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Davos talks to focus on jobless growth

January 25, 2011 12:47 IST
ForexOver 2,500 global leaders, including 130 from India, are converging in Davos on the snow-covered Alps to discuss for the next five days the future of the world economy, concerns of growth not creating enough number of jobs, particularly in rich nations.

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum would be playing host to 1,400 from top 1,000 companies around the world, 30 heads of states or governments, renowned academicians, artists and the faith leaders, including head of the Chinmaya Mission in New Delhi.

The masters of the corporate world, governments and spiritual world and intellectual are meeting against a global economic environment which is yet to fully recover from the severe setbacks received in 2008 and 2009.

The recovery in the developing world is largely driven by domestic demand but is quite considered fragile in the western economies.

According to the World Bank, though the global economy recovered by 3.9 per cent in 2010, the pace is not enough to create adequate number of jobs.

India, the second fastest expanding economy of the world after China, is fielding the biggest-ever delegation of 125 chief executive officers and senior ministers like Home Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel.

The who's who of India Inc will rub shoulders with the global CEOs not only in the brainstorming sessions in the main venue Congress Centre but also at the Night Caps parties and fun-filled evenings, including the Bollywood Music Night.

Music director A R Rahman will be making a serious presentation about his work. India has been given unique honour of co-chairing this year's meeting by the countrys top woman CEO.

ICICI managing director and chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar will be in the company of Mitsubishi Corporation chairman Yorihiko Kojima, Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke, DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman and CEO of China Occean Shipping Group Company Wei Jiafu.

Sharing her thoughts about the Indian and global economy, Kochhar said, the growth of the Indian economy would continue to be driven by consumption demand by millions of aspiring young people and increasing investments.

"India is a very young nation and will continue to remain young for decades. What this means is that millions of workforce would be aspiring to consume and create demand. That is the consumption drive which is going to drive India's growth," she said.

With high rate of unemployment, close to 10 per cent in the US for instance, the cliche of inclusive growth has caught on with the frontline economies as well.

Creating jobs along with maintaining growth is the main challenge of 2011.

The Davos discourse is sure to highlight the role of Asian powerhouses like China and India in achieving this common task.

China is growing above 10 per cent with India being runner up at around 8.8-9 per cent. The common message sought to be conveyed would be 'sharing'.

The WEF which has been organising the annual event in freezing temperature for the past 40 years on this village has chosen an apt theme this year. Seeking to capture the global mood, WEF has given the theme: 'Shared Norms for the New Reality.'

"The theme is founded on four interconnected pillars-responding to new reality;the economic outlook and policies for inclusive growth, supporting the G20 agenda and building a global risk response mechanism", it said.

When it comes to India presence, given the unfolding of several scandals and scams back home, in the past few months, the Indian team will have to face certain unsavory questions on corruption and the 'governance deficit'.

"We cannot hide, we will answer all these questions honestly," Confederation of Indian Industry chief Hari Bharatiya said.

Since the corruption is a worldwide menace, the WEF has fixed a full-fledged session on the subject.

Among 30 heads of the government, the limelight is bound to be on French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron and South African President Jacob G Zuma.

Prakash Chawla in Davos
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