Corporates, laureates hail political leadership


When a top CEO like Peter Huntsman from Huntsman Corporation comments that “At a time when courage is lacking, we find it in India. At a time when leadership seems to be at a low, we find it in Modi”, it’s time to give full marks to our Prime Minister, Narendra Damodardas Modi. And when another CEO, David Farr(chairman and CEO), Emerson Electric Company, adds “It’s my hope that Make in India, Digital India and Skill India will begin to make steady progress for future growth,” we can only conclude that our country is moving in the right direction.

The occasion was the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar where more than 50 global CEOs had in-camera discussion session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley and Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani on the theme of “Transforming India”. Some of international CEOs present at the session included Boeing International President Bertrand Marc Allen, President of Emerson Electric Company Edward L Monser, Trafigura Beheer BV Mr Jeremy Weir, Chairman and CEO of Electricite de France S.A. Jean-Bernard Levy, Suzuki Motor Corporation President Toshihiro Suzuki, and Executive Chairman of CISCO John Chambers among others. CEOs from India included Mukesh Ambani, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Anil Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Gautam Adani, Dilip Shanghvi, Adi Godrej and Ajay Piramal among others.

The fact is that India’s growth story over the last few years has been incredible with several indicators including a healthy GDP growth rate, ease of doing business, manufacturing environment, FDI growth, financial inclusion and a flourishing start-up ecosystem witnessing encouraging developments. However for India’s true potential to be realized, these transformational trends need to be evenly spread across country’s diverse demographic and geographic landscape. The government’s Digital India initiative, complemented with collaborative private participation may catalyze India’s transition into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy which will impact industries, enterprises and individuals, making way for futuristic technologies that will lead to never-before-seen transformation at professional and personal levels. There’s no better time than now to do business in India.

It was not only the presence of global CEOs but a session with nine Nobel Laureates at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar that lends credence to India’s global positioning getting noticed. The Nobel Dialogue was organized under the tripartite MoU signed by Nobel Media AB (Sweden); the Government of India (Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology); and the Government of Gujarat (Department of Science & Technology Department). Apart from the Nobel Laureates, the Dialogue was also attended by eminent scientists, dignitaries from the state and central governments, industry leaders and students. The Nobel Laureates included Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the Indian origin winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009; Dr William E. Moerner (Chemistry, 2014), Dr. Ada Yonath, (Chemistry, 2009) and Dr. Randy Schekman, (Medicine, 2013). Other Nobel Laureates who participated in the sessions were Dr. Richard J Roberts (Medicine, 1993), Dr. Harold Varmus (Medicine, 1989), the 2004 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics Dr. David J Gross — also a member of the Indian Academy of Science; 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics Dr. Serge Haroche; and Prof. Dr. H.C. Hartmut Michel who received the 1988 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Significantly, the Nobel Dialogue was the first time multiple Nobel laureates spoke under the same roof.

Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was of the view that Indian biomedical researchers have a great opportunity to research on India-specific issues. Dr. David Gross opined that curiosity-driven research works better in the long run as nature is cleverer than human beings. Dr. Richard Roberts urged India to take advantage of genetically modified (GM) crops as it will help to raise incomes of lakhs of farmers and help combat hunger. Citing the successful adoption of BT Cotton in India, he stressed on the need for a grassroots campaign to build awareness about GM crops in India. Dr. Randy Schekman felt that there is a strong need to encourage research by enabling access and exposure to scientific laboratories at undergraduate level itself. He also spoke about the need for India to integrate research centres with university education.

More than 6,000 delegates from 30 countries gathered at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 in Bengaluru and reviewed ways to make India a better place for one and all

It was not only the global CEO and Noble laureates meet that was the highlight as the new year began, the Indian diaspora at the 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya diwas with participation of more than 6,000 delegates from 30 countries at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 in Bengaluru from January 7 to 9 showed how world is looking towards India with great expectations. Fourteen States, including Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh participated besides foreign dignitaries including Surinamese Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin, Portuguese Prime Minister AntAnio Costa and chief ministers from seven States.

The top five quotes from Prime Minister’s address at the meet included: “Remittance of close to sixty nine billion dollars annually by overseas Indians makes an invaluable contribution to Indian economy”, “We want to turn brain-drain into brain-gain”, “I would again encourage all PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) Card holders to convert their Cards to OCI (Overseas Indian Citizens) Cards, “External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has particularly been proactive in reaching out to distressed Indians abroad using social media”, “For me FDI has two definitions. One is ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ and the other is ‘First Develop India’”.

CII partners Haryana

Not to be left behind, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) pitched in as national partners to the government of Haryana to host two-day celebrations of Pravasi Haryana Divas at Gurugram. This resulted in Haryana Government signing 24 MoUs worth 20,000 with potential to generate employment for 43,000. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union ministers attended the event to not only to honour the great enterprise of people from the State who have made a mark for themselves all over the world, but also to offer an opportunity to the non-resident Haryanvis to see how well their home state has changed on way of rapid industrial development. The occasion was special for 19 noted personalities who hail from Haryana and will be honoured with ‘Gaurav Samman’ including Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda, singer Sonu Nigam, Ritu Sheoran and Vikas Sheoran from Melbourne, Australia; sports icons, including Paralympians, boxers, wrestlers, cricketers and others. B.L. Chawla, father of late astronaut Kalpana Chawla received the Special Achievement Award, conferred posthumously on Kalpana. Vinod Dham, an NRI from Haryana, who is known as ‘Father of Pentium’, was also honoured.

Tail piece

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature short-sleeve kurtas and colourful jackets were an instant hit at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit with Jade Blue company selling ‘Modi Kurtas’ and ‘Modi Jackets’. Both Indian and foreign delegates bought ‘’Modi Kurtas’’ and ‘’Modi Jackets’’ priced at 1,595 (Kurta) and 5,900for a jacket.