Eastern Region Annual Economic Summit – Financial Inclusions
AMCHAM’s Eastern Region hosted the 13th President of India, the Honorable Dr. Pranab Mukherjee at the iconic heritage hotel The Lalit, Great Eastern on November 20th, 2017 over high tea. Dr. Mukherjee addressed AMCHAM members, business leaders and members of the diplomatic community on inclusive growth. He spoke about AMCHAM and the work that it covers. He said that AMCHAM India, though still a very young organization just completed 25 years, its growth had contributed to enhance U.S. trade and industry in India by contributing to the success of U.S. companies operating in the country. He said AMCHAM advocates for an equitable, transparent and predictable operating environment in trade between the U.S. and India, and that U.S. companies operating in India contributed to information technology, industrial goods, retail and consumer products, financial services, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, amongst others. This also created employment opportunites in India.
Dr. Mukherjee said that the last few years has seen global unanimity on the need to achieve a more holistic approach for economic growth, which is increasingly regarded as a prerequisite to sustainable development. While the idea of attaining a socially-inclusive approach has taken wind, the past decade has seen only limited progress in developing a targeted and tangible framework to direct policy and reforms. He said that the new world has increasingly being distinguished by a swelling inclination toward disruptive technological base, however, he said that what is required is a general consensus on mapping a differential path which goes beyond the standard monetary and fiscal measures that can systematically resolve the issue of slow growth and rising inequality. He mentioned that by going by past experiments, many countries have failed in satisfying social expectations in this regard. It is, however, important to understand what inclusive growth is. Dr. Mukherjee said that inclusive growth is not restricted to transactional behavior with which businesses work, but there exists an exchange relationship between general economic growth and well-being which includes education, health and redistribution. It is important to recognize that there are several structural aspects that influence the scope of social participation. He said that nations that have effectively included its middle class in nation building, have been efficient in reducing poverty and mitigating marginalization of certain social classes have also tended to develop effective economic institutions and policy incentives.
He said that, inclusive growth is an essential element that defines a sustainable growth path for the economy and encompasses not just top-line growth but also involves expansion of economic opportunity to marginalized sections of the society, providing them with means to education, health and equal opportunity. For a developing nation like India, this continues to remain a major challenge where income disparities remain a growing concern. Close to 600 million people living in rural India remain outside the scope of inclusive growth and have been largely side-lined from participating in broad-based economic growth. A major challenge for India, which is expected to see a boom in working age population, is to chalk out plans to attain optimal growth that is achieved not only through all-inclusive participation but also seeps to all section of the society. However, inclusive growth is not just based on providing necessary infrastructure and equal opportunity, but is also based on a multidimensional approach towards education and skills development.
Mr. Debdas Sen, Chairman – Eastern Region, AMCHAM, formally introduced the Honorable Dr. Mukherjee, Mr. Gulshan Sachdev, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM, proposed the vote of thanks and closing note. Ms. Amada Kidwai, Regional Director – Eastern Region, AMCHAM, gave the welcome remarks.