We at HSIL believe excellence is more than just a pursuit for businesses the economy and the society. It is a state of mind. Only when you believe in excellence will your actions reflect this emotion. Excellence however cannot survive or thrive in a vacuum. It needs a favourable macro environment and consistent meticulous nurturing. The overarching reality in India holds significant promise and I feel it is only befitting to say a few words here in this context before we focus on how HSIL is capitalising on the big opportunities.
India continues to be one of the world's fastest growing major economies; and is poised to touch US$ 5 trillion in five years and US$ 10 trillion in eight years (Source: Budget 2019). It is also one of the most diverse nations with many regional and cultural nuances. Our country is powered by a huge aspirational young population with growing disposable income and greater integration with the world thanks to the digital-first economy that it is building. This interesting confluence of robust economic growth a vibrant consumption landscape greater connectedness and key socio-economic reforms creates favourable opportunities for all future-focused businesses like ours.
Consumption expenditure contributes over 57% of the country's GDP which augurs well for businesses. For close to six decades we have grown by leveraging consumption growth in an economy which is becoming increasingly inclusive. The government has rolled out multiple measures to bolster the rural economy and also drive consumption in Tier II and Tier III cities. Some of these measures include `Ujjwala' scheme which provides free cooking gas connections to poor rural families the `National Rural Health Mission' (NRHM) that offers accessible affordable and quality healthcare to the rural population and `Housing for All' which provides affordable housing to the urban poor.
The World Bank and the Government of India have also signed a US$ 250 million agreement for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP). The NRETP is aimed at helping rural women across 13 states to develop viable enterprises for farm and non-farm products. Such measures with the objective of rural development will encourage the participation of people at the bottom of the social pyramid in the nation's consumption story.
India is now the world's fifth largest economy and has seen a major transformation in recent years. The most important among them is the successful rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in addition to the Make in India initiative the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). These reforms address some of the intrinsic challenges that the country was facing even five years ago. The reform measures and other initiatives by the Government of India and state governments have helped India improve its rank considerably from 100 to 77 in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business 2019 report. The ranking provides a useful input to influence investment decisions among global and domestic investors.
Over the years we have established a strong portfolio of brands across four of our business divisions. The excellence of our brands and the trust that they enjoy among our growing customer base give us the confidence to further expand the range of our offerings. We are also focusing on growing our new businesses to help them attain a certain scale in a short span of time.
The financial year 2018-19 was another satisfactory year for us. In the face of currency volatility crude oil fluctuations escalating competition pricing battles and difficult weather and market conditions we continued our tradition of providing sales and earnings growth. We are confident of even better performance as we have the talent pool brands products range distribution channels and processes in place to strengthen our leadership and delivery.
Our businesses delivered quality products at competitive prices expanded market presence and enhanced service standards. Our marketing efforts created significant brand awareness among customers. We continued to expand our pan-India network of trade partners and dealers to ensure we reach out to a larger consumer base. However that is not all that we are focusing on because we believe HSIL is an institution of excellence that can create enduring value by integrating business priorities with the larger sustainability agenda.
Sustainability is deeply embedded in our business model. We believe business outcomes should be achieved while minimising environmental and social impact. Therefore in the calendar year 2018 we commissioned two world-class green plants at Sangareddy Telangana. One facility is part of our Building Products Division - manufacturing quality plastic pipes and fittings and the other is part of our Packaging Products Division - manufacturing counterfeit-resistant security caps and closures. Both facilities have received a platinum rating by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). These plants are best-in-class in terms of energy water process and waste management efficiency. I am happy to share that both these plants expanded their operations during the year under review. A sustainable and growing business delivers excellence and remains future-ready every step of the way.
While we talk about `everyday excellence' and future-readiness we must recognise the dedication and hard work of our teams who make this progress possible for us. During FY 2018-19 we continued to map skill gaps and designed tailored training modules for our go-getters. We also developed policies and procedures to ensure that our business remains competitive both in terms of attracting and retaining talent. These policies also ensure that our business growth is effectively resourced across all facilities.
HSIL remained focused on strategies business performance and sustainability priorities and all these aspects are underpinned by our robust value system our customer centricity and an undeterred desire to collaborate and learn. As we advance our businesses and capabilities our business model brands and talent pool continue to be the foundation of our success.
Excellence in thought and action cannot leave the community behind because business is a subset of an empowered community. We have a rich legacy of supporting communities where our plants are based and have devised and rolled out programmes that bolster local economies promote health and wellness for citizens and drive better sanitation. We believe that in times of natural disasters we should assist in recovery efforts and therefore during the year we partnered with the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and donated 1000-bathroom sets to provide help and support to the flood victims of Kerala.
In step with the government's Skill India initiative we launched our Recognitions of Prior Learning (RPL) project two years ago recognising the gaps that exist between the demand and supply of skilled workforce. We have helped over 1500 plumbers to be trained upskilled and certified through a third-party agency so far.
We made great strides in solidifying our position in FY 2018-19 and we pledge to continue to sharpen our capabilities build agile brands and remain future-ready. Excellence is an inspiring marathon that takes us to new horizons of growth and opportunity and I am looking forward to all that we will accomplish in the coming years.
Thank you for your trust.
DR. RAJENDRA KUMAR SOMANY
Chairman and Managing Director