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Global Business Forums2020-11-19T13:05:38+00:00

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Covid-19 has had a transformational impact on how we look at development. Challenges are particularly present in skilling, which is at a crossroads today, where we are not sure which sector the next job will come from.

Challenges in development, particularly skilling, which is at a crossroads today, can only be confronted & overcome with new kinds of thinking and partnerships.

The visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given India a platform to benefit from the demographic

In the last five years, the Ministry of Skills Development is helping India’s population arm themselves with the skills needed to succeed in life and realise Prime Minister Modi’s vision of making India the skill capital of the world.

The government is helping migrants and others by mapping skills and providing short-term training. We will increase this going forward.

We’re creating a database of migrant workers; we are also creating a database of workers returning from abroad and
mapping their skill sets; we will match these skills with the requirements of Indian and foreign companies.

Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India
Seema Bansal – Partner & Chairman at Boston Consulting Group, India

The UK and India are collaborating across sectors from the soil to the stars – from centres of excellence supported by Britain helping Indian farmers reduce 40 per cent food wastage, to collaboration on healthcare and vaccine development, financial services esp. green and social finance and even space.

Covid-19 has created awareness and ushered in a new sense of collaboration between both policy makers as well as those that have knowledge to affect change.

Companies need to really focus and engage with three stakeholders in order to address some of the critical social and economic issues that Covid-19 has highlighted – employees and their welfare, customers and local communities.


Chetna Sinha – Founder-Chairperson of Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation
Alan Gemmell – Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner & British Deputy High Commissioner, Western India
Manish Kumar – Managing Director & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation
Alok Kumar – Additional Secretary and National Project Director, NITI Aayog
Hriday Ravindranath – Chief Tech Officer, BT India

Technology is the key to post-Covid economic recovery, but it needs to be based on data. It’s important that the data input into this tech is relevant to the population it seeks to help.

Quantum computing is becoming more important with Covid-19 and the search for a vaccine.

AI will have significant benefits going forward especially when it comes to job search, job creation,medicine development.

The private sector has to play an important role when it comes to the application of technology.

Brijraj Vaghani, Chief Technology Officer, Ola

Priya Guha, Venture Partner, Merian Ventures

Munish Varma, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers

Kartik Varma, Managing Director, Techstars

Anand Verma, Founder & CEO, Brilliant Basics, an Infosys Company

Electric mobility has taken off massively as consumers look for transport options that are both environmentally friendly as well as cost-effective.

The evolution of technology and lower production cost of batteries will eventually contribute to a huge shift in the EV market, where EVs are cheaper to run than a combustion engine.

In the long run, cities will need to move towards a shared form of transportation to manage traffic flow and environmental concerns. Electric mobility can provide a solution just in terms of personal transport but also from ride-hailing.

Amit Anchal – Chief of Group Strategy and Business Development at OLA
Dr Nikolaus Lang – Managing Director and Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group
BVR Subbu – Board Member at OLA Electric
Bruno Ahrens – Head of Project Management – Electrification at Bosch 

A stack is the greatest thing a country can do for its start-up ecosystem. Given the digital payment ecosystem in India, the digitisation journey is end to end. The India Stack makes it one of the best in the world and companies like Paytm which is one of the fastest in the world owe their success to the India stack.

Digital India’s mission is to use digital technology to empower. This is planned in two strands — affordable access and setting up entrepreneurial ecosystems.

India with its huge population is currently sitting on a data mine. Technology will go a long way in harnessing this resource as well as managing and using it well.


Arvind Gupta, Head & Co-Founder, Digital India Foundation
Rudra Dalmia, Executive Director and CFO, Paytm Mall
Ajay Vij, Senior Vice President, Industry Head Financial Services, Infosys Ltd
Mridula Iyer, Head – Treasury & Trade Solutions (TTS), Citi South Asia

Session highlights:

Digital technology has been key in combatting the Coronavirus pandemic. Media has been absolutely transformed today and data has been at the heart of it.

Supply chain resiliency whether it’s in terms of redesign or optimisation is very much at the front and centre of a lot of businesses.

For the UK, partnering with India is crucial to the adoption of tech and innovation from digital infrastructure, AI, scaling up and acceleration.

Mohit Joshi, President, Infosys.
John Whittingdale, Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Govt of UK
Srinivasa Rao, Ernst & Young, Global Vice Chair – Global Delivery Services
Lord Karan Bilimoria – Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer

The global scenario post-Covid is shifting with every boardroom talking about a China +1 strategy. Most businesses are now actively looking for an alternative to China. In order for India to position itself as an alternative it is critical that India’s business environment shifts.

India is already a large manufacturing hub with several global players in the ring but in order to become a truly global hub India needs to have production integration capability, not supply chains and capital goods.

Part of the challenge in India is businesses knowing how to navigate the market. You cannot bring a mindset from anywhere else. India has true vertical integration capabilities.


K Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Head Corporate Banking Group, South Asia, Citi India
Dr Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum
Alpesh Patel, Dealmaker, International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme
Josh Foulger, Co-Chair, Fast Track Task Force under MEITY

IBC is a gamechanger and has become a major deterrent to default by the corporate sector; it has ensured that incumbent promoters cannot get away by defaulting on loans.

In China, credit is 250 per cent of GDP; in India, it is one-third of that. The overhang of bad loans in the banking system has to be corrected.

Sebi has made investments in a stressed company much easier. This has made it easier for such companies to mobilise funds from the market.
There are lots of lessons that India can take from the Malaysia experience in cleaning up the NPA overhang in its banking system in just 5 years.

Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)
B V Krishnan, Former Partner and Former CEO, KKR and KKR Financial Servcies
Badrinivas NC, Managing Director Head of Markets & Securities Services, Citi South Asia
Prof Ananth Narayan – Associate Professor at S P Jain Institute of Management and Research
Nilesh Shah, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra, Asset Management, Co Ltd.

India has the capability to rejuvenate and revive the entire global economy. And the best example of this rejuvenation & revival can be seen in India’s defence manufacturing.

MSME’s are the lifeline of India’s defence ecosystem and the PM’s vision of self-realisation and self- sufficiency.

Setting up of GSQR & streamlining the defence tests & trials procedures will help the defence industry to grow in India.

It is important that India makes use of tech & simulations to help the defence industry speed up the defence trials.


Baba Kalyani, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Forge Limited

Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, Government of India

Nitin Gokhale, Founder & Editor-in-Chief,

Session highlights:

India should refocus on design and development along with Make in India. The concept of self-reliance should not just be based on manufacturing but also on owning the IP of the product.

India needs to change its perspective on failure within innovation. Innovators should be given the confidence to keep developing innovative products even if tests fail.

Defence manufacturing will play a major role in taking Indian economy to $5 trillion; there is no reason why India cannot design, develop, and manufacture defence equipment and become a surplus nation.


Nitin Gokhale, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of
Jayant Damodar Patil – Whole Time Director and Senior Executive Vice President of Larsen & Toubro’s Defence & Smart Technologies
Louise Danaghey – Senior Vice President of Rolls-Royce, India and South East Asia
Ashok Atluri – Chairman and Managing Director of Zen Technologies
Air Marshal S B Deo – Managing Director of JSR Dynamics Pvt Ltd 

Session highlights:

Incentives to smartphones manufacturers; defence manufacture from virtually zero to 75 per cent ownership. It will take years to build this eco-system. Mining has opened up. The conditions are in place for foreign investment. And pace of liberalization of farm markets in India has grown.

Banking system and financial system have been cleaned up into fewer but bigger banks allowing to operate on scale. These are steps towards transparent cleaner banking systems. Process hasn’t been easy

Speaker: Ashok Malik, Policy Advisor, Ministry of External Affairs, India

Session highlights:
The focus for start-ups who have been raising capital from Chinese investors – Chinese has been a great source of capital for Indian businesses. They need that capital but cannot understand the lack of access to it
– Arun Madhu

A lot has been said about regulatory – for tech companies the role of stable regulation is extremely important. Tech is trying to solve simple but everyday problems while coming up with business models. So there cannot be regulatory grey. Need for regulatory accountability.
– Nitin Banerjee

Today the need of the hour is for legislation, executive and judiciary to function as one team for governance. This will help India take off from where we are at this point in time.
-Gopal Jain

Sanctity of contracts is important. India has risen up on ease of doing business but lags when it comes to enforcement of contracts. What can judiciary do to make itself an instrument of good governance and create a commercial culture?
– Jigar Shah

Post Covid is an unknown thing. Things will evolve and we will see the situation as they are. But from a pharma standpoint Indian companies operating globally have challenges in terms of coming up to speed with standards that are expected.
– Kaizad Hazari

– Nitin Bannerjee, Group General Counsel, Ola
– Babita Ambekar, Partner & Global Head of India Practice, DWF LLP
– Gopal Jain, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
– Kaizad Hazari, President & Global General Counsel, Glenmark Pharmaceutical
– Ashok Malik, Policy Advisor, Ministry of External Affairs, India
– Arun Madhu, General Counsel, Nexus Venture Partners
– Jigar Shah, Head of Legal and Compliance, KKR India

Session highlights: Indian businesses have shown tremendous resilience to be nimble and adapt quickly to a fast-changing market and the challenges and opportunities it has thrown up.

Doing business in India today, thanks to the recent reforms, is much cleaner and greener. If the government can work on making it a lot easier too then that would really propel India.

Indian MSME’s are the most efficient users of the capital and making every dollar in that capital go far.

Sanjay Nayar, CEO, KKR India
Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India

All signs point to positive factors – all the macros are very healthy and from the second half investors believing in Indian markets will start seeing growth.

There are great opportunities for long-term investors looking at India, but in the short-term investments should be approached with caution.

There are more opportunities in high-quality companies with respect to return on capital in India in comparison to other emerging markets.

– Carly Moorhouse, Fund Research Analyst, Quilter Cheviot
– Brad Barth, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors
– Amul Pandya, Head of Business Development, Ocean Dial Asset Management
– Gaurav Narain, Co-Head of Equities, Ocean Dial Asset Management

Session highlights:

Investors are focused on political stability. The current government has pushed through far-reaching reforms; it has a young population, and it is a huge economy, it’s the third-largest in PPP terms; that’s what makes India attractive to investors.

Indian regulation needs to be pro-cyclical to attract more foreign investors.

There has been a huge growth in PE investment in India over the last few years.

– Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital
– Rahul Agarwal, Co-Head of Financial Institutional Investors, Invest India
– Shailesh Rao, Advisor, Venture Highway & Advisor, BigSpring
– Nikhil Srivastava, Managing Director, Head of India Private Equity, PAG Asia Capital
– B V Krishnan Former Partner & CEO, KKR & KKR India Financial Services

J&K has a small industrial base, the main industry is tourism, food processing and organic farming have huge potential. IT and Pharma also have huge potential. These need to be scaled up.

J&K government has taken some serious steps towards setting out rules and regulations that ensure health and security.

J& K has always survived on hope. Every sector in the state today is full of opportunities for investment. It’s now about the implementation of policies & bringing in facilities to handhold interested investors.

India is the second-largest food processing industry in the world and J&K makes up the bulk of that. J&K really offers an unique opportunity whether it’s in products or industry, where the government helps solves problems hands-on.

Kaveree Bamzai, Author and Journalist
Farooq Amin, CEO, Kanwal Foods & Spices (I) Pvt Ltd.
K B Kachru, Chairman Emeritus & Principal Advisor, South Asia at Radisson Hotel Group
GC Murmu, Lt. Governor, Government of Jammu & Kashmir
Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Commissioner Secretary, Government of Jammu & Kashmir
Sanjay Puri, Managing Director, PBI India Ltd
Vikrant Kuthiala, Director, R B Jodhamal Bishan Lal Hotel & Resorts Pvt Ltd
Amit Wanchoo, CEO, Space Communications, Asia Global Fellow 2018

Kashmir was rediscovered by Bollywood and Yash Chopra; it’s as beautiful as Switzerland. It’s a shame that J&K doesn’t produce films.

J&K must find a way to build bridges so that the people who left or had to leave can return with dignity.

The only way J&K can grow as a region is through development.

– Ashwath Bhatt, Theatre & Film Actor, Theatre Garage Project
– Sanjay Raina, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Media
– Manu Khajuria, Founder, Voice of Dogras, Freelance Writer/Storyteller
– Ruveda Salam Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Government of Jammu and Kashmir
– Sahil Verma Director, JK Startups Association, Founder, PureMart
– Ishan Verma Director, JK Startups Association, Founder & CEO, Nentoir Technologies

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