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IT Minister Milind Deora is out of Wharton speakers' list


 Wharton India Economic Forum
New Delhi, March 13: The final list of speakers at the 17th edition of Wharton India Economic Forum is out and Union Minister of State for IT and Communication Milind Deora has also dropped out.

There were changes even in the health care segment with new names added. However, it is confirmed that activist-politician Arvind Kejriwal and Manipal Group chairman Mohandas Pai will address the prestigious economic forum meeting.

The annual conference organised by the Wharton School - one of the most prestigious business schools of the US has been engulfed in controversies first for its decision to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to deliver a keynote address, and later for rescinding the same invitation following protest from a group of professor and students from the University of Pennsylvania.

The meeting has now scheduled only two keynote speakers, which has been scaled down from original six.

The two keynote speakers would be Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Ron Somers, president of the US India Business.

Two others Gautam Adani from the Adani Group and Atul Nishar, from Hexaware Technologies, dropped off after Wharton's decision to rescind its invitation to Modi.

Kejriwal and Ahluwalia would deliver their keynote addresses via video conference.

The latest panel of speakers during the daylong event on March 23 also indicates some changes among the participants.

In the panel on healthcare, Dr Preetha Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals, and Dr Ashwin Naik, CEO and co-founder of Vaatsalya Healthcare, are no longer among the listed speakers.

In place of columnist Sadanand Dhume, who is a scholar at the Washington-based American think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He who withdrew from the conference because of WIEF decision on Modi. The organisers have now invited New Jersey-based eminent Indian-American Dr Sudhir Parikh in Dhume's place.

Launched in 1996, Wharton India Economic Forum is an annual India-centric conference hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, brings business and political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world on one platform to discuss India's evolution as economic power, and key social, political and financial challenges which still stand in its way.

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