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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