Updated on: Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 07:23 AM IST

Unlocking year 2022: Looking forward to what lies ahead for India and the world

The year 2022 will be a year of multiple pivots: Economic, environmental, political, social, and personal. Many surprises await an already confused world. Let’s get prepared for the exhilarating ride!

Economic pivot

The Union Budget will redirect resources to education and health. Focus will shift to rural areas in these interventions as vaccinations at scale, hospitalisations and the enhancement of innate immunity take centre stage. The enablement of every child to receive digital education through an available device will become a priority for the Central and State Governments. The NGO efforts in this direction will also scale to unprecedented levels. Plans are already afoot to encourage Giving at scale as the community will realise that no one can be left behind.

Resources will be garnered from voluntary tax compliance, strict sanctions for evasion, corporatisation and selective disinvestment, information leverage and sharing, digitalisation, and smart arrears collection as litigation is resolved at speed. Encouragement for private investment and a commitment to State Capital investment at a much larger scale will be visible. Global investment will be encouraged and ease of doing business will be improved.

Three thrust areas will be: Energy transition, EV vehicles, and circular economy constructs.

Environmental pivot

Focus will be on better management of extreme climate events like fires, floods, cyclones, super melts, heat waves, and cold waves. The impact of decarbonisation at scale will get much better measured and the world will get acutely aware of the dangers of overheating the planet. We expect a sincere strategic effort to build carbon footprint reduction into all plans at country, corporate, and individual levels. The consciousness about responsible consumption will rise and we will see many corporates pivoting to this notion in public statements and tangible actions.

Digitalisation will continue at a furious pace to deliver visible and reportable results. Frameworks and standards will emerge at a rapid pace and adoption will gallop as many cleantech and consulting firms get their act together. This will be year of massive innovation and gearing up to getting rated on ESG criteria!

Thrust areas will be: rapid adoption of ESG pathways, rush for enhancing ratings, and serious investments in cleantech

Political pivots

Election results in 2022 will throw up many surprises. Our prediction is that majorities will get established allowing for strong opposition to coexist. Leadership of a bold and energetic character will emerge as the biggest surprise. Candidate selection will be informed by data transparency and analytics, which are gaining great relevance. A power shift will arise as transparency and e-Governance get established at scale.

The example set by UAE will be sought to be replicated rapidly as the citizen benefits become apparent. India will have a fresh health and education stack as investments in these areas get to scale up. Land record digitisation will take off in India. Accountability will be demanded at an increasing rate which will transform citizen centered reporting. Agencies to track outcomes will be active like never before. Comparative performance analytics will rule the roost.

Thrust areas will be: E-governance, outcome analytics, and thin, accountable majorities.

Social pivots

Collaboration will increase suddenly and dramatically as the community realises that unless we feel we are all in this together, the super human changes we need will not happen. The human race has to plot together to get out of the Anthropocene age and pivot to a carbon footprint free, water positive, methane footprint free era of clean manufacture and responsible consumption. This will require a true sensitivity to diversity, inclusion and equity issues with deep respect for human rights. Also, the shareholder value enhancement objective will give way to harmonising the interests of all stakeholders, leading to genuine purposeful governance.

As interconnectedness is experienced at a deeper level, the very definition of appropriate democratic governance will change. We will learn to deeply respect safety, a culture of respect for all humans without any power games or discrimination and ensure that a profoundly new culture emerges in the work place. As jobs give way to decent, entrepreneurial work, cooperation and consideration for the entire value chain will emerge. Monumental change in mindsets and behaviour will happen with the social pivots that will begin next year. The background has been created: change will follow.

Thrust areas: Cohesion, mindset change, and altered culture of respect and gratitude.

Personal pivots

As individuals, we will realise the need for self-discipline and a conservative approach to saving. The pandemic has given us the warning that change is likely to be sudden, dramatic and that consequences are unpredictable. Self-help, by way of masking, distancing, hygiene, tele medicine, diagnostics, continuous monitoring, enhancing innate immunity, far better eating and sleeping habits and a regular yoga or other regimen will emerge at scale. We will see and experience a larger emphasis on fitness, sports and entertainment of a healthy variety.

The large changes that an entrepreneurial set of activities demand will drive new habits and cultural interfaces. The institutions we are familiar with will take on fresh and subtle form changes and will transform. Particularly massive change will emerge in Global institutions like the UN, WHO, WTO and others.

Thrust areas: Focus on habit and behaviour change, wearables and experimentation with new technologies.

We see exponential technologies converging at a never before pace. As information, nano and bio technologies merge and interact, the first glimpses of a new singularity will become visible. Those that embrace these changes will pivot and brace for the changed direction. Relearning, unlearning and transformation will be essential to cope. The more aggressive change agents will win. Inevitably, there will be a large upheaval that may leave some behind. Our collective effort should be to build the new era together, leaving no one behind.

(The writer is a corporate leader based in Mumbai. He is a chartered and cost accountant and writes regularly on the Indian economy and public policy)

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Published on: Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 07:23 AM IST