More than 5 years have passed since the Syrian Civil war started. Both diplomacy and armed action from land and air have been employed at various stages of the Syrian Civil war and sectarian conflicts in and around Syria but there seems to be no end to the Syrian imbroglio. In
reality, the Syrian disease and its sectarian manifestation have spread to its neighbourhood and threatens to engulf the West Asian region.
India's economy grew at its slowest pace in five quarters in the April‐June period, falling below expectations amid sluggish investment and farm output. However, the government is hopeful that a bountiful monsoon and increased pay and pensions along with various structural reforms could still take growth closer to that figure. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.1% in the first quarter, reaffirming India's position as the world's fastest‐growing major economy, but sharply lower than 7.9% in the January‐March period.
The southwest monsoon has been 3% short of its long‐term average till the end of August. Around 87% of the country has received normal to excess rainfall so far. The year 2015‐16 has marked the fourth straight year that India’s horticulture production will outstrip foodgrain output (horticulture makes up over a third of India’s total agriculture production), underlining a structural change underway in Indian agriculture.
Prof. Poonam Kumar in a session with students of Durham University, UK delivered a presentation on Socio-Eco and Political shifts in India.
SESSION 1: 21st Nov - Trade and Investment Partnership Summit 2014 (TIPS 2014), Brussels
The Trade and Investment Partnership Summit (TIPS) 2014 is dedicated to fostering bilateral trade, investment and economic relations between European Union and India around the theme of EU-India Strategic Partnership.
Prof. Poonam Kumar, Chairperson, Centre for Business and Strategic Affairs, India
Mr. Jean-Marc Kohlgruber, Executive President, CMI Group, Belgium
Mr. Poul V. Jensen, Director EBTC, India
Mr Raman Madhok, Managing Director & CMI Group Head – South Asia
Prof. Poonam Kumar talks on - Can EU Businesses Help Realise India’s Dream of Smart Cities?
Prof. Poonam Kumar began by addressing that India has a huge Infrastructure deficit and this has been a roadblock in getting FDI into the country. Modi’s dreams of Digital India, Make in India and building 100 Smart world class cities are steps towards making India an investor friendly destination.
However, Prof. Kumar expressed that by bringing high technology,high skills, patented technology and research in India is not sufficient and efforts are needed in improving governance - one of them being “e-governance” which could be used effectively to showcase opportunities present with the upcoming smart cities, technology and investments present across the country.
Read entire event:
Read entire event:
SESSION 2: 21st Nov - “Look EAST and Linking WEST”
Prof. Poonam Kumar, Chairperson, Mega Ace Consultancy on policy debate "Look east and Linking west" organised by Friends of Europe (FoE) on 21st November, Brussels.
Prof. Poonam Kumar, Chairperson Mega Ace Consultancy, India
Shada Islam, Director of Policy, Friends of Europe
Shishir Bajoria, Chairman IFGL Group
Maria Castillo Fernandez, Head of Division, India EEAS
Poonam Kumar began by looking at the substance of Modi's "Look East" strategy saying that she believed the policy "does not represent" anything different to what was said decades ago". India is aligning itself to try and counter Chinese influence within the region.
Pre-Mission Briefing on Indian Market Strategy was held on 16th October by the UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) in London.
Infrastructure development opportunities in India have attracted a multitude of investors from the world over, but many underlying issues in India have kept its FDI growth constant (15-17 per cent) as compared to other developing nations. There is a huge infrastructure deficit in the country. India needs investment to the tune of $1 trillion over the next three-four years and successful public-private-partnerships (PPP) models which will attract investments in the sector.
The new terminal at Mumbai’s International Airport has been an example of successful addition to large infrastructure projects under the PPP model. However, the recently launched Mumbai metro under this model by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) caused delays and disputes in fares. There were accusations of importing coaches due to lack of manufacturing technology in India and missed deadlines on project deliveries causing budget overflows of about 84 per cent – cost Rs 4,321 crore, up from its original cost of Rs 2,356 crore.
This article has been published by Prof. Poonam Kumar as a guest writer for India Incorporated.
Centre for Business & Strategic Affairs (CBSA) organised a seminar on ‘Economic Challenges and Expectations from the New Government’ in partnership with Mega Ace Consultancy, on the 30th of June 2014 at 3.00 pm.
In View of the new Government which was formed on May 26th 2014 in Delhi, there are many expectations from various stakeholders-overseas and domestic. The Foreign Dignitaries, Diplomats, Consul Generals of Partner countries, Corporates, Bankers, Economists, Overseas Investors as well as the Indian counterparts would like to know from experts-the likely ‘shape of things to come’, in terms of the political and socio-economic developments that will be unfolding soon.
London Chamber of Commerce Asian Business Association (ABA) in partnership with CBSA organized a committee meeting in London on 21st May 2014, where Prof. Poonam Kumar introduced Mr. Prakash Shah (CBSA Advisory Board Member) to London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Prakash Shah addressing the committee meeting shared his expert views on post-election India and its effect on global business.
THE Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, the High Commissioner of the People's Republic of Bangladesh hosted a special reception with partners Oxfam and BRAC to celebrate 'The Bangladesh Success Story: State and Civil Society Partnering for Last Change' on Wednesday 7th May 2014 at the Royal Overseas League in London. What emerged was that much of the success is about women's empowerment. Guest speaker Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development at the London School of Economics, highlighted how fertility rates have dropped from on average 7 children per mother at the time of independence in 1972, to 2.7 children per mother today. This has led to commensurate increase in more women entering the workforce and greater numbers in education.
Dr Kaodar Afsana, Director of Health, Nutrition and Population for BRAC spoke about its initiatives in improving reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition, among other programs. Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, spoke about the charity's projects in the country which range from promoting sustainable rural livelihoods, climate change, trade, risk reduction and supporting marginalised people to claim rights and services. Mary Garvey, Chief Executive of BRAC UK, moderated the Q&A session and gave the closing vote of thanks.
Oxfam is a global movement of people who share the belief that in a world rich with resources, poverty isn't inevitable; it's an injustice which can and must be overcome. Founded in 1942, Oxfam is now working in 94 countries; and in 2012 reached 15 million people across the globe. Oxfam works to ensure that the rights of women and men living in poverty are fulfilled and protected and operates in three interlinked areas: Emergencies and saving lives in disasters; Development which offers long term solutions to poverty and Campaigning against injustice. For further information visit www.oxfam.org.uk.
The Supreme Court of India took a landmark decision by recognizing the country's transgender community as a third gender. The decision by the Supreme Court has paved the way for equal rights for India's three-million-strong transgender community. The court also said that the transgender members of society will be given access to public social welfare schemes which are offered to other minority groups.
Transgender people are those who have either had sex change operations, or who regard themselves as the opposite of their born gender.
Recognition of transgender as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue. The petition in the Supreme Court was filed by National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa) in 2012, where representatives of transgender people argued that their community was marginalized both economically and socially.
The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender, the Supreme Court said in its decision.
Federal and state governments will recognize the third gender on birth certificates, passports and driving licenses. There is very limited data or information on the estimated size of the transgender population in India. A United Nations Development Programme study says the number could be more than 160,000 but anecdotal evidence puts it at between half a million and a million.
The Supreme Court judges have directed the Centre and States to treat the transgender community as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, and ensure that they are not discriminated against in healthcare, employment and education.
According to India's prominent transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathy, who filed the second intervention application in the case said, "This is a golden day for the transgender community of India. We have received independence in the proper sense today. Everything from discrimination faced by the transgender community to access to education and health has been addressed. The Supreme Court has given us much more than we had ever hoped for."
India is now among the several South Asian countries to recognize transgender as a third gender. Neighboring countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh have also added a third gender option to government documents. Germany was the first European country to recognize a third gender last year, allowing parents to mark "indeterminate" on birth certificates."
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It has been sometime since I have last communicated with you. However, I do hope you have been receiving our monthly publication from Mega Ace Consultancy “Update on Indian Economy” and have enjoyed reading the same.
Although India’s economy continues to attract global businesses, several roadblocks hamper their eventual investments in the country. Issues of corruption, governance, violence against women, regionalism and religiosity have severely weighed down India’s international appeal. These socio-political concerns which are now being raised indicate that, driven by liberalisation and globalisation, India’s social order is set to undergo a fundamental change for better.
As the India growth story continues to impress global audiences, the need now is for a think tank to build international awareness of India’s strategic concerns, needs, opportunities and challenges. Indian think tanks are seem to be under-performing as compared to global think tanks and lack a global footprint. According to an independent report prepared by UPEN (University of Pennsylvania), not a single think tank from India made it to the top 50 rankings of the global think tanks.
With this as a background, it is with great pleasure that I introduce the Centre for Business and Strategic Affairs (CBSA), which has been registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956, as a non commercial, independent think tank to promote non partisan, independent research on policy development. It also aims to conduct research based advocacy that aims to inform and influence policy makers in government and to mould public opinion.
The other two founding members/directors of CBSA apart from me are Ambassador (Retd.) Prakash Shah, a former Indian Ambassador and Mr. Pradeep Saxena, a banking and financial expert. We have an eminent list of international Board of Advisors which includes career diplomats, former bureaucrats and academicians with international experience who bring extensive knowledge in their respective fields of expertise to offer guidance and inputs to CBSA. For details of the members of the Board of Advisors please visit this link.
CBSA gets its legacy from Mega Ace Consultancy which has over two decades of research and consulting experience, working closely with global companies. Mega Ace has been involved with the privatization of policy framework in some of the most progressive states like Andhra Pradesh in the 1990’s. We have worked with several institutions both public and private sector across the country as well as with leading global companies seeking to tap the emerging business opportunities in the Indian economy. We have also worked with Indian companies seeking to go global. Mega Ace Consultancy’s service offerings can be found here.
CBSA intends to bring forth refreshing ideas and new perspectives on the policy discourse in India and develop a firm research framework to enable proper dissemination of the same. We also intend to carry on research based advocacy to our targeted audience. CBSA will be a platform to share global best practices with India.
We will undertake several studies and seek to partner other think tanks and corporate bodies. For any further enquiry to partner any of our studies and advocacy program, kindly write back to us. We would be happy to involve you in some of our initiatives.
This first issue of the CBSA newsletter reviews recent policy spotlights on themes from international trade, foreign policy, infrastructure development, corporate social responsibility and politics in India. I hope you find this issue of interest.
We are looking forward to receiving your feedback on this issue.
On 16th May 2013, Centre for Business & Strategic Affairs and Mega Ace Consultancy in partnership with Long Finance and Z/Yen Group Limited organized an event in London, where Prof. Poonam Kumar and Mr. Prakash Shah gave the presentation on strategic issues and interests in India and how well India is prepared to face challenges keeping up the pace of economic development.
India is at the cusp of significant economic changes which have and will continue to present both opportunities and challenges for both domestic and global business enterprises. Ever since the initiation of economic reforms of in 1991, the Indian economy has undergone a paradigm shift. A country that was often ignored by major global powers shifted from being a pre-dominantly agrarian country to one with an extensive manufacturing and services base.
India is now an important economic power, set to become a top-five global economy by 2030. It is a player in global economic decisions as part of the G-20 and the G-8 + 5 (the G-8 plus the five leading emerging economies). Notwithstanding the economic power it has attained, India also has major strategic issues in the region particularly with Pakistan and China.
This lecture will look at the wide gamut of India's strategic issues and interests in the region and beyond and discuss how well India is prepared to face those challenges keeping up the pace of economic development.