CII chief calls for more investments in R&D, technology focus

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Shillong, April 5 (IANS) Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) President Naushad Forbes on Wednesday called for more investments in research and development and more focus on technology.

“Indian industry investment in research and development amounts to 0.3 percent of gross domestic product, against a world average of 1.5 percent,” he said addressing the 8th annual convocation of Indian Institute Management-Shillong here.

“We need to increase our investments in technology five-fold to develop the proprietary technologies that we can then deploy world-wide,” he said.

Also noting that Indian industry five or ten years out must be more ethical, the CII president said that “bulk of companies already are, but there are too many stories of crony capitalists that destroy the image of Indian industry and with it our credibility”.

He said that the CII has launched several initiatives that emphasise the journey all industry must undertake to become more ethical.

While stressing that Indian industries must be more international, Forbes said: “As a first step, the CII has identified 150 firms that are aspiring to be multinationals with Indian roots and are helping each establish a footprint overseas.

“This is consistent with being a diverse country – we are not aiming at 30 massive multinationals as national champions – we seek a 1000 firms that represent the strength and diversity of our entire industrial sector.”

Admitting that he was “uncomfortable” with China’s conformity, Forbes said he was much more comfortable with diversity in India – a diversity of communities, religions, ethnicities, opinions, and arguments.

“We are a vibrant, noisy democracy – and if you ask me, we should oppose anyone who tries to make us conform to a narrower definition of what it means to be Indian. Our diversity is a huge strength – we can use our diversity to lead the world in economic progress, in cultural achievement, and in building the kind of society where people from all corners of the earth will want to live here,” he said.

In his address, New York-based Cornell SC Johnson College of Business’ founding Dean Soumitra Dutta reflected upon three themes which he felt will serve the graduates well in moving forward in life – their role in the world as a leader for Brand India, their role as leaders in a fast developing economic power but one with enormous social challenges, and their role as members of family and community.

Altogether, 159 students of the Post Graduate Diploma in Management programme of the batch of 2015-17 received their certificates, including of those in absentia as well as 15 students of the Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Managing Business in India & China (PGPEx) programme for 2015-16.

–IANS

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