EXCLUSIVE: Indian Harvard Professor Gita Gopinath says Americans are talking about Flipkart and Ola

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At a time when startups are mushrooming in India, a few desi companies have already gone far ahead in the race. Flipkart and Ola are making news in the US owing to the competition they pose to their US counterparts Amazon and Uber.

While speaking to Business Insider at the World Economic Forum recently, Gita Gopinath who is permanent faculty at Harvard University's Economics department, said – “I see an upward trend in the Indian Economy with higher FDI coming in, especially in new businesses. Companies like Flipkart and Ola are talked about in the U.S. and for all the right reasons.”

Gopinath is the third woman to have become a permanent professor at the prestigious Harvard University’s Economic Department. The post also makes her the first Indian after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to receive such an honour.

While reacting to the Indian Startup ecosystem, she further added – “Companies like Flipkart and Ola might be termed as ‘copycat companies’ born out of ideas that have worked abroad but they are being commended for giving a stiff competition to their U.S. counterparts namely Amazon and Uber.”

Gita stressed on the need for domestic investment to further push the Indian economy on a progressive path. "We need to realise that entrepreneurship is not necessarily increasing employment. The concrete economic reforms such as GST tax, biometrics for payments, fiscal federalism, Unique Identification Number ie. Aadhaar are transforming the country’s economy. While it is encouraging to see FDI increasing, the real change will come with domestic private investment increasing in the country."

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This woman of strength also called for increased women participation in the workforce while identifying the challenges they have to face.

She concluded by saying - "The awareness has increased about the need to increase women participation in the workplace, but there are no amenities to assure that. Women need to feel safe when they go to work and this disparity is growing in urban and rural areas. Women need to be given the same opportunities in every sector, and there’s a long way to go."

Picture credits: World Economic Forum

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