The 24th OIFC Diaspora Engagement Meet in London took place at the Montcalm Hotel on the 16th October, 2014. The event was a partnership between the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the High Commission of India, London, and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The theme was the economic engagement of the Indian Diaspora with India.
First off to speak were Ms Charu Mathur, CEO, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre; Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chairperson, UK-India Business Council; Mr Deep Kapuria, Chairman, Hi Tech Group; Mr Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Govt. of India and Chairman, OIFC; H.E. Mr Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner of India to the UK; Mr Uday Dholakia, Chairman, Indo-British Trade Council.
The Release of OIFC publications “Opportunities for Economic Engagement for Indian Diaspora in the United Kingdom” & “Doing Business in India – Guide for Indian Diaspora was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the OIFC, the UKIBC, the OIFC AND Gateway Asia.
The first session was on Manufacturing and Infrastructure, looking at opportunities in the “new” India.
Moderated by Mr Deep Kapuria, the panel included Mr Amitabh Kant, Secretary at The Dep’t of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Baroness Sandip Verma, Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Mr Kapil Bakshi, Vice President and Europe Head- Process Engineering L&T Technology Services, Mr Philip Bouverat, Director, JCB, and Mr Vivek Nanda, Principal, AECOM.
Mr Amitabh Kant said in a round table that India has done a number of things to do with the ease of doing business. “Opening up difficult sectors like rail and defence, we’ve put India back onto the growth story. We’ve achieved growth. FDI Investments have gone up by 75% in the last two months; the challenge is to continue this growth story at higher levels over a longer period of time. We’ll see many more reforms unfolding in coming days.”
The feeling among speakers was that there was unprecedented interest outside India as well as inside India as to the London meet and India’s investment future.
A section on Opportunities in Skills Development had as its speakers Mr Atul Bhatnagar, COO, National Skill Development Corporation, Mr Praveen Roy, CEO, Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, Prof Samir Dani, Prof of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Huddersfield University, and Mr Ash Verma, Chairman, Gateway Asia. It was moderated by Mr Divya Baweja, Partner at Deloitte Haskins and Sells.
There was a session on Opportunities for Investors, moderated by Mr Divya Baweja; featuring Mr Kanwar Vivek, Senior President, Yes Bank Ltd, Mr Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Regional Head, State Bank of India UK, Mr Kapil Arora, VP- Strategy and Alliances, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, Mr Dhananjay Dwivedi, Sec, Gen. Admin. Dep’t, Gov’t Gujarat, Mr Sanjay Kumar, Principal Sec. NRI Affairs, Gov’t Punjab, Mr Madhukar Jetley, Advisor, Gov’t Punjab, and Ms Rani George, Sec, Gov’t Kerala.
Next was a session on Energy Distribution Generation and Renewables, moderated by Ms Soma Banerjee, Head (Energy), CII. There was a presentation by Mr Upendra Tripathy, Sec., Min, New and Renewable Energy, Gov’t India, and the discussion was with Lord Christopher Peter Moore, Chief Exec., The Enersel Engine Co. Ltd., Mr P. Saxena, Advisor, Min. New and Renewable Energy, Gov’t India, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, Exec. Dirctor, PTC India Ltd., Mr Sameer Parikh, VP., ILFS Energy Development Co Ltd., and Mr Vijay Goel, Partner, Singhania and Co.
Then came concluding remarks.
Mr Manoj Ladwa, CEO of India Inc., representing the diaspora, gave a powerful speech in which he said that there was now a transformational opportunity with the new Shri Narendrabhai Modi Government in place. He said that there was a new path to development available now. He said that the message was that people of Indian origin matter. The UK-India relationship was very important.
He urged everyone to look at the flagship projects that India was now involved in; 1) Clean Ganga campaign. “The biggest urban regeneration project in the history of mankind. It’ll go on for generations.” 2) Make in India 3) Digital India 4) Technology India 5) Skill India. He recommended that the OIFC should have a bureau in London.
Manoj Ladwa was followed by Mr Deep Kapuria and Mr T. K. Manoj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, who summed up the gravity of the day by stating that with three Government Secretaries present and three State Governments represented, it was clear how seriously the Modi administration was taking the diaspora. He said that the day was a “Hard curtain raiser to the big diaspora meet in January 2015 in Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat, to be followed by one of the largest investment meets in India; “Vibrant Gujarat.”