GOPIO Republic Day Talk: Arvind Panagariya talks how India will regain its lost glory

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: Prof. Arvind Panagariya speaking at the GOPIO Republic Day program on New India – Reclaiming the Lost Glory

Our Bureau
New York 

In an insightful and thought-provoking talk and discussion, which was moderated by Dr. Thomas Abraham and Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, the author of the latest book, “New India – Reclaiming the past Glory,” Dr. Aravind Panagariya shared with the attendees from across the world on ways India can “regain the lost glory.” The talk and discussion followed by rendering of patriotic songs were part of the India’s 71st Republic Day celebrations on Zoom organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) on Saturday, January 23rd. 

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International welcomed the participants from all continents, from USA to Australia, to New Zeeland, and provided a brief introduction to the birth and the programs by GOPIO. While pointing to the impact of COVID on human life, he expressed hope that a new beginning with the vaccination rolled out. He showed how with the initiatives from GOPIO, today how PIOs/NRIs have become elected officials across the globe. “The election of Kamala Harris is a pride moment for all Indian Americans,” he said.

GOPIO International officials at the program, from l. to r. Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Academic Council Chair Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta, President Sunny Kulathakal and Intl. Coordinator-at-Large Dr. Asha Samant

In his introduction to Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Dr. Thomas Abraham said, “He is a Professor of Economics and the Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University. From January 2015 to August 2017, he served as the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog, Government of India in the rank of a Cabinet Minister.  During these years, he also served as India’s G20 Sherpa and led the Indian teams that negotiated the G20 Communiqués during presidencies of Turkey (2015), China (2016) and Germany (2017). 

Taking the audience to the glorious days of India, the scholar said, India accounted for 38% of the total world economy in the first millennium and it continued to grow in the second millennium. In the 17th century, India accounted for 20% of world’s total GDP, with India and China accounting for 50% of total world economy. With the arrival of British rule, India began to lose its place in world with the Western nations growing at a faster pace while India’s economy stayed stagnant. In 1947, when India got Independence from Britain, India’s economy was mere 3% of the total world GDP, he pointed out.

“With a GDP that just reached $2.6 trillion, India is poised to become the world’s third largest economy in less than a decade,” Aravind Panagariya told an audience consisting of people from around the world who had joined together virtually to celebrate India’s Republic Day on Saturday, January 22nd, 2021.

“Now, India is well poised to regain the lost glory,” Panagariya said. During the posy Post-Independence period, India, after initial setbacks and slower growth embarked on a new path with former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao opening up the economy in the early 1990s, giving impetus to growth and sustained investment, Panagariya said. “India’s watershed moment came in1991, when we changed policy, and a New India began to emerge.”

Acknowledging that “Currently, we have a gloom economy due to COVID,” Pangariya said, while stressing that “Fundamentals of the Indian economy have been robust, though unemployment has taken a huge toll on the growth with India’s growth in the first quarter of 2021 is expected to be negative 3 percent.”

Panagariya, a preeminent authority on the Indian economy, argues that the creation of good jobs requires the emergence of medium and large enterprises in industry and services, especially labor-intensive sectors such as apparel, footwear, and other light manufactures. He explains that India needs policies conducive to the growth of firms from small to medium, medium to large, and large to larger still. Such policies include greater outward orientation; more flexible land, labor, and capital markets; concerted effort to improve the quality of higher education; faster urbanization; and improved governance at all levels.

Part of the participants at the talk by Prof. Arvind Panagariya

Sunny Kulathakal, President of GOPIO International welcomed the guests from around the world to the celebration of India’s 71st Republic Day. “We may be far away from India, but we cannot take the Indianness from us. The Diaspora community has become a symbol of growth and human achievement as we continue to play a crucial role in India’s development in all possible areas. We have confidence in India as a global power. May this celebration help us, the NRIs to recommit ourselves for the growth of India.” Dr. Asha Samant proposed vote of Thanks.

MC and youth speaker and artists at the Republic Day Celebration segment of the program

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