An eminent group of 15 experts comprising senior government officials, corporate leaders, academicians and opinion makers participated in a Discussion Forum on Emerging Geographies held at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM –A) today. With the support of IIM-A and iNDEXTb, the investment promotion arm of the Government of Gujarat, the Discussion Forum was organized as part of the series of knowledge-sharing programs in the lead up to the opening of the Vibrant Gujarat 2011 Summit on Wednesday.

The Forum was attended by Shri. A.K.Joti, Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat; Shri Ravi Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat; and included a host of key speakers like Dr. Subas Pani Chairman & Managing Director, India Trade Promotion Organization; Brad Staples, President International, APCO Worldwide; Prof. Errol D’Souza, Professor of Economics, IIM-A; Prof. Atanu Ghosh, Visiting Professor, IIM-A; Dr.Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group; Dr. Shubhada Rao, President & Chief Economist, Yes Bank; Manish Sabharwal, Chief Executive Officer, Teamlease; R Ravichandran, Intel Technology Pvt Ltd; Dr Rajiv Modi, Chairman, Cadila Pharmaceuticals; Shri Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, Rasna International; and Shri RS Sodhi, MD-GCMMF; among others. The Forum was moderated by Damini Kumari from ET NOW.

The panel focused on the forces of economic change in the global economy, the regulatory uncertainties in fast-industrialising regions, and strategies to facilitate business in emerging geographies. The panelists also discussed the role of investment, innovation, local partnerships, diasporas, and industry and business associations as well as capacity-building programs as means to facilitate business.

Addressing the issue of the availability of human capital, Shri. A.K.Joti said, “Gujarat is augmenting its investment in human capital and skill development. We have adopted the most popular PPP model to set up engineering, medical and other professional colleges in the state.” He further added, “The PPP model has been extended to set up Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), sector-specific skilled development centers located near industries, SEZs and SIRs. This will create training opportunities and new jobs.”

R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF Ltd, said, “Emerging geographies need to keep their rural populations in mind.” Underlining the success of Amul’s cooperative model, he said “The companies should provide market assessments to rural producers and help create jobs for them to reduce urban migration. They should strive to combine their corporate strategies with rural development.”

Towards the end of the discussion, the panelists concluded by agreeing that India has tremendous opportunities and strengths to lead the emerging economies of the future. They further added that good governance, excellent infrastructure, rural development schemes, sound primary and secondary education, and innovation and entrepreneurship hold the key to global competitiveness.

Under the aegis of Vibrant Gujarat 2011 Summit, the Government of Gujarat is hosting a series of knowledge events in form of Discussion forums, Panel discussions, an International Roundtable for Academic Institutes, a Young Entrepreneurs’ Meet, an Innovation Summit and an IIT Conclave.


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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today interacted with Governors of States regarding the Covid-19 situation and ongoing vaccination drive in the country, through video conferencing.

Prime Minister said that in the battle against Covid, along with the vaccines, our values and sense of duty are our biggest strengths. Praising the citizens who participated in this battle last year considering it their duty, he said that the same feeling of Janbhagidari needs to be encouraged now as well. He said that the role of the Governors, through appropriate utilization of their social capacity, thus becomes all the more critical to achieving this. Governors are an important link to ensure better coordination between State Governments and society, he said, adding that the combined power of all community organizations, political parties, NGOs and social institutions needs to be harnessed.

Prime Minister suggested that the Governors can actively engage to ensure that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with the State Governments towards micro containment. He said that their social network can help ensure an increase in the capacity of ambulances, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals. Along with spreading the message about vaccination and treatment, the Governors can also spread awareness about AYUSH related remedies.

Prime Minister noted that our youth, our workforce, is an important part of our economy. Hence, it is important to ensure that our youth follows all Covid related protocols and precautions. He said that the Governors’ role is also critical in ensuring the greater engagement of our students in University campuses towards this Janbhagidari. We also need to focus on better utilization of facilities at University and College campuses, he added. He said that just like last year, NCC and NSS also have a key role to play this year as well. Prime Minister said that the Governors are an important pillar of Janbhagidari in this battle and their coordination with State Governments and guidance to institutions of the State will further strengthen the nation’s resolve.

Discussing the rise in the number of Covid cases, the Prime Minister said that in this stage of the fight against the virus, the country stands to gain from last year’s experience and improved healthcare capacity. He discussed the increase RTPCR testing capacity and noted that the country has become Aatmanirbhar with respect to kits and other material related to testing. All this has led to a reduction in the cost of RTPCR tests also. He added that most of the products related to testing are also available on the GeM portal. Prime Minister emphasized the significance of increasing tracking, tracing and testing, and said that RTPCR testing needs to be increased from 60% to 70%. He said that it is pertinent to ensure that more and more people get tested.

Prime Minister underlined that the government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of vaccines. He highlighted that India has become the fastest nation to reach the landmark of 10 crore vaccinations. Noting the positive impact of Tika Utsav in the last four days, he said that in this period, the vaccination drive was expanded and new vaccination centres also came up.


The Vice President of India, Union Home Minister and Union Health Minister also attended the interaction.

The Vice President appreciated the Prime Minister for leading the fight against Covid and his proactive steps to develop the infrastructure required to tackle the pandemic. He also highlighted the scientific community's contribution in giving a vaccine to India and the whole world. He also talked about the contribution of healthcare workers, sanitation workers, and other frontline workers who have played a vital role during the pandemic.

The Vice President called upon the Governors to bring up a coordinated front by leading all-party meetings in their respective states and engaging with civil society organisations to spread awareness about covid-appropriate behaviour. The Vice president said that a 'Team India spirit' cutting across policy lines should be adopted, and in this regard, Governors as the 'Guardians of the State' could guide the State Governments.

Union Home Minister stressed the importance of saving each and every life. Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on Covid cases and vaccination drive. He gave an overview of how India has followed a proactive and pre-emptive approach in this endeavour.

The Governors shared details of how their respective states are tackling the spread of the virus and coordinating activities towards ensuring a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive, while also mentioning the deficiencies of healthcare facilities in the States.

They gave suggestions for further improvement in the efforts and shared plans of how Janbhagidari can be increased through the active social engagement of various groups.