Curtains came down on the WEF meeting after five days of intense debate on rebuilding the global economy by world leaders and corporate honchos.
About 2,500 participants, including CEOs of almost all the Fortune 1,000 companies, and government heads discussed and brainstormed the future of the global economy after its worst recession since the World War II.
The 95-member strong Indian delegation at the centrally-heated Congress Centre, nestled in the snow-laden Alps, included Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Captains of Indian industry Vijay Mallaya, Rahul Bajaj, K P Singh, Chanda Kochhar, O P Bhatt, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Anand Mahindra spoke on how the emerging economies put up a better show, while the rich countries crumbled under the weight of the financial meltdown.
“India is now being seen as a land of opportunities.
There is an interest in India. India’s growth drivers are really more fundamental and advantageous (than in the rich nations),” said ICICI Bank’s MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar.
Even when there was a strong acceptance that the future belongs to Asia, the developed world unlikely to take it lying down. “They (the West) are not at peace with the idea that they are not going to grow,” while India and China continue to expand, Jamshed Godrej, said.
Bill Gates, Indra Nooyi and Standard Chartered Group Chief Executive Peter Sands were among the masters of the business universe, together debating at the Congress Centre and walking along the Davos promenade.
Bankers, known for dominating the Davos WEF annual meeting, found themselves cornered this time around. The public anger in the west arising out of unemployment and meltdown was conveyed to them by no less the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Each of us must hold the conviction that the world of tomorrow cannot be the same as the world of yesterday...there are indecent behaviours that will no longer be tolerated by public opinion in any country ...there are excessive profits that will no longer by accepted,” Sarkozy said.
In a speech targeted against the rich bonuses to bankers, powered by government stimulus, Sarkozy said, “there are remuneration packages that will no longer be tolerated.... those who create jobs and wealth may earn a lot of money that is not shocking. But those who contribute to destroying jobs and wealth also earn a lot of money and is morally indefensible,” he said.
The Indian ministers told their western counterparts and business heads how the G20 must have a real say in the state of global economy.