Strong anti-China sentiment a game changer for domestic industry: A M Naik, Chairman, L&T

Addressing L&T's 75th AGM, he stressed on the need to move beyond knee-jerk responses and draw up a long-term strategy with a time-bound plan for implementation. He added that it is time for government and industry to act in unison for national cause.
Strong anti-China sentiment a game changer for domestic industry: A M Naik, Chairman, L&T

The strong anti-China sentiment within India and around the world is a possible game changer for domestic industry, said A M Naik, Group Chairman, Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T), while addressing L&T's 75th AGM (Annual General Meeting) held yesterday (August 13, 2020). "To leverage these trends and harness them for productive purposes, we need to move beyond knee-jerk responses and draw up a long-term strategy with a time-bound plan for implementation," he said.

According to him, it is essential to create an enabling eco-system for growth and reforms are urgently needed in many sectors including land acquisition and labour. The financial system is also in urgent need of attention. In tandem, the administration would do well to streamline processes and accelerate the pace of decision making, said A M Naik.

He added, "I am addressing you all at a time when the government and the country are fighting challenges on multiple fronts. The government is battling a global pandemic while simultaneously trying to re-build and revive the economy. Further, India faces an unexpected challenge as the result of friction on our northern borders. As always, your company stands with the nation and its leadership in this hour of need."

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a rallying call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ which has resonated across the country. "Aatmanirbharta represents the logical next step to ‘Make in India’ for it encompasses the entire value chain of design, procurement, manufacture and delivery. This is an opportune moment for government and industry to act in unison and advance national interests. L&T has all along been championing self-reliance in the key sectors of defence, nuclear power, space research, power and infrastructure. With ‘technology for sustainable growth’ as the central theme of our endeavours, we reiterate our commitment to rise to the occasion and contribute to the national cause," Naik said. 

Speaking about Larsen & Toubro's larger responsibility to society and nation, he said, "Right from the onset of the pandemic, L&T adopted stringent measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its people and stakeholders. At the group level, L&T contributed Rs 150 crore for the PM CARES fund, including a Rs 19 crore contribution from our employees who responded spontaneously by donating their two day’s salary. Further, we have donated medical equipment including Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) worth Rs 40 crore to states across the country. We took it upon ourselves to ensure that the 1,60,000 contract workmen at our project sites received good care, by continuing to pay them their wages, provide food, shelter and medical assistance. This involved an outlay of approximately Rs 500 crores per month during the stringent lockdown period."

L&T's construction business has converted hospitals to COVID care centres at six locations around the country. "Our smart solutions helps civic authorities in different cities monitor crowds and alert authorities. Your company’s public-spirited initiatives have been appreciated by various state governments," said Naik.

During 2019-20, Larsen & Toubro Ltd crossed a milestone by completing the manufacture of the ITER cryostat. "This is a landmark accomplishment by your company’s engineers, who are flagbearers of Indian industry in the global quest for fusion energy," he said. 

Stating that the second half of FY 2020-21 will signal better economic activity, Naik said, "The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) project formulated by the Government is likely to lead to increased spends in critical areas, and L&T is poised to capitalise on these opportunities.

He added, "I am confident that if we as a nation remain united and resolve to set ourselves firmly on the path of growth, we will take a big step forward towards achieving our goals of self-reliance, strength and security."

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