New York: The first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held outside India on the ‘Engaging Diaspora: The way forward’ theme has generated euphoric interest, both among the Indian diaspora and locals on the very first day of the campaign.
Riveting and colourful New York has got a dash of spice this week with a strong India flavour wafting through the city. Cabs and buses are carrying attractive Indian banners; buntings and hoardings drop down from lamp posts and store exteriors on the busy Times Square and teeming sidewalks are witness to vivid Kathakali, Bhangra and Bharata Natyam images. On the sidelines are various food festivals, handicraft displays, fashion shows, music evenings, Bollywood events and business meetings.
The week-long event, called Incredible India@60 is being organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture as part of an extended celebration of the country’s 60 years of independence.
Yale University will hold panel discussions on India featuring corporate leaders like Indra Nooyi and Nandan Nilekani and “India 2050: A Grand Strategy for India Rising”, and “Women and Global Leadership” are also part of the agenda. Another highlight would be the recreation of a Taj Mahal in sand by international sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik.
According to industry and government representatives , poverty alleviation must proceed within these boundaries which would not be possible without imagination, courage, passion, humanity, humility, intellect and luck.
Change in perception about India
Kamal Nath, minister of commerce and industry, said that there has been a huge difference in the perception of India by the diaspora which represents the country’s intellectual and entrepreneurial talent.
India is valued in the world for its arts and culture and its ethos of unity and harmony. The most important aspect of India’s growth trajectory is its credibility of laws and institutional strengths which scores over other countries and this has to be leveraged by all players.
Allow entry of foreign educational institutes
Answering questions, the minister said that the Indian government should not calibrate its exchange rate to favour industrial sectors. In response to another question, he said that the Government will shortly be bringing out a new policy for upgradation of education standards and permit foreign educational institutions. Regarding civil society, he said that India has a strong NGO sector that was globally engaged and skilled.
Emerging opportunities in services sector
Nandan Nilekani, emphasized opportunities for diaspora in the services sector. IT sector will double to $50-60 billion in 3-4 years, doubling employment as it stepped up its larger social purpose in education, urban governance and healthcare.
Sam Kannapan, president, ABI Enterprises, Houston, Texas, spoke about the change in selling the India story to investors, but said that concerns regarding transparency and accountability remain. CEOs of Indian companies shared their views on simplification of procedures and development of a deep long term bond market that could facilitate community in development in India.
Special session on India@75 featured CK Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken distinguished university professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Sharing his vision for India in 2022, he said the country has the potential to actively shape the world order through economic strength, technological vitality and moral leadership.
India would need to balance its aspirations and resources, mismatch of which creates innovation. It should fold the future rather than extrapolate the past, and take small clear steps. Emerging issues will be about income inequality rather than poverty, and lifestyles, universality of aspirations, impact on world prices, moving from ‘bottom of the pyramid’ to ‘straddling the pyramid’ and environmental impact of development.
According to him dominant themes for India@75 should be market-based solutions, social equity, rule of law, scale, price performance levels and ecological sustainability. Poverty alleviation must proceed within these boundaries, he emphasized. Imagination, courage, passion, humanity, humility, intellect and luck are needed for success in this venture. .
The session on education and health partnerships had Sam Pitroda, chairman National Knowledge Commission, Rajat Kumar Gupta, senior partner Worldwide, McKinsey and Co. and chairman, Public Health Foundation of India, B Ramalinga Raju, founder and chairman, Satyam Computer Services Ltd, Thomas Abraham, chairman, Global Organizsation of People of Indian Origin, Hemant Patel, president, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and Analjit Singh and chairman, Max India.
Ambassador TP Sreenivasan,Vayalar Ravi, minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, and Nirmal Singh, secretary, MOIA, addressed concerns of the audience on protection of workers overseas, marriage problems and fees for NRI students.
Ravi confirmed the setting up of a Council for Promotion of Overseas Indian Employment that will ensure worker protection across levels.