Global Indian business conference 2014
The first edition of the Global Indian Business Conference (GIBC) was held on January 10, 2014, at Federation House, New Delhi. Organised as a one-day, follow-up investment summit to the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the event was aimed at providing a platform to the global investment community to enable a dialogue with government and industry. With participation from senior officials from Government of India and eminent industry persons, GIBC had a strong focus on sectors that offer immense opportunities and contribute to the country’s overall objective of achieving socio-economic development.
The sectors in focus during GIBC included infrastructure financing, urban infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, healthcare and medical value travel, and education. Each sectoral session was structured to provide the investor with perspectives from government in terms of policy and incentives, from industry in terms of the practical experience, and from an established financial entity in the sector.
The Inaugural Panel: L to R: Dr. A. Didar Singh, Dr. E. M. S. Natchiappan, Mr. Sidharth Birla and Mr. Inder Singh
The inaugural session panel consisted of Dr. E. M. S. Natchiappan, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry; Mr. Sidharth Birla, President, FICCI; Mr. Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO; and Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, who opened proceedings with his remarks on GIBC and with his invitation to Mr. Birla to make the welcome address.
Mr. Birla said that though the economy has been going through trying times and though there was an urgent need to get back to the 8% to 9% growth levels, positive sentiments have already started surfacing. Mr. Birla attributed this to efforts and policy initiatives taken by the government and the Reserve Bank of India. India, he mentioned, has historically been fair to business and has also been a profitable destination. The combination of democracy and demography gives India an edge over other countries. India has liberalized product markets and is now seriously looking the factors of production in order to generate real competition.
He said it is important to rebuild mutual trust between the government and business houses, and infuse a positive environment for business expansion. Mr. Birla added that positive intentions of the government often get overshadowed by noise over substance and that was easy for the atmosphere to get sidetracked by media and civil society, and by activism. FICCI, he said, feels the urgent need for government, business and civil society to rebuild mutual trust. In this direction, he stressed upon good governance, which also includes clear and predictable policies, tax equity and effective implementation.
Mr. Birla also spoke about FICCI’s Economic Agenda, which centers on job creation, enabling growth of enterprises, growth in manufacturing and development of world-class infrastructure.
Mr. Birla’s address was followed by a special address by Mr. Inder Singh. He spoke on the formation of the Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO) 25 years ago as a network for the global Indian community. Mr. Singh informed that there are 28 million people of Indian origin living abroad and, of these, 11 million still have an Indian passport. He said that the diaspora purchases Indian merchandize and services worth billions of dollars and provides a huge pool of remittances, estimated at $72 billion in 2013. Mr. Singh suggested that the Government of India should revisit some of the policies in order to make investments and trade simpler.