Young Indians Summit: Colourful Start To Biz With A Difference

New Delhi, March 10 | Updated: Mar 11 2004, 05:30am hrs
Its a summit with a difference. Particularly as it comes from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) stable. The first Young Indians (Yi) Summit, which kicked off in the Capital on Wednesday, had none of the traditional fare that a business summit has. Instead with about 1200 participants on the first day, including a sizeable portion of students, it brought together young CEOs and managers from business family groups and companies, a large number of women participation, management students and fewer of the traditional stalwarts of corporate India that one is normally used to at such business conclaves. In fact, seeing the large participation by generation next, CII director general Tarun Das and its President Anand Mahindra lightheartedly said that with their grey hair, they found it difficult to enter the venue, Vigyan Bhavan.

The summit offered something for everybody: For young students, fast-track CEOs like Amitabh Chaturvedi of Reliance Asset Management and Rajeev Karwal of Electrolux and high-profile family business leaders like Sulajja Firodia Motwani were inspirational leaders on how to move ahead in the corporate world. For the young YI leaders themselves, Tarun Das, Anand Mahindra and RPG groups vice chairman Sanjeev Goenka were role models. And for CII itself, it was a a new experiment in what Mr Das called the most significant milestone in his four decade leadership of the institution.

While Sanjay Reddy, chairman National Committee, Yi and executive director, GVK Industries gave a glimpse of young achievers in history the world over, starting from Alexander The Great, to Wright Brothers to Aishwarya Rai to AR Rahman, NK Singh, member Planning Commission and also the chief guest at the inaugural function, spoke about harnessing the power and energy in youth. He also said coming couple of decades will see the largest number of young people in Asia, more so in India and suggested that the government and the corporate sector should gear up big time to tap their potential. Anand Mahindra added that youth power however was becoming more assertive in the positive sense.

GOTTA BIG PICTURE: Kinetic Engineering joint managing director Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Golbarena Group director Sudha Iyer and i3pl chief executive Bhairavi Jani at the Young Indians Summit in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Started in December 2002, Yi aims to be a movement of young Indians across the world. A grassroots organisation, it plans to open chapters overseas and introduce more chapters in India.

The way some of the key summit organisers like Sanjay Reddy, Jayadev Galla, managing director, Amara Raja Baterries and Narayan Sethuraman (WS Industries), chairman, Yi Summit, were flooded with queries on how to move things forward, speaks volumes about the popularity of the summit. For example, some navy officials who had come were curious to know as to how they can remain connected because their jobs require a lot of sailing.

Pramath Sinha, principal, McKinsey & Co, said a 10 per cent growth in GDP is not just possible but necessary. The key engine for this can be played by sectors like healthcare, food (especially retail), certain manufacturing activities which have the advantage of lost cost production like steel and auto components. For this the mindset of the corporates as well as the government has to change, said Mr Sinha.

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, joint MD, Kinetic group, said many young Indians who have established themselves abroad are realising the potential of India and returning to the country. She also said with low cost, skilled labour and availability of resources India can be a hub for global sourcing for so many products including auto components.

However, some like Neelima Khanna, CEO, CARMA International India, however added that there was some degree of crowding by college students at the summit which may diffuse a pure corporate purpose. However she added, nevertheless, we came across ideas and suggestions by certain sections which were mindboggling, which if implemented, can bring about far reaching changes.

There were still others who initially came with the idea of watching how a summit of this kind turns up but went back enlightened. So many new ideas came up that it was heartening. I only feel that such summits should not restrict themselves to metros but soon be spread to smaller cities and towns, summed up Arvind Narang, COO, Agrani Convergence Ltd.