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Pundits at IIM meet warn rookies on growth hurdles

By BS Bureau in Kolkata
October 14, 2003 12:10 IST
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Indians have to be cautiously optimistic about the country's economic future as there were many problems ahead. While the current growth rate was perceived as far from satisfactory, more important was "growth coupled with welfare."

The means to development was as important as the end itself and a system better equipped to manage change was seen to be desirable.

This opinion was expressed by speakers like Kuldeep Nair, MP, H F Khorakiwala of Wockhardt Ltd, Homi Khusro Khan of Tata Tea and Surendra Munshi of IIM Calcutta as they debated the topic, "We are just too big, too diverse, too emotionalÂ… we can't make it!"

The debate was organised by the Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta, as part of its B-school meet, Intaglio, on October 10-12.

Nayyar identified the factors he perceived as detrimental to India's growth process, but he pointed out strengths and the gap between potential and actual achievements.

The benefits of a diverse culture and huge acceptability of India's values added to emotion reflected our culture, values and idealism, he said.

Khorakiwala referred to the change in the Indian backdrop and lifestyle, as well as new vistas opened up by liberalisation. He spoke of the brain drain taking place in the nation but was also optimistic about the reverse brain drain we are beginning to experience.

In his opinion, the large population may actually be thought of as a huge market for the business sector and hence has its own merits.

Khusrokhan talked about the systemic change, where the role of the Government was to be better equipped to "manage change."

He emphasised that "the road to success had its own snakes and ladders" and while one must climb the ladder of opportunity, the pitfalls should not be ignored.

Factors like the rapid urbanisation, inadequate health care in the rural sector and insufficient social security benefits were problems. He was optimistic India would prosper if these pitfalls could be managed and a knowledge based society formulated.

Earlier, the paper presentation contest of Intaglio 2003, which saw participation from more than 120 colleges, was won by Arvind Agarwal and Suchintan Chatterjee of IIM Calcutta in the economics stream with their paper on energy security, with Rohit Seksaria of IIM Bangalore winning the first prize in the finance stream on commodity derivatives.

Dinesh and Devapriya from IIM Calcutta bagged the third prize. First prize in the strategy section was won by the NITIE team of Shubham Golash and Bhaskar Ganguly on strategic responses to technological threats.
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