Governor’s address at the presentation of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to late Aditya Vikram Birla (Posthumously) in Mumbai
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the presentation of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to late Aditya Vikram Birla (Posthumously) for his contribution to Indo – US Economic Engagement organized by the Indo American Chamber of Commerce at Hotel Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai at 1930 hrs on Monday, 22 August 2016
Dr Lalit Kanodia, National President, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Padmabhushan Smt Rajashree Birla, Smt Rajlakshmi Rao, Shri Vasant Kini, Executive Vice President, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Shri Nanik Rupani, Mr Thomas Vajda, Consul General of the United States of America in Mumbai, members of the Chamber, friends of United States in India, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen…
Good evening and greetings to all of you.
I am extremely happy to associate myself with the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to late Shri Aditya Vikram Birla for his immense contribution to promoting Indo – American economic ties.
Everyone will agree with me that we are actually very late in acknowledging the life and work of late Shri Aditya Vikram Birla, who was amongst the earliest advocates of strong Indo – US economic cooperation. But, better late than never; and I congratulate the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and particularly its National President Dr Lalit Kanodia for the very thoughtful decision of honouring Late Aditya Vikram Birla post-humously with the Life Time Achievement Award in the midst of the IACC Annual Convention.
Considering the time in which late Aditya Vikram Birla lived and worked for fostering close Indo – American ties, one has to salute his vision for the Indian economy and India’s shared future with the United States of America.
‘Aditya Babu’ as he was fondly known, was a complete person. He combined in his beautiful personality a visionary industrialist, an artist, a music lover, a caring family man and a great human being.
It is remarkable that Smt Rajashree Birla lived up to the ideals and vision of her illustrious husband, and alongwith Kumar Mangalam Birla, carried forward the legacy of late Shri Aditya Birla Ji with commitment and dedication.
As the matriarch of the Birla family, Smt Rajashree Birla has given the touch of humanity to the Birla Group.
Under her guidance, the Birla Group has supported various social initiatives such as eradication of polio, housing for tribals and the poor, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan and many others.
As Brand Ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Maharashtra, Rajashree Ji has done remarkable work, and I would like to applaud her for her excellent work.
Shri Kumar Mangalam Birla has expanded the business empire of the Birla Group across countries and continents and made the name ‘Birla’ into a trusted global brand.
As we commemorate the life and work of late Shri Aditya Vikram Birla, I convey my heartiest congratulations and appreciation to Smt Rajashree Birla and Shri Kumar Mangalam Birla.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During the last 48 years since its inception, the Indo American Chamber of Commerce has played a catalytic role in promoting business relations between India and the United States.
The Chamber has fostered contacts with business, research and developmental institutions in the United States in order to leverage each other’s capabilities.
The IACC Convention on the theme ‘Unleashing US – India Economic Synergy’ is being held at the most appropriate juncture.
During the last few years, Indo – US bilateral relations have developed into a ‘global strategic partnership’ based on shared values of freedom, democracy, universal human rights, tolerance, pluralism and equal rights for all citizens.
Since coming to power in May 2014 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, there have been six meetings and countless phone calls between President Barack Obama and the Hon’ble Prime Minister. President Obama has spoken of establishing a ‘defining relationship for the 21st Century’ between India and the United States that will directly benefit our almost 1.6 billion citizens.
In the Joint Statement issued by the United States and India in June this year, the United States reaffirmed its support for a reformed UN Security Council, with India as a permanent member. The United States has also supported the ‘Make in India’ programme and many companies have enhanced their investment in India.
As you know, the Indo- US trade has crossed the 103 billion dollar mark. But when compared to Sino – US trade which stands at a staggering 598 billion dollars, this figure is very small.
I have no doubt in my mind that enhanced cooperation in Clean Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Information Technology, Banking and Financial Services, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and others can help us reach the goal of 500 billion dollars by 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Economic relations are the bedrock on which social, cultural and political relationships are built. Economic relations, in turn, intensify business-to-business and people-to-people contacts, promoting a deeper and better understanding between nations.
While our engagement with the US is expanding on many fronts, we need to strengthen and widen our relations in the field of education, especially in higher education, research and skill development.
At present less than 20 percent of India’s eligible youth has access to higher education. It is a challenge for us to enable more people to enter higher education, which would benefit both individuals and the economy’s need for higher-level skills.
I believe that educated and skilled India will also meet the human resources needs of the US economy.
In my capacity as Chancellor of 20 universities in Maharashtra having a total student enrollment of 3 million students, I wish to see a strong and dynamic collaboration between the Universities in Maharashtra and the best Universities in the United States.
The United States has an enviable track record in research in higher education. The United States is the only country in the world which has produced a record 353 Noble laureates in various disciplines. It has largest share of the world’s scientific publications. Research collaboration is one area where India has much to gain from US collaboration.
Even as the Indo American Chamber of Commerce discusses various industry-specific issues during its Convention, I would urge it to promote strong educational and cultural bonds between the two great nations.
The Rio Olympics are coming to an end today. As always, the United States has put up an excellent performance, standing first in the overall medals tally. India’s performance was definitely encouraging. But India will welcome cooperation in sports from the United States wholeheartedly.
On that note, I applaud the Chamber for presenting the Lifetime achievement Award to late Shri Aditya Vikram Birla and wish the Chamber Godspeed in its future endeavours. I wish the delegates fruitful deliberations.
Thank you !
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!