Modi highlights toilets in India’s Independence Day speech

Economic growth

SHARE THIS STORY

Toilets Aug14The Indian Prime Minister’s address on Independence Day is the major event of the political year, equal to the US President’s ‘State of the Union’ speech.  It was particularly important this year as India has a new reforming prime minister in Narendra Modi.

It it is thus hugely significant that top of his agenda was opening up the country to foreign business, and the need for toilets, as the Financial Times reports:

I want to tell the world, ‘come, make in India’,” he said from the walls of the 17th-century Red Fort in Delhi in his first Independence Day speech.  “We have the skills, we have the strength, we have the people.”

Modi then focused on toilets, and confirmed that the government was targeting sanitation for all in 10 years:

I don’t know if people will appreciate my talking about dirt and toilets from the Red Fort.  But I come from a poor family.  I have seen poverty, and the attempt to give dignity to the poor starts from there”

The need is truly desperate, as the chart above shows from the World Health Organisation.  They suggest that 597 million people still defecate outside in India.  This vast number equals 10% of the world’s total population.  It is also 10 times more than 2nd-placed Indonesia, where 54m have no access to toilets.

The blog knows that most companies are currently not set up to focus on critical issues like this.  But that is no reason to ignore the potential.  There are not many $10bn markets where competition is currently non-existent, and where the technology and know-how required are available immediately.

Equally important is that the alternative of hoping for traditional growth markets to recover looks very much like wishful thinking:

  • The market for luxury goods in China is looking very weak with the anti-graft campaign in full gear.  And China was half of the global luxury market in 2013
  • The Eurozone economy is already weakening again, whilst the German Bundesbank is warning it will be hit by the increase in global tension in the Ukraine and elsewhere
  • US auto and housing markets face major question marks with the West having reached ‘peak car’ levels and US housing markets already slowing down

Of course, moving into this new market represents a challenge.  But it is also likely to be a stepping-stone to further, currently untapped markets focused on basic needs, as we described in Chapter 7 of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’.

As such, it will provide valuable learning experience for the future.  And it will also be a lot more satisfying than banging your head against a brick-wall, now the profitable markets of the SuperCycle have now gone ex-growth.

 

PREVIOUS POST

The Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus has begun

18/08/2014

Large economies are like supertankers.  There are no brakes to use if you want ...

Learn more
NEXT POST

US fracking demand creates price volatility for hydrochloric acid

20/08/2014

Fracking has completely changed the outlook for US natural gas supplies, as the ...

Learn more
More posts
A new recession era to emerge
22/03/2020

Contingency planning has become mission-critical. The longer the coronavirus pandemic continues, the...

Read
Chain’s smartphone and auto sales tumble as coronavirus hits demand
08/03/2020

China is the world’s largest market for smartphones and autos – responsible for c30% of ...

Read
China’s lockdown makes global debt crisis now almost certain
23/02/2020

Beijing has a population of 21.5 million, but you wouldn’t know it from this BBC video from la...

Read
Financial markets head for (another) train crash as coronavirus starts to impact
17/02/2020

China’s industrial heartland of Hubei (pop 59m) and its capital Wuhan (pop 11m) have now been ...

Read
Coronavirus disruptions make global recession almost certain
11/02/2020

Last month, our Hong Kong-based pH Report colleague, Daniël de Blocq van Scheltinga, warned of the ...

Read
Your A to Z Guide to the Brexit trade negotiations
02/02/2020

A. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty set out the rules for leaving the European Union. As with most ne...

Read
Contingency planning is essential in 2020 as “synchronised slowdown” continues
12/01/2020

The IMF has now confirmed that the world economy has moved into the synchronised slowdown that I for...

Read
Boris Johnson will have to disappoint someone in 2020 as the UK finally leaves the EU
15/12/2019

Finally, after three and a half years, the UK has reached “the end of the beginning” wit...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more