New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI/SRV Media): “We need to invigorate the ecosystem in this country, promote start-ups and make our public sectors, science, and technology establishments come closer to the ground reality and become accountable and responsive to the needs of the changing world and changing innovators,” said Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog at the first on-ground engagement of Thought Leaders of India.
Dr. Kumar was delivering the Chief Guest’s address at the Leadership Series of Thought Leaders of India at ITC Maurya, New Delhi last week.
The engagement, organised for the members of this exclusive business community created under the aegis of Sapphire Connect, was a part of its Nation Building Impact initiative and Learning Impact Initiative. Dr. Kumar was the Chief Guest and athlete Dr. Deepa Malik, who has been conferred upon with various prestigious awards including Padma Shri, Arjuna Award and the Khel Ratna Award, was the Motivational Speaker at this engagement.
In his address, Dr. Kumar spoke on the government’s ambitious plan to propel India into the new age and called for a collaborative approach from all stakeholders. Dr. Kumar said, “NITI Aayog wants to work on ideas which will be useful for the new India and for a very rapidly changing Indian ecosystem – both the innovation system and the investment system. NITI Aayog is about receiving good ideas, responding to them, developing them and putting them in the system, where they can be nurtured and scaled up”.
Dr. Kumar’s address was followed by an engaging tete-a-tete between him and Ankit Bansal, Founder & CEO of Sapphire Human Solutions. To Mr. Bansal’s question on where does India currently stands on its target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy, Dr. Kumar said, “That target is slowly pushed out because we pretty much lost two years to the pandemic.” To reverse the impact of the COVID19 pandemic Dr. Kumar highlighted the government is working towards achieving 8% growth in the coming years. Dr. Kumar emphasised that India should not restrict itself to being just a USD 5 trillion economy, he said, “We should now strive for a double-digit growth. Some states have already achieved it, and now the entire country should aim for it”. In this candid conversation Mr. Bansal also asked Dr. Kumar what were his top three priorities as the Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Dr. Kumar replied saying “For me the top three priorities are innovation, agriculture, and education.”
Members of Thought Leaders of India too posed questions post the tete-a-tete. Opining that it is inaccurate to assume India will be the default destination for organisations exiting China, Mr. Sudhakar Adapa, MD, Talentvouch asked, “What would NITI Aayog do to encourage more companies to set-up base in India?” Dr. Kumar replied that the government is seriously trying to change the global perception that it is very difficult to do business in India. “I am not very concerned about companies moving out of China”, he said. “The more important thing is that we need to take much more care of our domestic investors. If we do that, the word will go out and for me, that is the key. FDI only gives you 3-4% and 97% of investment come from domestic investors, and that is where NITI Aayog is focused upon”.
Paralympian Dr. Deepa Malik spoke on the topic ‘Conquer Your Mind, The Rest Will Follow’ under the Meet the Maestros segment of TLOI’s Learning Impact Initiative. She took the business leaders through her life’s journey and emphasised upon winning the battle we all have within ourselves with the message: “Win over your minds first”. Having been paralysed from her chest below at a very young age, Dr. Malik shared one of the key lessons she taught herself, “Whenever there is a problem, switch to the solution mode, and then you will be able to find happiness”. Sharing her journey of transformation despite the negative comments from society Dr. Malik said, “Apang (disabled) Deepa, bojha (burden) Deepa, liability Deepa, sad Deepa, became biker Deepa, rallyist Deepa, Swimmer Deepa.”
Dr. Malik stressed on the need for a change in the way para-sports are perceived. She said that at 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games a leading journalist remarked upon seeing her, “India ke khiladi abhi se hi wheelchair pe ghoom rahe hain, yeh kya khelenge?” When Dr. Malik’s daughter explained that she was a para-athlete, he retorted, “parachute se koodane ka koi game hi nahin hai”. Throughout her session, Dr. Malik demonstrated the importance of having a clear view of the bigger picture – the end result, without which any number of efforts would prove futile. She also shared her daughter Devika Malik’s story of grit, determination and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of incredible adversity. Dr. Malik, who has conquered high altitude, deserts, land, river and air has set her eyes on the sea to create her next record. She received a standing ovation.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Rishi Kapoor, Associate Partner & Business Head, Sapphire Connect spoke briefly on how Thought Leaders of India came into existence and highlighted the kind of expectations leaders must live up to in today’s time and age. He said, “A leader is expected to be a ‘ten-handed’ demigod, who can predict the unpredictable, think the unthinkable, do the impossible. Being a leader is not easy, it is a process of exhibiting moral and ethical courage and setting an example for everyone”. He said, “A true leader is a remarkable individual who stands out in the crowd with radiating confidence, immovable determination and an insatiable thirst for knowledge”.
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