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Third Decade of Partnership Begins for the World Economic Forum in India

18 November 2005 - Geneva, Switzerland: More than 500 participants will take an active part in this year’s Summit, whose working theme is A Young and Resurgent India: Its Impact on Regional and Global Strategies.

Key participants in the Summit will include: Manmohan Singh, Prime Ministerof India,who will give a keynote address. Some of the most important members of his Cabinet also taking part in the Summit will include: Palaniappan Chidambaram, Minister of Finance; Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Sharad Chandra Pawar, Minister of Agriculture; Kapil Sibal, Minister of Science and Technology; Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of Communications and Information Technology; Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and Montek S. Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

The business leaders will be led by the Co-Chairs of the Summit: Mohammad Al Gergawi, Executive Chairman, Dubai Holding, United Arab Emirates; Jim Goodnight, Chief Executive Officer, SAS, USA; Hans-Joachim Koerber, Chief Executive Officer, Metro, Germany; Nandan M. Nilekani, President, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies, India; and Martin Sorrell, Group Chief Executive, WPP, United Kingdom. Key business leaders will include: Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, United Arab Emirates; Yogesh Deveshwar, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Chairman, ITC, India; Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International, France; Michelle Guthrie, Chief Executive Officer, Star Group, Hong Kong SAR; David Wright, Vice-Chairman, Barclays Capital, United Kingdom; Ramli Ahmad, Group Managing Director, PECD (Peremba Engineering and Construction Division), Malaysia; Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, Chairman, Bin Zayed Group, United Arab Emirates; Abdulmalik Bin Abdullah Al Khalili, Chairman, BankMuscat (SAOG), Oman; Catherine Kinney, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, New York Stock Exchange, USA; Subir Raha, Chairman and Managing Director, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, India; François Barrault, President, BT International, BT, United Kingdom.

"These are good times not only for India, but also for foreign investors who are realizing the importance of India as a trustworthy, reliable and long-term partner and investment destination," said Colette Mathur, Director, India and South Asia, World Economic Forum.

The highlights of the India Economic Summit 2005 programme are:

· The focus on the following core sub-themes:

-Understanding the Strategic Impact of India’s Growth;
-Developing Strategies Aligned with Policy Priorities and New Reforms;
-Engaging in the Transformation of the Indian Economy.
·The results of a major public opinion pollconducted exclusively by NDTV for the India Economic Summit on how India can figure among the top-ten competitive economies within the next ten years. Key data points, public opinion polling and cross-sectoral consultations will be at the centre of the first-ever Town Hall meetingat the Summit, where electronic voting technology will be used. According to the results, a set of recommendations will then be discussed and submitted to the Indian government at the Summit.

·India and the World: Scenarios to 2025. A report built in collaboration with over 100 international experts, which describes three possible futures for India over the next 20 years, will be launched.

·Rajasthan Education Initiative launch.This initiative is a public-private partnership (PPP) in education and will build upon the success of a similar initiative launched by the World Economic Forum in Jordan. The initiative will aim to bridge the gender divide in the state and unleash the power of information and communications technology to make a quantum leap in providing educational opportunities to underserved communities in both urban and rural areas. This programme will be launched at the Summit.

·Announcement of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in India. CII and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship have undertaken a search for India’s leading social entrepreneur. The Summit will serve as a platform for announcing the winner and finalists of this competition, which will take place for the first time in India and will be run thereafter on an annual basis. Similar search and selection processes are under way in 24 countries.