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A webinar was held on January 13, 2021 which looked at ways in which Bharat will be the acme of growth of the Indian economy after the pandemic clears up by exchange4mediageroup in collaboration with the Dainik Bhaskar group. 
The panellists, Mr Abhinav Iyer, Head of Marketing & Strategy, Muthoot Finance; Ms Divya Karani, CEO, Dentsu X India; Ms Kaacon Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar Group; Mr Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India; Mr Satyajit Sengupta, CCSMO - Sales & Marketing, Dainik Bhaskar Group; and Mr Shirish Agarwal, Head – Brand & Marketing Communications, Panasonic India, discussed how ‘Bharat’ is likely to steer the economic revival from the pandemic. The panel also examined ways in which tier-II and tier-III cities have emerged as drivers of growth. 
The topic of discussion was ‘Bharat: The Festive Momentum Continues’. The session was moderated by the Co-Founder of exchange4media Group, Mr Nawal Ahuja. The panellists shed light on the economic recovery the country is going to witness in the next few months and the impact of this growth on the media and marketing ecosystem.

“This new debate about non-metros playing a bigger role in economic contribution has always been the case with us considering that Indians make up 23% of the global gold demand. More than two-thirds of this demand is from the hinterlands.”

Abhinav Iyer
Head of Marketing & Strategy, Muthoot Finance

Mr Ahuja, in his opening remarks, recounted the state of affairs in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 when there was large-scale reverse migration to non-metros as people returned to their hometowns and the white-collar workforce continues to operate from these small towns as the work from home policy remains in force given that they can easily avoid paying rent for their accommodation in the metros. 
He said that a stringent lockdown in metros meant that the impact on economic activity was also severe. However, the impact on non-metros was not that severe. Newspaper circulation is back to pre-COVID levels in non-metros and the regions also lead the GST collection. 
According to Mr Ahuja, paucity of blue-collar jobs in the metros has forced the workforce to stay in their hometowns which in turn has driven consumption in Bharat. This was also aided by agriculture, which had a good run last year. In Bharat, a large number of people are employed by the government, because of which the issue of job loss was not as acute as it was in the metros. 
Mr Ahuja first posed a question at Mr Iyer on how his company has fared since the market opened up and lockdown restrictions were lifted. Mr Iyer said that Muthoot Finance had very little to complain about as the last nine months had been pretty buoyant for them. 
“Even the year before Covid was quite challenging for many sectors, but we saw a 51% growth in profitability and we grew from Rs 2100 crore to Rs 3200 crore in our PAT last financial year,” said Mr Iyer.

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