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Optics at play will make CII business summit an interesting watch

Optics at play will make CII business summit an interesting watch

Scheduled to be held while the general elections are on, what will be particularly interesting to look out for at the CII Annual Business Summit 2024 would be the extent to which attendees factor in the ongoing polls.

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Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 05:36 IST
Last Updated : 15 May 2024, 05:36 IST
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Scheduled to be held just before the fifth phase of the ongoing seven-phase general elections, it would be interesting to watch the optics at play during the CII Annual Business Summit 2024 on May 17-18 with its chosen theme of ‘Co-creating the Future Responsibly: Role of Business’.

This is interesting — and intriguing — because annual business gatherings of India’s apex industry bodies being held when general elections are underway is a rarity. Also, would the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s  Model Code of Conduct come in the way of government representatives making any new policy announcements during the summit? The fifth phase of polls will take place two days after the summit, on May 20.

As per the programme details, the Union ministers slated to speak at the CII event are Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Besides a clutch of secretaries to the Union government, other noted domestic speakers include 16th Finance Commission Chairman Arvind Panagariya, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Suman Berry, Niti Aayog member Vijay Kumar Saraswat, High Level Committee on Simultaneous Elections member N K Singh, and India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant.

What would be particularly interesting to look out for during the two-day CII event would be the extent to which attendees at the meeting factor in the ongoing elections while articulating:

  • The big bets that India needs to take for ensuring sustained economic growth of close to double digits year-on-year for more than two decades to realise the target it has set for itself of becoming a developed nation by 2047

  • The strategy India must put in place to make sure that targeted growth does not increase regional imbalances, and the benefits of growth trickle down to cover all citizens

  • The ecosystem that needs creation for generating more, new, and better-quality jobs

  • How artificial intelligence (AI) can be visibly made to work for all

  • How the needle can be moved significantly on climate finance, and sustainability

Will those representing the Union government reiterate existing positions on the issues mentioned earlier, or provide a hint of what is in the works on many of these aspects?

Nothing could be better than the event leading to some actionable suggestions coming through on how India can move to the Top-10 in the Global Innovation Index (GII), how the country can produce unicorns in the cleantech and climate tech domains, etc., since these topics are often not discussed sufficiently.

While the crème de la crème from the business fraternity will attend the CII event, it is more than likely that the ‘doing well by doing good’ philosophy would come across forcefully during their speeches in keeping with the theme chosen for the programme. Business leaders may make it a point to highlight that stakeholder capitalism is what they have always stood for.

Although India has significantly improved its Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking from 81 in 2015 to 40 in 2023, it still lags many of its Asian peers. The GII 2023 ranking placed China in the 12th spot and Hong Kong in the 17th position. Singapore and South Korea were ranked five and 10, respectively. Other Asian nations that were ahead of India were Japan (13), the United Arab Emirates (32), and Malaysia (36).

What could also discussed at the meet is the fact that despite having more than 100,000 recognised startups as of 2023 and multiple unicorns, India still does not have a single unicorn in the cleantech and climate tech segments.

(Sumali Moitra is a current affairs commentator. Views expressed are personal. X: @sumalimoitra)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.

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