The world’s top leaders and corporate crème de la crème have descended on the Swiss ski resort of Davos to brainstorm on ways to infuse fresh ballast into the global economy. This year, it will be India’s moment at the World Economic Forum in Davos as the world’s fastest growing economy pitches to garner investments to sustain the ongoing economic resurgence.
With the Chinese economy sinking to its lowest in 25 years, India will be looking to capitalise on China’s slowdown to flaunt the upbeat growth projections by world’s leading financial institutions.
More than 2,500 top leaders, including over 50 heads of state or government and CEOs of about 1,000 top MNCs, would focus on “improving the state of the world” over the next five days. The summit is expected to have more than 300 sessions at the 46th WEF Annual Meeting. The theme of the Davos summit is ‘Mastering fourth Industrial revolution’. The agenda for the summit would focus on acute challenges of geo-economics, global security, public health, education, gender parity and climate change. The key issues that are expected to be dissected at the forum include the “new normal” global growth and falling commodity prices.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, accompanied by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and other senior government functionaries, will be looking to showcase the India opportunity. India Inc. would be represented by more than 100 business leaders, including top CEOs like Mukesh Ambani, Cyrus Mistry, Chanda Kochhar, Anand Mahindra, Azim Premji, Rahul Bajaj and Uday Kotak.
Mr Jaitley would participate in a session on ‘India and the World’ where the theme would be how can India be a global resource for innovation, growth and talent. He would also discuss ‘Asia’s Era of Infrastructure’ in another session, and would also be on the panel at the last official session of the summit on January 23 to discuss ‘The Global Economic Outlook’ along with IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Britain’s Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne.
The slowdown in Chinese markets and the resultant impact on the global economy are expected to dominate the discussions. India has been projected as the only ‘bright spot’ in an otherwise gloomy world economy by institutions like IMF and World Bank.
India’s Global competitiveness
Growing at 7.5 percent, India climbed a total of 16 places in one year to 55th worldwide in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. India’s performance is one of the strongest seen anywhere in the world. This leap in the ranking has finally stalled a decline in India’s ranking that began back in 2008, when the economy was growing at a healthy 8.5 per cent rather than the 5 per cent rate in recent years.
“The country’s competitiveness, along with its economic growth, had been declining since, with last year representing a nadir as India ranked 71st,” the WEF said. Last year, the index highlighted infrastructure and the country’s institutions as particularly problematic areas which were ranked 70th and 87th respectively. India has witnessed progress in both these areas, with its institutions climbing 10 places to 60th, and infrastructure moving up by six to 81st.
India’s reforms have been acknowledged and appreciated by the WEF in recent times. “These reforms are also beginning to bear fruit: improving infrastructure means removing a key bottleneck to growth and investment and allowing key areas of the economy – farming and manufacturing, for example – to become more productive,” WEF said.
The visible improvement in the macroeconomic indicators of the country would help India in showcasing the fundamentals of its economy which are strong.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
Discussions on the Fourth Industrial Revolution would focus on the ongoing transformation of society and economy through cutting-edge technology and innovations. It would focus on the progress made in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of science.
(Sridhar Ramaswamy contributed inputs for this article)
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