New Delhi: The World Economic Forum (WEF) is keen to have Indian political and corporate leaders share their experience in taking growth benefits to the poor with other global CEOs and policymakers at the international non-profit body’s annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2011.
“This coming year, I believe Indian participation at Davos can highlight the country’s thought leadership. At a time when the world is searching for a new model of economic development, India’s experience as a crucible for new types of inclusive growth gives it a special role among developing economies,” WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab told PTI.
He said India faces the challenge of ensuring the fruits of economic expansion reach the bottom of the pyramid. “It is grappling directly with an issue that has significance and resonance for the global economy,” Schwab said.
Financial inclusion programmes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are flagship initiatives of the UPA government.
Schwab is in New Delhi for the India Economic Summit, which has been organized by the WEF in partnership with Confederation of Indian industry (CII).
Schwab, who rubs shoulders with several heads of state and governments and masters of the corporate universe every winter at Davos, said India provided much-needed hope with its robust economic fundamentals last year when “the world was staggering beneath the weight of the fallout from the global financial crisis.”
Amid the slowdown in the world economy, India stood alongside the few countries like China that continued to witness sustained growth and expanded by 7.4% last fiscal.
However, the country now has to live up to high expectations.
“The challenges set by the expectations placed on India are high,” he said, adding that the country must keep up with crucial reforms and address concerns over poor infrastructure.
It must bridge the difference between words and deeds, Schwab added. “The time has come for India to close the ‘say-do’ gap and to get things done,” he said.
The government has set a target for private and public sector investment of $1 trillion for the next five-year plan.
Several Indian industry leaders like Rahul Bajaj, Anand Mahindra, the Ambani brothers and bankers like SBI chief OP Bhatt and ICICI Bank CEO and managing director Chanda Kochchar have been regular participants in the WEF meeting at Davos.
Cabinet ministers like Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also regulars at the five-day meeting in the snow-laden Swiss resort town.
Schwab talked about the accountability of the leadership for implementing development programmes. “We need to ensure that measures are put in place to hold leaders accountable for yielding real results,” he said.