With a global trend ensuing wherein, even countries operating a free market economy, are increasingly adopting protectionist policies, Rajya Sabha MP and India’s Sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu, during the recently concluded Atmanirbhar Bharat Summit, stressed on the need to equip today’s pragmatic youth with the necessary skill sets to become self-reliant citizens of India. Atmanirbharta at grass root district levels across India, coupled with a conducive regulatory environment and improved market access, will aid India to weather the global economic downturn currently ensuing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-day summit brought together a prominent panel of thought leaders, including, Mohandas Pai, Padmashri Awardee, Chairman – Manipal Global Education & Former Director – Infosys, who discussed the crucial pillars of nation-building and developing a coherent vision between different pillars of India’s economy. He also discussed the role of institutions and institutional frameworks for long-term reforms in education, economy and administration, while stressing on the need to aim for 50% enrolment in higher education by 2030, driven by a 3 tier concept of community colleges, teaching cum research-based universities and purely research-driven universities.
The next session, driven by Shri S Gurumurthy, Chartered Accountant and Member on Board of Reserve Bank of India, touched upon the foundations of Bharat’s self-reliance and economic history, along with its indigenously developed systems of trade, education, and governance, while sharing several lessons from the past for the Atmanirbhar Bharat of the future.
This was followed by Sridhar Vembu, Founder & CEO, Zoho Corporation, discussing his role and experience of setting up decentralized teams in village clusters to boost the rural economy. He shared his inspiring journey from a small village in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu to the US and back to India to set up Zoho; along with his experience of developing alternate economic models for distributed wealth. He also talked about Zoho’s learnings from being a homegrown, top-class tech company and felicitation of the Atmanirbhar App award.
Dr Chinmay Pandya, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, then moved to discuss the spiritual significance of Atmanirbharta and how deeper dimensions of Atmanirbharta relate to the worldly dimensions such as economic growth. He also talked about the role of socio-spiritual organizations in defining India’s Atmanirbharta.
On day two of the summit Amish Tripathi, Diplomat, Columnist & Author, discussed the traits and qualities that simultaneously make Indians unique and diverse. Sharing India’s global contributions as a “Civilization State”, he discussed the role of soft-power in brand India. He also shared his experience of India’s current global perception. His most recent book on King Suheldev and the lessons we can draw from his life for India’s present and future were also discussed.
This was then followed by Ritu Beri, Fashion Designer and Advisor – Khadi & Village Industries Commission, Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India, who discussed India’s future of design education. She also stressed upon the tough times faced by the creative and luxury industries during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, ending on a positive note about the future of India as the centre of the Global Design Scene.
The summit was concluded by the Pratik Poddar, Principal, Nexus Venture Partners, on the necessity of Atmanirbharta in the global pursuits of venture funding and entrepreneurship. Comparing Israel’s unique place within the Funding world as a region with Deep tech startups, he talked about preparing for such equivalent systems in India. Echoing previous sentiments that these are unprecedented times, he brought to the fore, the potential for India’s tech entrepreneurs to build products catering specifically to Indian consumer needs. He also pointed out that many of India’s problems are at the bottom of the pyramid, and suggested some interesting ideas that can address these social issues which might lead to social benefits much before economic value creation.
The concept of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has become the foundational inspiration for India’s future economic success after the Hon’ble PM of India, Shri Narendra Modi, announced a COVID-19 related economic package in May 2020. The two-day summit was organised by Rishihood University in collaboration with the ‘Rashtram School of Public Leadership’.