The power that differentiates India from the rest of the world is the entrepreneurial power that the country has at the grassroots, which is enormous, said Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries (RIL). In a conversation with Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft at the Future Decoded CEO Summit in Mumai, Ambani touched upon various topics including the transformational change digital information has driven into India.
Excerpts from the fireside chat:
Satya Nadella: So Mukesh I thought, perhaps, making the story. I know I have heard you speak very passionately about just India's potential, and especially since we were having a conversation about what can the next 10 years represent. You can share, like you've talked about like how Indian economy will grow and how digital will be a big part of it maybe share your thoughts on how you see, perhaps, this economy thrive in the next 10 years.
Mukesh Ambani: Absolutely. Before I answer that Satya. On behalf of all of us Welcome to India and Mumbai.
And I can tell you that I wanted to warmly congratulate you on your leadership and the transformation and the success of Microsoft over the last many years, and I think every Indian is very very proud. What I admire about and what I learned in terms of saying that if in your leadership style, what you have demonstrated that if you have the ability, if you rely on partnerships and build trusts and relationships. And if you think about every mistake as a learning opportunity. And if you believe that it's not products or profit. But really, people, and their continuous reinvention of capability. That's the strength of the organisation. I think all of us in India inc are inspired and thank you for all your leadership. Personally, I am very committed, and I'm very privileged Satya that you have committed to India, on a scale that I never anticipated that a multinational will, and we're very excited about the partnership that Jio and Microsoft will have. And I think that that will be as we look at this decade, will be a defining partnership. So, thank you for your commitment to India.
I think that as we are speaking, President Trump has arrived in Ahmedabad, and the, India, that he will see in 2020 is very different from the India that either President Carter saw or Clinton saw when he came in ..... or even Obama. Right. We are having millions of people in the street. Each one of them having their own personal experience with their phones, and the networks strong enough. And I think, like, I can easily say that the mobile networks in India now are better or at par with anybody else in the world. And that's the big change when you, when he reaches the stadium. We talked about stadium, the infrastructure in that stadium in terms of digital is better than any other place in the world. So that is India as we start in 2020. If you didn't even think about when your own journey and think about 1992 when you join Microsoft, India was $300 billion economy. Today, India is $3 trillion economy.
And fundamentally. This whole progress in a certain way has happened on the back of technology. In the early days, it was Rajesh’s TCS and Infosys. And all of them who drove technology in India. And that really kick-started with the financials, with all economic reforms kickstarted, this whole growth paradigm it was supercharged in 2014.
Pre-Jio the 256 kbps which we call broadband in India, and post-Jio, we now have 21 Mbps on mobile data as the average speed available in every single village in India. The pre-Jio price of data in this country was between 300 and 500 hundred rupees. And for the poorest of poor people who use 2G, the prices were as high as Rs 10,000.Post-Jio the price is between Rs 12 and Rs 14 a GB. And a lot of, like, what Jio has achieved in the last three years, is (38 crore people) 380 million customers have migrated to this 4g technology.
And that tells you the enthusiasm in the youth of India. The enthusiasm in consumption in India. And the enthusiasm, even in my mother who's 85 years old, and the amount of time, she spends. So, in your language, she has the greatest technical security. I think that's really what has happened so consumption has also gone up and this has really become a people's movement. And when you talk about the financial sector. We just introduced UPI, and with digitisation in December. We had 100 percent growth and total UPI transactions in this country, digital for two lakh crores. So what has happened is that, because we've got infrastructure. We are accelerating and we are just at the beginning of this whole journey.
And that's one of the things I was going to ask you because, in some sense, all of what you've done in laying out the network capability you talked about what that has led to this, in people being empowered consuming more using more.
And what I mean you have the best rates, and connectivity today. Now, you also have an ambition to say what can you do for small businesses medium businesses, large because you know even saying, Okay, how do we in fact our partnership in some senses about how you take what I talked about, combine it with your domain expertise your technology and completely change the landscape of broad sectoral change.
So let me again Satya start with saying that Reliance was founded as a startup, people before startups became like my father founded Reliance with a table and a chair and Rs 1,000 was five decades ago. It then became micro industry, small industry we do today, you can consider this as large. I have been again, very fortunate in terms of knowing, Steve and Bill from my Stanford days. So there's even before Microsoft was founded Steve was being recruited by Bill and I've seen the growth of Microsoft.
Since there must have been something in the air since both of you dropped out.
And you know why I'm saying this is fundamentally to just drive the point that every small business and entrepreneur, has the potential in India to become Dhirubhai Ambani or Bill Gates. And that is the power that is what differentiates India, from the rest of the world I think that the entrepreneurial power that we have at the grassroots is enormous. And what this decade will offer. If we even see the opening balance of small, medium and micro-enterprises. We have to realise that for India. They drive about 40 percent of India's export. And they are critical to all the economic activity that we see, they have had done this, again, with zero technical enablement and adoption.
You referenced how your father 5 decades ago got started with a dream and a hope of what is possible and created what is today one of the most amazing stories in business. When you now lead this organisation, look out – what drives you, what inspires you, what is it that you would like to see happen?
I think that the opportunity that we have for India, really, is the opportunity to become the premier digital society in the world. I think that all the components that are coming in place. As we grow and march forward, I have no doubt in my mind that we will become among the top three economies in the world. About 30 years ago, we were saying, okay, where will India be now I think that if you talk to anybody. There is no doubt in anybody's mind we can argue about whether it will happen in five years of 10 years but it's gonna happen, and we will be in the top three countries in the world. Will we be having all our development enabled by all the tools of technology? Can we really be a pacesetter in terms of using our technology?
And again what our prime minister says can we then use technology for businesses so that they have ease of doing business, but we then in partnership deliveries of living for every citizen of India, and been a society that is equal has ethics and really gives equal opportunity to empower everybody to find that potential.
I think, in the coming, two decades, is the opportunity that India has what next generations of India will see is a very different India than what you have grown up in, and I think all of us like should be working towards that our own partnership between God and Microsoft, right, we'll work with businesses from startups to micro enterprises to merchants and shopkeepers to really large enterprises in partnership, really, to drive an equals and business.
In fact, one thing that Akash was sort of really beyond me if I don't mention is even gaming. I think in the next decade, you may become a gamer.
That's difficult but, like, I think that will again Akash is very excited in terms of India, like gaming doesn't really exist in India, and with everything that we're doing in xCloud and broadband connectivity. Right. I think there is huge potential, and for some of us, like, who don't know what gaming is right it's very hard to imagine that gaming will be bigger than music, movies and TV shows all put together, but we've been seeing.
(Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd which publishes Firstpost)
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2020 07:02:43 IST