World Economic Forum Summit begins; Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari among participants

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New Delhi, Nov 4: Policy makers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and industry leaders will deliberate on issues of growth and competitiveness at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) India summit that begins on Tuesday.

More than 700 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia from 45 countries will take part in the three-day India Economic Summit, organised by WEF in partnership with industry body CII.

Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal are among those expected to participate in the summit.

Under the theme, 'Redefining Public-Private Cooperation for a New Beginning', the summit convenes against the backdrop of significant economic growth and progress in reducing poverty in most parts of India, but also persistent inequality.

The programme is built on three pillars: 'Boosting Global Competitiveness, Launching a Domestic Systems Reset and Scaling Local and Social Innovation.

However, when asked about whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Summit, as his name was missing from the list of participants, the organisers said they have requested him to consider participating in the summit.

"We do expect to hear as to whether he (Modi) would like to come into the Forum. At this point of time, we have just briefed his office as to what the programme structure is. We have requested him (Modi) if he can consider. So, we would await to hear to hear from him (Modi)," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said on the sidelines a conference.

The summit will see Jaitley, who also holds the portfolio of Defence, share his vision of the nation's rising global influence and achieving equitable growth for its population. Besides, it will also deliberate on how the challenges and opportunities are shaping India's growth outlook amid the rising investor interest.

The summit also entails a session on Investing in a Cleaner India, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat campaign. It includes a session with Gadkari on analysing the initiatives needed to bridge the USD 1 trillion infrastructure deficit in the country.

The HRD Minister will participate in a session focusing on skills development and the solutions needed to bridge the skills mismatch to make India's youth more employable.

"The meeting comes as the new government completes six months in office. Business leaders are keen to engage with the government and see how it plans to restart the investment cycle, revive demand and convert the first signs of revival into a full-fledged recovery," Banerjee said.

The session on 'Delivering a Digital India' will focus on how local innovations can be scaled up to achieve inclusive growth, with IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
In view of the government's 'Make in India' campaign, the summit includes a session on how India can become the world's manufacturing hub.

There will also be a session on 'Lighting India' with Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, which will focus on the steps needed to provide power to all, with over 22 per cent of the world's unelectrified population living in India.

Among the corporate honchos attending are Mahindra and Mahindra CMD Anand Mahindra; Chairman of Microsoft Corp India Bhaskar Pramanik; Bharti Enterprises Founder & Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal; Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej; Hindustan Unilever CEO & MD Sanjiv Mehta; Executive Vice Chairman and MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak; CMD of SREI Infrastructure Finance Hemant Kanoria; CMD of Hindustan Construction Company Ajit Gulabchand; Founder & CEO of MakeMyTrip India Deep Kalra.

PTI

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