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Tax cuts, cash dole will boost spending: Venu Srinivasan, TVS Group chairman

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(This story originally appeared in image on Sep 04, 2020)

NEW DELHI: TVS Group chairman Venu Srinivasan is known for making products riding high on quality. As the head of India‘s second-largest two-wheeler maker, the 67-year-old wants the government to increase public investment even as his business is on the recovery path.

How far has your business returned to normal?

I expect our business to come back to last year’s levels this month, including our components business. For the auto industry, except medium & heavy duty trucks, others will get to last year’s levels now.

What challenges has the new normal posed for the company?

Distancing. Hygiene. A small slip can result in a big impact. We have two teams, each working three days a week, and they don’t meet each other. This is to ensure continuity should there be a problem.

How are you dealing with your employees?

We keep 10% temp staff on standby to account for employees who may suddenly see themselves in a containment zone. Remuneration cost could be down as many have returned to their hometowns, but the challenge is to get people back. Some others want to return to office. We need to be flexible with WFH (work from home). It’s a huge bonus for women employees, especially with young children.

What are you doing to ensure work-life balance?

I am above 65. In our office people above 60 must be on WFH. I am getting used to this. If you had asked me in April-May, there would have been gripes about staying home.

Any learnings from the way business has been done during the pandemic?

It’s now clear that we live in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) world. Companies should be nimble, agile and resourceful. Earlier debt-equity of 2 was considered good, that fell to 1 and now, my take, would be 0.5%.

Should the government go for a bigger public investment programme to revive demand?

The government should increase public investment and ensure there is more money in the hands of the people, either by way of cash dole or tax cuts. As a country, we have not offered enough fiscal measures, when compared with others.

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