22 Jan 2021 20:14 IST

Pandemic has advanced digital economy by a decade: Venu Srinivasan

Wealth creation has moved to IT, says Sundaram Clayton Chairman, delivering ICFAI 11th Foundation Day lecture

Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, Sundaram Clayton, is emphatic that while the pandemic has disrupted our lives on the one hand, on the other it has caused a quiet revolution, and has advanced the digital economy by a decade.

Addressing the 11th Foundation Day of the ICFAI Foundation of Higher Learning on Thursday, on the theme ‘Living in the World of Exponential Technology and Digitalisation’, Srinivasan said that this is the era of a digital revolution, where artificial intelligence is impacting all walks of life.




The changes in the environment have also changed the way wealth is being created. The wealth creation that was in manufacturing, petrochemicals, mass manufacturing, engineering and industry, has moved to digital networks, software and information technology. The innovation cycles have become shorter and innovations are reaching people at a much faster rate. He said that some of the good examples of technology-driven exponential growth are UPI, Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile, and Artificial Intelligence.

Exciting times for students

Addressing the students, Srinivasan said, "You are entering one of the most exciting times in the history of mankind. India is going to be one of the world’s largest and competitive economies, with a large young population. The opportunities are infinite. To take advantage of such opportunities you need to adapt to survive."

Srinivasan shared key lessons with the students and told them that they need to be adaptable and learn from the best. While having a vision for the future is important, very short sprints are necessary to move ahead in this rapidly changing world. "When you are building your career, move from horizon to horizon. There may be obstacles in the path towards your goal, you need to make a deviation. But never lose track of your long term vision and goal," he said.

At the same time having a strategic intent and compelling view of that intent for the future is important, he said. He emphasised that qualities like determination, tenacity, perseverance, perspiration coupled with hard work are the secrets of success. He asked the students to do what really motivates them and keeps them self-fulfilled. "You cannot achieve greatness unless you love what you do," he added.

Importance of sharing wealth

He then told the audience the importance of giving, and sharing wealth. With the rich getting richer, poor getting poorer and the middle class shrinking, wide disparities are causing a serious damage to the social fabric. We can achieve a equitable society with a strong social fabric by giving back, in one’s own self interest, he said.

He told the students that as youngsters they owed it to their country and to their parents, and it is necessary for them to maintain the Indian ethos of caring and sharing. He also asked the students to ensure healthy lives, through sustainable living, inclusion, dignity, and prosperity. Srinivasan paid tribute to the founder of ICFAI Institutions, NJ Yasaswy, and praised his vision in starting a movement in the education system in the county.

C Rangarajan, Chancellor of the University and Former Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, presided over the lecture. Agreeing with Srinivasan, Rangarajan said that while technology has been a major driving force in the economic growth, augmenting the availability of goods and services is an important objective of society. He said that we need to look at the social consequences of the technological revolution, and adapt technologies that are safe to the society.

J Mahender Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, in his welcome address highlighted how ICFAI has adopted technology to move the classes online quickly during the pandemic to ensure continuity of the academic calendar.