The 3rd Forbes India Leadership Awards promises to be much more than just awards and acceptance speeches. The event, which is to be held at Mumbai’s Trident hotel on Wednesday, is one of the few times when India’s corporate heavy hitters will get together in one room. What better occasion to engage them in short, Oxford-style debates?
We live in uncertain times: The rupee is down, growth has slowed and inflation is soaring. When will the Indian economy be able to push out of the doldrums? Is India a breakout nation or just breaking down? Is our demographic dividend actually an overdraft? Is corruption inevitable? The questions are looming large and we’ll seek answers from the entrepreneurs.
In our first debate, Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global, will argue that it makes more sense to invest in India, while Marico’s Harsh Mariwala will speak against. For two decades, India Inc has been going overseas looking for markets and resources. Those markets have slowed down and India Inc stands at the cusp. What will the industry captains do?
The second debate is a touchy issue for some. We will ask the our speakers whether India Inc is showing signs of being bi-polar. Do we celebrate too much during the highs and whine too much during the lows? Sanjay Nayar, CEO and country head of KKR, agrees; Cognizant’s CEO Francisco D’Souza doesn’t think so.
The final debate promises to be the most exciting as we move on to one of the biggest challenges facing the economy: The volatile rupee. Will the Indian currency continue to be devalued and should India brace for the rupee at 70? What should be the government’s strategy to stabilise the yo-yoing currency? Surjit Bhalla, chairman of Oxus Investments, will argue that the RBI and the government should not intervene in pegging the currency and let it float, while IndusInd Bank MD and CEO Ramesh Sobti will argue against it.