Chief Guest Mr Uday Kotak Speaks on ‘The Role of India in the Emerging World Order’
Chief Guest Mr Uday Kotak Speaks on ‘The Role of India in the Emerging World Order’
L-R: Nilesh Shah, President, Bombay Chamber and Group President & MD, Kotak Mahindra AMC; Mr Uday Kotak, Managing Director & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Dr Sandeep Shastri, Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal and Mr Ritesh Tiwari, Sr. Vice President, Bombay Chamber & CFO, Hindustan Unilever ltd. & Unilever South Asia
01 December 2022, Mumbai: The Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry celebrated its 187 th Foundation Day at the Taj President on 30 th November 2022. The momentous occasion, which had Mr Uday Kotak, Managing Director & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank as the Chief Guest, and Dr Sandeep Shastri, Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal, as the Guest of Honour, saw luminaries from across industries attend an evening of thought-provoking talks and discussions, on India’s position on the economic and financial front and its political prospects in the run-up to the 2024 General Election.
Welcoming the audience, Mr Nilesh Shah, President, Bombay Chamber spoke about the illustrious past of the Chamber, which formally came into existence on 22nd September 1836. He applauded the stellar contribution and guidance from the past Presidents of the Chamber and reiterated the role of the Chamber in the development of Mumbai as a city and its continued emphasis on ‘Corporates for Change.’ Mr Shah also spoke about the Chamber’s ongoing programmes and its aim to double its membership through the ‘Each One Get One’ Membership Referral Drive.
In his Keynote address, Mr Kotak spoke about how Mumbai and India, as a nation, need to start thinking out of the box to be able to change destiny and reach a different paradigm from where it is currently. He highlighted the importance of the topic, the Role of India in the Emerging World Order, and how the nation can redesign itself in this new world order. The past two years have been tumultuous – with Covid 19 and the geopolitical changes brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war. While, India has come out stronger and better positioned as compared to the other countries – both in terms of how we tackled the Covid-19 pandemic and our positioning in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, there is a need to challenge the status quo and not be complacent.
Mr Kotak urged businesses to make themselves more competitive in the international market, without just being content with the large domestic market that buys goods and services. According to him, true Atmanirbharta will be when India makes ends meet without depending on foreign investment and welcomes foreign investment on its own terms. Mr Kotak hoped for a time when Bombay Chamber celebrates its 200 th Foundation Day in a truly Atmanirbhar India, with the country’s P&L account at least neutral and to make that the goal that the business, trade services and manufacturing sector focus on. He added that India, and the Bombay Chamber, should take a lead in growing India’s manufacturing, competitively. Mr Kotak also said that for the country to transform and emerge even stronger there is a need for more teachers and judges.
In his address, Dr Sandeep Shastri, political scientist who has been the Pro Vice Chancellor of Jagran Lakecity University for the past decade, looked at the future political prospects of the country in the light of the 2024 General Election. He identified 3-Bs – the Battle in the states, the Battle in the regions and the Battle of perceptions – to keenly watch for in the next 18 months, as they could change the entire narrative of the 2024 outcome. According to him, at the state level, in those states where there is weak state-level leadership, it is the centre that has had to push the state. An important aspect to look at is how much the centre pushes the states and maintains the momentum for the next 18 months.
Concerning the battle of regions, while the BJP was able to maintain their strike rate in North, West and Central India, and add North East India to the tally in 2019, the challenge in 2024 will be to maintain this high strike rate and add the south region, to ensure it is an all-India picture. He added that 2024 will also be critical states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra. Further, elections have today also become perception battles, where the ground realities may be vastly different from the perception that people bring with them when they go to the voting centre.
The evening also saw many questions being put forward by the audience and some highly insightful responses to the same. The event ended with a Vote of Thanks by Mr Ritesh Tiwari, Sr. Vice President, Bombay Chamber, who thanked the Speakers and the Audience for their invigorating talks and consistent support.
About Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry: Established in 1836, the Bombay Chamber is the oldest Chamber of Commerce in India. The Chamber’s membership constitutes several thousand corporate members (more than 60% being MSMEs) across different industries. The Chamber has a long tradition of Institution building and promoting trade and commerce in India.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry organised a networking event with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Türkiye (DEİK)’s Türkiye- India Business Council, led by the Turkish Consulate General in Mumbai.
Speaking at the event, Mr Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber briefed about the legacy of Bombay Chamber and highlighted some of the Chamber’s major initiatives in the area of international trade and commerce.
Mr Huseyin Aydin, Commercial Attache, Consulate General Turkey spoke about the initiatives undertaken by the Consulate and offered to extend their support to Indian businesses interested in exploring business opportunities with Turkey.
The delegation was led by Ms Hülya Gedik , Chairman of Gedik Holding A.Ş and Chairman (representing Turkiye) of DEİK’s Türkiye-India Business Council accompanied by 10 Turkish companies (members of the Türkiye-India Council) representing different sectors such as Logistics and Warehousing, Welding services, Engineering Consulting, Electronics, Waste Recycling, Construction Material, Agribusiness and Tourism.
The Foreign Economic Relations Board of Türkiye (DEİK)’s Türkiye – India Business Council and Turkish Consulate General in Mumbai expressed their interest to explore opportunities for collaboration to unleash partnership and promote bilateral trade and investment activities, along with the Bombay Chamber.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Society for Mumbai Incubation Lab to Entrepreneurship (SMILE), an initiative of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mutual cooperation to support Civic Tech Startups.
The MoU was signed by Smt Ashwini Bhide, IAS, Additional Municipal commissioner (E.S) and Mr Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber in the presence of the dignitaries.
The SMILE Innovation Summit was organised by the SMILE Council in association with Bombay Chamber on the occasion of 3rd Incorporation day of the SMILE initiative.
SMILE Council and Bombay Chamber will collaborate to facilitate a platform for budding civic tech entrepreneurs to convert ideas into viable business propositions, maximising welfare of the society with a focus on Mumbai.
The Energy Conservation Bill 2022, recently passed by the Lok Sabha, an amendment of the Energy Conservation Act 2001, aims to fasten the transition towards a low-carbon economy and strengthen the usage of non-fossil fuel energy sources within the heavy industries sector.
Keeping with its continuous work towards enhancing dialogue between the Government and industry players, the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with Reliance Industries, organised a virtual seminar to discuss the Takeaways from Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022. Welcoming the audience, Mr Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber, spoke about initiatives of Bombay Chamber under the Power & Infrastructure domain.
Ms Shalu Agrawal, Senior Programme Lead, CEEW, moderator of the panel discussion on ‘Key Takeaways from Energy Conservation Amendment Bill 2022,’ spoke about the background of the bill and key proposals, and briefed upon some of the pathbreaking provisions of the bill, such as how it is empowering the central government to specify energy consumption standards, a carbon credit trading scheme and energy conservation code for buildings. She highlighted the implications of these changes on the economy and how they will pave the way to achieve the target of a net zero economy by 2070.
Mr Prasanth Regy, Consultant (Energy), NITI Aayog discussed the implications of the carbon trading market and its pricing structure. He gave two perspectives to decide the framework of carbon pricing and recommended learning from the experiences of countries that have already implemented the policy, such as the EU, Canada and China, which has helped them reduce carbon emissions to a great extent with negligible cost to the economy.
Mr Shirish S Garud, Director, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) appreciated the revolutionary step of introducing the carbon trading market in India. He highlighted the issues affecting the energy sector in India and the challenges that may occur while implementing the policy, such as integration with the global market.
Mr Suresh Kumar Narang, CEO, Nabha Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro, projected recent data which showed that India is heavily dependent upon fossil fuel even today for its energy needs. However, as per COP26 commitments, India is committed to cutting its emission to net zero by 2070. Mr Narang also addressed the present financial health of distribution agencies which is weak and is likely to be a concern in implementing the changes. He added that while implementing the policy and for the transition to succeed, a healthy ecosystem should be created by protecting the interest of each stakeholder and making it commercially viable.
The MSME sector suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic but showed exemplary fortitude in conquering the battles of survival in 2020 and 2021, with many rising above the adverse effects of COVID-19. Today, when many of these SMEs are beginning to show signs of rapid revenue and margin growth, expert interventions/advice/institutional support in empowering them with capabilities to grow can make a big difference. The same applies to several smaller manufacturing firms that have lagged behind the growth curve shown by mid-sized enterprises.
With this background, the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), one of the oldest chambers in the country and a pioneer in supporting the development of commerce and trade, has joined hands with the Wadhwani Advantage (SME-led initiative of the Wadhwani Foundation), the pathbreaking and innovative SME focused program that started in 2019, to launch ‘SME GrowthDrive’, to help the 2000 strong BCCI SME members to grow from 2x to 10x.
SME GrowthDrive is a go-to destination initiative, providing high-quality diagnostic transformation consulting, learning and networking offerings to SME members of BCCI in collaboration with experts at Wadhwani Advantage. This initiative will select and prepare SME Entrepreneurs and Top Management to be, hungry-for-growth, willing to professionalise and committed to learning.
Speaking about the initiative, Mr Sandeep Khosla, Director General, BCCI, said, “The last two years have negatively impacted SME businesses. To support them in their recovery process, the Bombay Chamber has initiated multiple projects, leveraging our strong membership base of large corporations who can provide their expertise in guiding BCCI’s SME members. Our partnership with the Wadhwani Foundation is a step towards supporting our SME members.”
Elaborating on the partnership, Mr Samir Sathe, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation, said, “We are excited to partner with BCCI to kick off this first-of-its-kind initiative to help their SME members through Wadhwani Advantage, which is a pioneering global program blending empowerment, consulting and practical hand-holding support, solving knowledge, time, talent and funding issues of SMEs, holistically. We hope to deliver the expected outcomes to the SME beneficiaries leveraging each other’s strengths and creating a unique case study for others to emulate.”
Mr Rajan Raje, Chair of The MSME Committee, BCCI and Director – Nichem Solutions, said, “MSME plays a vital role in the National Economy. It is a feeder to Middle and Large Enterprises. Hence, it will play an important role in the country reaching a 10 trillion dollar economy. Thus achieving the necessary skill set and professionalism is very important for the MSME sector. BCCI realised this and took the initiative to offer credible support to this sector. Their partnership with Wadhwani Foundation is the first step in this direction. Wadhwani Foundation, with its pool of experts, will effectively drive this Polyclinic!”
BCCI & Wadhwani Advantage (WA) will combine their respective strengths to bring the following advantages of SME GrowthDrive, which are differentiators to any other support systems available elsewhere.
SME GrowthDrive Program Summary:
On April 1, 2014, India became the first country to make Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandatory, with the introduction of Section 135 in the Companies Act 2013. This move added a renewed impetus to the country’s path towards bringing greater levels of transformational public-private partnerships and realising India’s commitment to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The recent CSR Conclave, organised by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, titled India’s new CSR Regime: A Gamechanger, saw knowledge-driven sessions featuring expert minds deliberating on the new CSR mandate, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) factors and creating impactful CSR strategies.
Mr Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber, welcomed the keynote speakers Shri. Jayant Sinha, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Parliament of India and BJP Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, Mrs Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development and Mr Keki Mistry, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, HDFC, panellists and guests to the Conclave.
Setting the theme for the Conclave, Ms Anjali Bansal, Immediate Past President, Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Founder, Avaana Capital spoke about how CSR in India has undergone a metamorphosis from being a comply or explain approach, to a statutory obligation. Further, the role of a company’s board of directors in CSR implementation has increased significantly, from approving the budget of CSR projects, to overseeing the implementation of projects, approving their budget, and having oversight of the impact assessment of the CSR activities. Ms Anjali emphasised the importance of transitioning from just CSR to building shared corporate values and communities and transforming corporate behaviour.
In his Keynote address on Getting to the Green Frontier, Mr Jayant Sinha raised concerns about a sustainable future and what we need to do to work towards a green frontier. The variability in the weather globally, and in India, has left current policies unsustainable, leading to significant stress on India and the Indian agricultural harvests, causing food insecurity. Hence, as per Mr Sinha, there is a need to move from the current farm to factory development format that is modelled on international standards, towards the green frontier. According to Mr Sinha, the need is to bend the carbon emissions curve and show that net zero is net positive.
In her address, Ms Rajashree Birla spoke about how the CSR law signals a watershed moment by enabling and enhancing the base of the underprivileged and becoming an opportunity for businesses to be a part of the Indian economy. She also shared Aditya Birla Group’s learnings in CSR, over the decades.
In his Keynote address, Mr Keki Mistry spoke about how the CSR mandate offers an opportunity for corporates to participate in the fulfillment of the SDGs, and during times of crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Mistry spoke about how, while India’s CSR has matured to an extent where we have seen benefits, and have developed our competencies internally, moving towards strategic CSR, there have been regional imbalances and imbalances in thrust areas, particularly senior citizens and certain geographies that are yet not under CSR funding. He also addressed the need for ESG integration and changing goal posts because of geo-political reasons.
The first session saw an informative discussion on the topic of CSR Compliance: The Paradigm Shift. Moderated by Ms Aabha Ganjoo, Country Development Manager, BASF India, the panel had Mr Bahram Vakil, Founder & Senior Partner, AZB & Partners, Mr Ritesh Tiwari, Senior Vice President, Bombay Chamber and CFO, Hindustan Unilever and Unilever South Asia and Mr Noshir Dadrawala, CEO, Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, discuss on how CSR has undergone a paradigm shift and has now been brought into the boardroom. The panel clarified specific rules in CSR, and also mentioned that there was too much compliance, making it onerous for many companies. Their message to the government was that, as there is an ease of doing business, there should also be ease of doing good, as well. Further, NGOs need to gear up capacity and corporates need to strategise, while CSR funds should be thrust towards ESG as we move along.
The second panel, moderated by Ms Jyoti Kumar Bansal, Chief – Sustainability, CSR, Branding & Communications, TATA Power, had panel members Mr Pankaj Dhandharia, Partner and Markets Leader, EY India and Mr Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy, Co-Founder and CEO, Sattva Consulting, deliberate on the topic ‘An impactful CSR strategy,’ and how with CSR being mandated, corporates need to focus on impact and put that out for stakeholders to see. The discussion veered towards the importance of strategising the large outlay of CSR funds with a good impact on the socio-economic development of the country. This panel also stressed how CSR has matured from random activities to purpose-driven strategies and how it is important to look at creating multipliers through innovation and collaboration.
The Fireside chat, featuring Mr S. Anjani Kumar, Senior Partner, Deloitte India in conversation with Amit Sachdeva, CSR Man of India, Ambassador of SDG Choupal initiative of NITI Aayog and Editor-in-chief of CSR Good Book, attempted to decipher how CSR integrates into ESG and how this can be linked into corporate strategies. Mr Sachdeva mentioned how this has to be intertwined with the strategy and not just about clever accounting and PR. However, there is also a need to keep cultural contexts and concepts in mind while measuring CSR.
Ms Pearl Tiwari, Chairperson, CSR Committee Bombay Chamber and President (CSR & Sustainability), Ambuja Cements, closed the session by explaining how the CSR mandate in India is a big opportunity to make businesses sustainable with a great reputation, as well as provide them a platform to participate in nation building.
In a country like India, which has a huge and ever-growing capital funding requirement, the importance of a corporate debt market cannot be highlighted enough. Despite policy pushes and various measures that have been introduced on the regulatory front, India’s corporate debt market is still largely untapped.
The panel discussion organised by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry saw two knowledge-driven sessions from industry experts who gave their insights on the topic of Corporate Debt Market in India: Issues and Challenges.
Opening the event, Mr Nilesh Shah, President, Bombay Chamber, Group President & Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra AMC and Part-Time Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, spoke about the Chamber’s role in acting as a bridge between civil society, government and its member organisations. He also highlighted the two contradicting factors present in the debt market today – our infrastructure which is at par with the best in the world, and the need to have a more efficient and vibrant debt market, especially with India looking to grow from about 3.5 trillion dollar GDP to a higher level, to provide capital for funding that kind of growth.
The keynote speaker, Shri T. Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor, RBI, laid the grounds for the discussions, highlighting the importance of corporate bonds, the concerted efforts the Government, SEBI and the Reserve Bank have been taking to facilitate the development of the corporate bond market in India, the current status of resource mobilisation through the market, liquidity metrics that exist in the market, development of the complementary market and the need to focus on improving complementary– repo and derivative – markets, diversifying the investor base, both domestic and global, improving access of borrowers at the lower end of the credit spectrum and tempering expectations around the secondary market.
The first session, moderated by Ms Latha Venkatesh, Executive Editor CNBC, saw an insightful discussion by panellists, Mr Nilesh Shah, Group President & MD, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co. Ltd, Mr Neeraj Gambhir, Group Executive, Axis Bank, Mr Jayesh Mehta, MD & Country Treasurer, Bank Of America, on the topic Learnings from the Past and Present to Create A Vibrant Debt Market Future.
The second session, moderated by Mr Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Consulting Editor, Business Standard, saw eminent speakers Mr Rajiv Anand, Deputy Managing Director, Axis Bank, Mr Abizer Diwanji, Head Financial Services, Ernst & Young LLP, Mr Suresh Krishnamurthy, Senior Director – Market Intelligence & Analytic CRISIL, Prof Ananth Narayan, Associate Professor(Adjunct), Finance & Economics, SPJIMR, share their insights on the topic, Role Of Debt Market – Funding India’s Journey To $5 Trillion Economy.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a networking event with the support of the Royal Danish Embassy, New Delhi for companies within the energy, water, health and agriculture sectors, focusing on the sustainability agenda. This aligns with Denmark’s Green Strategic Partnership with India.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber briefed on the legacy of the Bombay Chamber and highlighted the Bombay chamber’s initiative under the ADB project on Internationalisation of SMEs/ Startups.
Ms. Anjali Bansal, President, Bombay Chamber emphasised on the Bombay Chamber’s initiative in the areas of Sustainability, Digital, Water, Energy, Agriculture and Startups. She also spoke about the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in the country, which has helped India leapfrog from fixed line mobility to now having among the lowest cost, largest data networks in the world.
Mr. Søren Nørrelund Kannik-Marquardsen, Minister Commercial Counsellor and Head of the Trade Council, New Delhi & Regional Coordinator South Asia, spoke about Denmark’s relationship with india, which dates back to 1620, when an agreement was reached between the local King in Thanjavur and the Danish King, Christian the 4th, for the lease of land at the town of Tranquebar. He also briefed the participating companies on emerging business opportunities in Denmark and available platforms for collaboration. Denmark will be hosting the World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, bringing together water professionals and engaging the water-consuming industry.
The Consul General, Head of Trade & Innovation at the Consulate General of Denmark in Bangalore, Mr. Eske Bo Rosenberg, shared his insights on collaborating with Danish companies. He also highlighted some of the initiatives that they have launched, including the establishment of a Centre of Excellences in Green Hydrogen and UNLEASH 2022 – an SDG solutions lab gathering 1000 talents from around the world on the Infosys Campus in Mysore in December. Innovation Centre Denmark Bangalore is working with Local bodies, Industry / Corporates, Academia, and Startups to promote innovation, trade and investment opportunities.
The Royal Danish Embassy and the Innovation Centre of Denmark, along with the Bombay Chamber also expressed their interest to explore opportunities for collaboration and promoting bilateral trade and investment activities.
Some of the Indian companies who were present at the meeting were FarmDidi, GMCL Village Herbs, Waycool Foods, Nichem Solutions, GFresh Agrotech, Prognostics In-med, Epocare, InterGest South Asia, Dgtl Innovations and Tisser Artisans and Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco), PIVOT Management Consulting, Ideabridge (Plus Innovations Technologies LLP), SustLabs, EcoScoot Mobility.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Center of Information and Investment Consultant – Invest Global (a part of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mutual cooperation to support bilateral trade and investment.
The MoU was signed by Mr. Sandeep Khosla, Director General, Bombay Chamber and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, General Director of Invest Global (Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises) in the presence of the Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Mumbai.
The networking event was organised by the Bombay Chamber with Invest Global and the Consulate General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Mumbai, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of India – ViệtNam Diplomatic Relations.
Invest Global and Bombay Chamber will be working together by engaging in Trade and Investment promotion activities, across industrial sectors to assist Vietnamese businesses with their expansion plans in India and vice versa.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry released EnablHERs of Change, a book on Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity, at the monthly Board Meeting held at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club on July 21.
The publication, which focuses on women as enablers of economic growth, covers the conclave which was held on April 20, 2022 and includes articles from members of the industry, on a range of topics such as Financial Inclusivity, Empowering Women to become Enablers of Change, SEWA’s role in transforming the livelihoods of women working in the salt pans, Women’s Education, among others.
The Board Meeting also saw Mr Rajiv Jalota, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust present a riveting account of the formation of the Bombay Port Trust and the role of Bombay Chambers in it, along with ongoing and planned projects as part of Maritime India Vision 2030 and Vision 2047.
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