Business Today

Cover story | December 27, 2009

A launch pad for the Indian multinational

Cross-border acquisitions is one way for Indian businesses to attain world size and scale. But let's also not underestimate the ability of domestic consumption to create scale and global class corporations, too. Suman Layak writes.

Bigger, fitter, stronger, courtesy piracy

If Bollywood were to script a movie about its life over the past two decades, it would essentially be the story of a baddie who torments everyone in the first half and then inadvertently ends up becoming their biggest benefactor. The baddie in this case would not be an Amrish Puri or a Prem Chopra but an intangible monster, Piracy, who torments Industry through the '90s, pushing it to the precipice and leaving it with no option but to fight back.

The risk revolution

A new generation of entrepreneurs is at work across India, but several parts of the ecosystem need to be put in place to ensure their success.

Village of 2020! Brought to you by NREGA

By the end of the next decade, NREGA, the mother of all employment programmes, can help rid the economy of its two biggest problems—unemployment and poverty. Here's why it can achieve the impossible.

Glimmers of hope

BT showcases five experiments that were flagged off in the past decade and have the potential to improve the quality of life of the masses — if they can scale up nationwide.

Hi-tech, yet affordable

Technology has invaded the healthcare sector like never before. Can insurance make it affordable for all?

Where's the teacher?

Private participation in primary and secondary education increased rapidly during the decade. But things can change on a large scale only if the sector manages to find the top talent it requires as good teachers.

IT morphs yet again

When fiscal 2000 ended, the Indian software industry's exports expanded 57 per cent to Rs 24,350 crore from the previous year.

More than China's leftovers

Manufacturing has taken some baby steps but needs to build on its DNA to make a defining impact.

Less secure, yet more confident

Consumer spending in India has surpassed records by a mile this decade. As a younger, more confident India hits its stride, watch out for that needle move really fast.

60 Years to $1 trillion, 10 Years to $3 trillion

The decade created unprecedented prosperity and the next decade will be even better. Government can influence just how much better it will be.

Welcome to the financial hypermart

Retail lending took off in the past decade. In the next 10 years, it will come of age.

From farm to firm to fork

As farmers graduate from mere cultivators to investors, it will change what they grow and what we eat.

The turning points

Though the decade began with a bug scare and ended with a scandal and a slowdown, positive events were plentiful through the first 10 years of 21st century. BT identifies 10 milestone events, and what they meant.

December 27, 2009


Quotes of the decade

"The pace of change in the knowledge arena will be killing: knowledge will constantly render itself obsolete. First-class corporate universities will dot the horizon. Competing companies will bunch together to set up knowledge networks. Collaborative consortium learning will be the name of the game"

Editor's Note

From the Editor: December 27, 2009

The evidence for this decade being India's best matters less than the reasons for it. Because while the first decade of 21st century has surely been India's best, the next is likely to be even better.


Best selling business books of the decade

A global downturn, job cuts, shrinking markets— and you haven't been reading? Whether you are a busy CEO or a trainee manager, here's a nutrient-rich spread of business classics. Here are top-selling business books of the five leading publishing houses, not listed in the order of sales.


Zero phone tariffs anyone?

Intense competition is pushing Indian mobile phone firms to scope scenarios where they don't charge for voice calls. Even if that doesn't play out exactly to script, broadband access is set to be the next big thing for the consumer and industry — and, the country.

Nifty in January 2020

A three-fold jump in the index in 10 years? That's a possibility.

How the bull came of age

Fuelled by a sustained burst of greenbacks from foreign portfolio investors, and a slow but steady increase in participation from retail investors, the stock markets have more than adequately captured the India growth story. There's no looking back now.

The solar opportunity

Can photovoltaic energy power India's industrial revolution?


After telecom, it's microfinance

In the long run, MFIs will probably resolve into two segments — the developmental MFIs and commercial MFIs.

Labour market: The next 10 yrs

The first decade of this millennium saw the acceleration of India’s four labour market transitions; farm to non-farm, rural to urban, unorganised to organised employment and subsistence self employment to decent wage employment.

Can we create an Indian Google, Cisco or Nokia?

For innovation to flourish, many attempts must be made, not by large companies, but by young talent.

An industry waiting to create many billionaires

Big real estate names are still reaping the rewards of bets made in the '80s. Lesson: Be long-term greedy.

Land of 800 million confident consumers by 2020

Rising power of private labels will lead to a striking shift of the balance of power first to the consumer, and then to the retail channel away from brands and marketers.

Focus on wealth creation, not just its distribution

Efficiency brought in by an open economy, top class entrepreneurs, high savings rate and young population will collectively deliver 8-9 per cent growth over the next decade.

Reaping India's urban dividend and how

Quality of service is directly linked to viability. Clean water, clean air, clean streets, etc., are services that are to be paid for.

Food security isn't the same as foodgrain security

The best way to devise a strategic policy agenda is to envision the future, and work backwards to ensure that the current policy mix is not only compatible with that futuristic vision but expedites converting that vision into reality.


God help employers!

A war for talent, gravity-defying salaries and skyrocketing training budgets marked India's job market in the first decade of the millennium. All these will intensify in the next.


Indian banks show the way

Indian banks escaped the bloodbath that savaged American and European banks in the wake of the global financial crisis.


Golfing ga ga

The 15th anniversary of BT Pro-Am of Champions draws an impressive CEO crowd in Bangalore.

Bankers' day out

The BT-KPMG Best Banks Awards ceremony captured the best efforts of Indian bankers in a challenging year.