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India & Covid: Nirmala Sitharaman at first of Express-FT series today

Kicking off the event, titled ‘India’s Quest for Economic Power’, as the keynote speaker will be Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in conversation with journalists from both FT and The Indian Express.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (File)

In the first of a series of online, agenda-setting debates organised by The Indian Express and Financial Times, policy, business and finance leaders from India and overseas will gather for a discussion on India’s place in the post-pandemic world.

Kicking off the event, titled ‘India’s Quest for Economic Power’, as the keynote speaker will be Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in conversation with journalists from both FT and The Indian Express.

‘India’s Place in the Post-Pandemic World’ is the broad theme of the online series that begins Thursday. With the Covid-19 pandemic and second wave of infections clouding the outlook for India’s economic and business growth, the discussions will revolve around what should be the government’s key policy priorities to rebuild the economy to ensure a resilient, sustainable recovery, and to attract foreign investments. Pending structural reforms are another key theme that will be under focus.


The interview with Sitharaman will be followed by a panel discussion on sustained growth with KV Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Jahangir Aziz, Head, Emerging Markets Economics, JP Morgan; Rohini Malkani, Senior VP, Credit Ratings, Global Sovereign Ratings, DBRS Morningstar and P Anbalagan, CEO, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Even before the shock of Covid-19, India’s economy had been losing momentum, with growth steadily slowing. Now, after a large GDP contraction due to the pandemic, medium to long-term prospects remain uncertain amid a second wave of infections.

Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times, will deliver a keynote address on India in the post-Covid world economy, followed by a round of discussion on whether Indian companies can compete globally. This comes at a time when larger companies are seen to have weathered the shock much better than smaller ones, with profits supported by cost cutting, and improved market share gained at the expense of weaker rivals, even as most smaller firms are still burdened by heavy debt, disruption in supply chains and weak demand. The participants include Sidharth Nath Singh, Cabinet Minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), Export Promotion, Textile, Khadi, Village Industries, Sericulture in the Government of Uttar Pradesh; Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall; Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals; and Manish Sabharwal, Chairman and Co-Founder, Teamlease Services.

The series will be moderated by P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Executive Editor (National Affairs), The Indian Express, and Amy Kazmin, South Asia Bureau Chief, Financial Times.

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