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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

India not everywhere still, but it's at WEF

A K Bhattacharya in Davos | January 25, 2006 03:20 IST

India greets you as soon as you land at the Zurich airport on your way to Davos, where over 2,500 world leaders from all walks of life will gather at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum over the next five days to tackle global problems and set the global agenda.

The powerful India message is splashed all over the airport in Zurich. The message, part of the India Everywhere campaign being launched now, talks about India as the world's fastest growing market democracy, with 91-billion-dollar companies and a thriving capital market with 23 stock exchanges.

One of the hoardings boasts that India has produced six governments and five prime ministers in the last 15 years, but there has been only one direction of economic policy during this period.

India is also projected as a country with the youngest growing population, where consumer spending growth has been several multiples of the country's economic growth.

The India Everywhere initiative is spearheaded by Nandan Nilekani, CEO, president and managing director of Infosys.

"As India becomes increasingly prominent in the global economic context, the WEF at Davos is the ideal place for us to project ourselves," explained Nilekani.

The second and the third phase of the communication campaign will be unveiled in Davos during the annual meeting and through a series of advertisements in reputed international publications, respectively.

Nilekani's initiative is backed by the Indian government, which has sent probably the most powerful delegation ever to this annual jamboree of global leaders.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are among the senior government leaders who will address various sessions at the annual meeting.

In addition, there will be two state chief ministers: Sheila Dikshit from Delhi and Vasundhara Raje from Rajasthan.

For the second successive year, an Indian industry leader will be the co-chair at the WEF meeting. Last year, it was N R Narayana Murthy, chief mentor of Infosys. This year, it is Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited. A few years ago, Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto, was the co-chair.

Of the eight sub-themes chosen for the annual meeting, the first one is on the emergence of China and India. This will focus on the shift of gravity to Asia and the challenges and opportunities it offers for the global community.

There are several other sessions on India, including one on the future of reforms. The other sub-themes, which capture the challenges facing the world and will be discussed at the meeting, are the changing economic landscape, adjusting to the new mindsets and changing attitudes, the creation of future jobs, addressing regional identities and struggles, building trust in public and private institutions, effective leadership in managing global risks and finding solutions through innovation, creativity and design methods.

While WEF has done its bit to highlight the India flavour at the meeting this year by nominating film actress Shabana Azmi for the prestigious Crystal award given away to artists who have used their art to reach out to other cultures, the organisers of the India Everywhere campaign have planned a soiree, with performances by Usha Uthup and Shiamak Davar.

A special food festival and an art exhibition have also been organised.

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