Jindal Global Business School organized the CEO Round Table on ‘Infrastructure Management Challenges and Opportunities’ on Tuesday 21 August at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The discussion session had senior industry leaders Mr. Vivek Gautam (Chief Operating Officer, Tata Projects Limited), Mr. Ravi Jonnalagadda (Executive Vice President, GMR Highways Limited), Mr. Ajai Gupta (Managing Director, JCL Infra Limited), Mr. Suryansh Jain (Director, Arvind Techno Engineers Private Limited), and Mr. Anshuman Sharma (Director, Project Planning, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) as panel members.
In his Inaugural Address, Professor Tapan K. Panda (Dean, Jindal Global Business School) spoke about the dynamic nature of the infrastructure sector in India and the growth opportunities it would throw up. Given the significance and future possibilities, a panel discussion involving thought leaders from the infrastructure domain was important for the students. While helping the young learners develop a perspective on the sector, he felt a platform such as this would also widen their understanding of career opportunities in public and private enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures.
As the first speaker, Mr Anshuman Sharma started the panel discussion by introducing the government’s perspective on infrastructure management. He shared that the coming years will witness huge investments in the sector, across both railways and roads, with the aim to expand the reach and upgrade the technology. While building infrastructure is a challenge, he said that managing infrastructure required much greater effort. This is because infrastructure management involved diverse aspects including financing, disbursals, government regulations, ageing, and network effect. He emphasized the sector would offer a range of opportunities for management graduates. As a senior leader in one of the biggest infra firms in India, Mr Vivek Gautam shared that the sector promises immense opportunities for tomorrow’s management professionals. But it would need people who can bring in new thinking and who are driven to achieve more. For instance, renewable energy has a lot of potential but would need innovative solutions. He advised the students to focus on acquiring knowledge during the first 10 years of their career.
Mr Ajai Gupta, in his talk, stressed on the need to address issues of corruption, cleanliness, and law and order associated with managing infrastructure if the country wants to realize its dream of having a world-class system. Urging the students to focus on gaining knowledge and not just information, he encouraged them to become leaders who inspire through action and not just words. In his speech laced with humour, Mr Ravi Jonnalagadda brought out what the huge opportunities in the infrastructure sector could mean for young graduates. He focussed on the importance of developing the qualities of ownership, humility, and teamwork in order to succeed in this sector. Presenting the evolution of the PPP model in India, Mr Suryansh Jain observed that post 2014 things have again started looking up for the infrastructure sector in the country. He pointed out that land acquisition, financing, and changes in geo-technical data are the most challenging areas in executing projects. But the welcome change, according to him, is the sense of urgency to finish projects on the part of the government and which bodes well for the sector.
Following the Q and A session, Professor Y.S.R. Murthy (Registrar, O. P. Jindal Global University) thanked all the panellists for their time and for sharing their opinions, viewpoints, and perspectives on so many aspects of the infrastructure sector in India.
The CEO Round Table on ‘Infrastructure Management Challenges and Opportunities’ addressed issues, topics, and themes that are important for the infrastructure sector in India. As we move forward into the current century, the challenges and opportunities will gain greater momentum for the sector to sustainably grow in a greener and cleaner world. The inspiration behind the CEO Round Table will encourage more such discussion sessions involving today’s top industry leaders for exchange of ideas and closer interaction with tomorrow’s managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.