India’s needs but for global needs. There is going to be an alternative play in everything.”
Chandrasekaran went on to speak about how the Tata group too is exploring these opportunities and is investing heavily in their manufacturing capabilities in these sectors.
“We are creating businesses for the future,” he said. “So we’re looking at 5G, complete network and 5G network stack. We already have a 4G and 5G we will announce this year. We’re looking at an end-to-end stack. We’re getting into precision manufacturing, semiconductors and getting into batteries.”
He added that the company was eyeing the Indian consumer ecosystem and has identified a set of businesses which play to the strengths of the Group and also builds for India.
“We’ll be launching it (the super app) soon,” he said. “Our idea is to bring together the power of Group. And also at the same time, it’ll be open architecture. I think you’re looking at a very good value proposition. But obviously, these kind of apps, you know, need to launch you need to get the response, get feedback, but I think I think we are pretty bullish about it.”
Chandrasekharan said the Tata Group was betting big on EVs in particular.
“We’re pretty aggressive on EVs,” he said. “We’re investing heavily. That’s why we’re getting into batteries and we’re putting the charging network across the nation. So we’re very positive… We will get into the manufacturing of EV batteries because it is concentrated in China and there’s going to be huge demand.”Further, Chandrasekaran said that while India has seen exponential growth and gas seen tremendous strides in the last 75 years in numerous aspects, he highlighted that there are issues with regard to several parameters that need to be addressed. He spoke of how the number of women who were employed has come down to 27% now from 30% in 2000. He also brought out how the healthcare, education and judicial system was extraordinarily overwhelmed and said that technology could step in and assist these sectors.
He said that the future belongs to technology as technology will solve the problems in all these three sectors. Speaking of India’s biggest problems being jobs and access, he said technology will play the critical role of an enabler and also address the issues of what he called the “missing middle.”
“India has people at the top-end and at the lower-end,” he explained. “We don’t have skilled people in between these two segments. Technology will solve the problem of the missing middle.”