Summit

 

32rd Skoch Summit - Regaining 8% Growth with Equity, 
6th June 2013, Hyatt Regency Sahar Airport Road Mumbai

Plenary Sessions

An Agenda for 8% Growth with Equity

India’s economy never had it so good as it were in the 2000s when GDP growth averaged 7-8 per cent. For three consecutive years from 2006 to 2008, the economy grew at over 8 per cent, and a new term was coined to describe the growth momentum: ‘the India growth story’. A sustained high growth has lifted millions of the poorest from abject poverty, substantially raised the standard of living of many Indians and helped the government build social safety nets. Sustained high growth rates also enabled the government to introduce a number of programmes for infrastructure development.

However, in the past two years, the momentum has faltered due to a variety of factors, and the two main reasons for this are global economic slowdown and policy logjam at home. Suddenly, all kinds of questions and doubts are being raised about the sustainability of ‘the India growth story’. Was the growth story of the past decade simply overwrought or are we witnessing just a passing phase of deceleration before growth picks up again? With battle to remove poverty and social inequalities remaining undone, and the dream of reaping India’s demographic dividend a higher priority than ever before, there is little room for complacency. The country has to launch the next generation economic reforms and put its fiscal house in order before it wins back the foreign investor’s confidence. A serious stocktaking on fast-tracking investment and reforms in key sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, power, banking, insurance, pensions and capital markets are needed to lift India’s growth rate to the Planning Commission’s projection of over 8 per cent during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. The growth has to be inclusive, it must lead to reduction in poverty and has to be environment friendly.

The 32nd Skoch Summit is designed as an occasion to rethink and reflect on bolder reforms that are required to revive the ‘animal spirits’ of Indian economy. The Summit will shine a new light on some core areas that are central to attaining an inclusive 8 per cent annual GDP growth.

32nd Skoch Summit: Curtain raiser

 

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks: Mr Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group & Dr Deepak B Phatak, IIT-B, Mumbai & Director, Skoch  Development Foundation
  • An agenda for 8% growth: Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planing Commission
  • Mr U K Sinha, Chairman, SEBI
  • Dr K C Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, RBI
  • Ms Chitra Ramkrishna, Managing Director & CEO, NSE
  • Mr Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation (India)
  • Ms Stuti Kacker, Secretary, Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
  • Mr S S Tarapore, Distinguished Fellow, Skoch Development Foundation

 

Role of reforms and technology in pushing growth

 

One lesson from economic reforms since 1991 is that only when it is tethered to governance reforms through application of technology, inclusive socioeconomic growth could become a reality. The 32nd Skoch Summit probes some relevant issues on the role of technology in pushing governance and economic reforms in the country. Technology is an important element because it makes the goal of improving public services delivery and hearing directly from the people a lot easier. India’s highspeed broadband connectivity infrastructure is woefully inadequate. E-governance that began with much fanfare during the previous decade is still caught up in bureaucratic maze and still works in silos. Shouldn’t India talk and act big on smart governance technologies, cloud, big data, new-age analytics to transform the ways and means in which government is run and cities address complex challenges of a rapidly urbanising society? Can many state-level innovative ICT-exemplars be replicated at the larger national platforms? An imaginative use of ICT and new-age technologies can address many of the structural and procedural shortcomings of an ailing governance system, thereby accelerating growth with equity. The big question is whether the leadership is ready to bet on technology.

 

  • Moderated by: Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Chairperson, ICRIER
  • Ms Suneeta Trivedi, Member (Planning), Department of Posts
  • Dr Deepali Pant-Joshi, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India
  • Mr Sandeep Mathur, Managing Director, Oracle India
  • Mr Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary - IT, Government of Maharashtra
  • Mr A V Girija Kumar, General Manager & Executive Director, National Insurance Company

13:00-13:40 Lunch Break

Translating growth into equitable growth

 

Today, even as India’s economy stands at the threshold of crossing the $2 trillion mark, it is continuing to pass through a difficult phase. Growth has slowed, investment flows have decelerated, inflation is a potent threat and the government faces multiple fiscal challenges. Key social indicators of education, health and poverty alleviation register tardy progress. The fiscal and current account deficits have rocketed. Over and above all, there is the bigger question of challenges facing governance. We need to resolve these issues, if we have to achieve a sustained, socially inclusive high growth. Reforming public services delivery is critical to cut the red tape and corruption that hinders equitable growth. Decentralisation of power will open new avenues to improve the ethos of participatory democracy at the grassroots, shifting the power back to the third tier of governance. Much needs to be done to attain decentralisation and participatory democracy as proposed through 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution. What’s the trade-off between cost of social equity and higher economic growth? Which are the measures that promise equity-enhancing with minimal chances of upsetting economic growth? How can such policy complementarities be achieved?

 

  • Moderated by: Dr Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group
  • Dr Smita Premchander, Secretary, Sampark
  • Mr Ashok Kumar Goel, Chairman, ItzCash Card
  • Mr Atanu Sen, Managing Director & CEO, SBI Life Insurance
  • Mr Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, Chairman and Managing Director, Bandhan Financial Services
  • Mr K K Soni, General Manager,  Indian Overseas Bank

Regaining the growth momentum

 

India started the current fiscal year on a sluggish note, and it is a challenge to achieve the 12th Five-Year Plan’s goal of 8 per cent GDP growth rate for the second year. According to the Plan document, such a feat is possible only if India is able to take bold and politically difficult policy decisions in core areas of the economy. They range from sprucing up investment climate (reviving investor sentiment, easing business environment, cutting red-tape on investment decisions), fiscal consolidation (reduction of current account and fiscal deficits, and control of subsidies), removal of foreign investment caps, and reforming land acquisition, agriculture and labour laws, amongst others. Though economic slowdown in the West has affected our economic growth, the persisting climate of political indecision at home is no less a cause of concern. The government’s key priority should be to take firm policy decisions to do away with the procedural and institutional irritants that stymie big-ticket investment. A big push to pending infrastructure projects will reverse the slide in investor confidence. How realistic is the government’s hope of Cabinet Committee on Investment speeding up clearances for large projects? Is the current policy direction in sync with the core objectives of the Plan document? What micro and macroeconomic policy changes and follow-through measures are needed to achieve the 8 per cent growth objective? Will it open up sectors that were out-of-bounds to foreign investment? Will the government push big ticket-reforms as general elections near? Can the government stick to its fiscal consolidation plans? These are some of the questions the Skoch Summit seeks to address.

 

  • Keynote by Chair: Mr Rajiv Takru, Secretary - Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance
  • Moderated by: Dr Ashima Goyal, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
  • Ms Saloni Ramakrishna, Senior Director - Financial Services Analytics & Global Solution Leader - Customer Insight, Oracle Financial Services
  • Mr R K Dubey, Chairman and Managing Director, Canara Bank
  • Mr M G Sanghvi, Chairman & Managing Director, Syndicate Bank
  • Mr R K Goyal, Executive Director, Central Bank of India

An Agenda for India’s Growth

 

This is a first public discussion on the book “An Agenda for India’s Growth: Essays in Honour of P Chidambaram,” edited by Mr Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group. The book deals with a wide range of issues: fiscal and monetary policies, strengthening financial inclusion, revitalising agriculture, buoying stock markets, policy on natural resources, external trade reforms, urban infrastructure renewal and security aspects to growth. Growth-inducing measures in each of these areas would promote real inclusion than many of the unproductive freebies and subsidies. Successful transition to a new growth model is certainly possible given that the governance and economic policies are adequately aligned. The volume offers perceptive analyses on these topics and also charts out the clear roadmap for a growth oriented, caring and compassionate agenda for the country’s future.

 

Introduction Mr Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group

Opening Remarks: Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra

  • Dr Surjit S Bhalla, Chairman, Oxus Research & Investments
  • Mr Ravi Narain, Vice Chairman, NSE
  • Dr Rajiv B Lall, Executive Chairman, IDFC
  • Dr Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group
  • Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

Special Address Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Finance Minister