Looking to showcase flagship programmes like Make In India, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Nirmala Sitharaman today joined over 100 corporate honchos from India at the WEF meet here even as China positioned itself as the new champion of globalisation with call for further opening up of economies worldwide.
The annual gathering of the rich and powerful, happening against the backdrop of global uncertainties, would be holding discussions on global economy and the need for a ‘responsive and responsible leadership’.
You May Also Like To Watch This:
Apart from the ministers, who started interactions soon after reaching this ski resort town, senior government officials including DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant are attending the annual meet. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is also in attendance.
Various flagship programmes of the government, including Make In India and Digital India, are expected to be showcased by the ministers and officials as the country seeks to attract more investments. They would look to present India’s economic strength and overall growth potential.
With China being the flavour of the day as Chinese President Xi Jinping made a strong case for globalisation, several Indian business leaders said India appears to be risking losing the position of globalisation champion of the region.
However, they hoped that India will be back in focus with the ministers and several corporate leaders, including Reliance IndustriesChairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Sons Chairman designate N Chandrasekaran and SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, scheduled to participate in some key sessions at the WEF meeting.
Roads Minister Gadkari and Minister of State for Commerce Minister Sitharaman are also scheduled to hold several bilateral meetings in the coming days, including till late tonight. Ambani and IT major Infosys’ CEO Vishal Sikka are scheduled to participate in a session on fourth industrial revolution.
Gadkari would participate in a panel discussion on ‘Strategic Update: The Future of Urban Mobility’ that would touch upon issues such as tackling security threats to connected vehicles, increasing road safety through regulation, education and technology, reducing congestion, carbon emission and pollution.
Among others, Gadkari would hold separate meetings with Presidents and CEOs of PSP Investment Canada and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Canada.
Sitharaman is to participate in a season on harnessing regional cooperation in South Asia along with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, apart from bilateral meetings.
Seeking to attract foreign investments into the state, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has started holding discussions with people from various streams. Among others, he held talks with Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.
Tweeting about his meeting with Nadella, Naidu said, “discussed on @MicrosoftIndia’s collaboration with AP on e-Gov and cyber security”.
Andhra Pradesh has also gone big on branding in Davos with billboards promoting the state as an attractive investment destination.
Meanwhile, business leaders, including India’s Sunil Mittal, acknowledged that consumers are increasingly becoming uneasy with the immense size and power of big firms.
At a session on ‘Future of Big Business’, the leaders said that big corporations are being challenged to manage their size, create new products and also contribute to the society.
With less than 10 per cent public companies globally accounting for 80 per cent of the entire corporate profits, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “That we are discussing this topic today is a clear message that something has gone wrong in the last 10 years. Suddenly, we have started to question – Is big good or not?”.
During the day, there were also discussions related to artificial intelligence with leaders of top technology companies, including Microsoft and IBM, saying there is a need to create “new collar jobs” as innovations would replace some jobs and existing employees would need to be re-trained.
IT industry leader C P Gurnani said the Indian IT sector should see them as opportunities, but the challenge is to create new skill sets for these areas. Gurnani said artificial intelligence is here to stay and if one does not adopt it, the person is “not intelligent”.