WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM-2018 : Highlights from Indian prespective

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Enjoy your read!!INTRODUCTION

The 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is underway at Davos, Switzerland with effect from 23rd January to 26th January 2018.

The Summit includes the participation of more than 3,000 delegates from across 100 countries of the world in over 400 interactive sessions with the view to engage business, political, academic, and other leaders of the society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.

India participated with its largest ever delegation in the 48 year history of WEF with more than 130 Indian CEOs, along with over 2,000 business leaders. Besides, several other leaders from politics, business, academia, art, culture and civil society are also in attendance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister in 20 yearsafter former PM HD Deve Gowda in 1997to join the world’s top business leaders for this year’s Summit.

PM Modi addressed the opening session of the World Economic Forum 2018 and highlighted, climate change, terrorism and protectionism as three global threats. He further went on to hard-shell India as one of the world’s most favourable investment destination.

The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting is“Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. The theme emphasises the express need for a renewed commitment to international collaboration as the only way to solve critical global challenges.

Some Interesting Facts about the World Economic Forum at Davos:

Davos was known for its tuberculosis sanatoriums, where Europe’s sickest and wealthiest gathered to breathe the cold, fresh air and take their “rest cure.”

After the near eradication of tuberculosis, those sanatoriums were transformed into hotel resorts and became the venue for the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland and is recognised by the Swiss authorities as an international body.

The first meeting of intelligentsias was convened in 1971, by a German professor, essentially as an academic and economic conference, where 44 European business executives participated to discuss nuances of business management.

The gathering started to be called as World Economic Forum as it drew more business leaders and its scope enlarged by 1987.

It started to provide a platform where emerging economies like India and China could connect with the established economies like USA and Europe.

The scope of the Forum further diversified and agreements on cooperation to negotiate socio-economic challenges faced by the world community, like spreading awareness and promoting immunization; fighting diseases such as AIDS and malaria.

The Forum also became a platform to forge political engagements, like 1988 Davos Declaration between Greece and Turkey that averted war between the two countries, historic meeting between eminent leaders, e.g. South African President F.W. de Klerk and the anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in 1992 and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1994.

The invitation to attend the World Economic Forum is extended to heads of states’, Nobel Prize winners, technology CEOs and media titans. The Forum’s permanent membership includes the world’s top 1,000 companies.

Major Highlights from Indian Perspective: World Economic Forum-2018:

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 23rdJanuary interacted with industry CEOs along with Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu to set the Indian government’s agenda and participation during various sessions of the World Economic Forum at Davos.

In an achievement of sorts, India was entrusted with the responsibility of hosting the welcome reception at the world leaders’ event, and Indian foods and yoga marked the commencement the ceremony.

The itinerary for the India Prime Minister and the CEOs over these four days is jam packed with business meetings, like one-on-one interactions with 60 top Global chief executives from 26 different sectors, who have a cumulative market cap of $3.3 trillion. Also, PM Modi had a scheduled meeting with the WEF’s 120-member International Business Council.

Besides, seven more round table meetings are scheduled to be organized by ‘Invest India’ on finance, financial inclusion for promoting digital payments, clean energy solutions for a better future, development of railway industry in India, developing skills in a digital world and promoting design in India.


India’s GDP growth has halved since 2009 and one of the key election promises by the Modi government in 2014 was to bring back double digit growth. With the silhouette of the 2019 assembly elections already visible over the horizon, PM Modi is doing everything in his power to reboot the India growth story.

The World Economic Forum provides an excellent platform for networking and clarifying positions on economic issues. It helps to set a tone for best practices in the business and development world, allowing financial leaders, politicians, and celebs to rally around similar causes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the ability to say just the right things to catch the mood of the investors, who presently seem to be slightly sceptical, but with the series of economic and systemic reforms being ushered in, the foreign investments are further likely to pick in the near future.

The growth projections put out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the World Economic Forum would reassure foreign investors and provide an impetus to the Indian economic growth. IMF points out that

“Regions with fastest growing economic growth are still Asia,especially China & India”.

In its World Economic Outlook update released on 22nd January, the International Monetary Fund has projected a 7.4 percent growth rate for India in 2018 as against 6.8 percent for China.

The IMF forecasts that India will be the fastest growing economy in 2018, but its Inclusive Development Index (IDI) still lags behind China.

The IDI takes into account the living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness. India was ranked at the 62nd place among the 74 emerging economies, much below China’s 26th position and even Pakistan’s 47th.