Public Policy (5)

While the pandemic has disrupted our lives in terms of all we understood as normal, it has also created the space for technology to bloom. What AI and IoT do in the current context of Covid -19 is reinvent the manner in which work was envisioned and introduce novel ways to keep workers safe while also driving productivity. 

AI and IoT are still recent and unfamiliar to many. Therefore, highlighting the potential benefits of the same is imperative to truly gauge how these technologies can bring about transformative change. Keeping this in mind, the Aspen Ananta Centre organized a Masterclass with Tejpreet  S. Chopra, the Founder & CEO of Bharat Light and Power Group (BLP), to speak on how AI and IoT can allow businesses to continue during a pandemic and the work his organization has done around the same. 

The relevance of AI technologies in a pre-Covid world was envisioned around predicting machinery failures, optimizing supply chain, driving asset productivity and developing visual technologies. However, in the context of the pandemic, these technologies can be altered in a manner that would allow businesses to continue while creating systems that would ensure the safety of the workers.  

The three main technology samples that are leading the shift towards AI and IoT are Trust AI, US Pro and Spot AI. Trust AI is based on training a computer vision model to detect the practice of social distancing in the workplace. Without any new investment, an installed camera can be used to decipher this. Furthermore, alerts can be sent out in case of any alarming happenings such as the breaking of social distancing protocol or individuals not wearing masks.  

Another type of AI technology that has been developed is US Pro. This is relatively simple in principle as it uses one's cell-phone to detect when social distancing is broken and then utilises the same data to carry out contact tracing. 

Spot AI is innovative and revolutionary in the sense that it can track anything present on the factory floor. Aside from ensuring a plethora of opportunities for asset management, this also helps bring in bands in place of cell phones for contact tracing and other safety purposes. 

Each industrial requirement is different and therefore for AI and IoT to successfully permeate the market, fitting these varied needs is essential. What is also crucial is a discussion on privacy protections provided. With great power comes great responsibility, and with AI, the potential for misuse is also plenty. Mr. Chopra elaborated on the steps his organization had taken to protect worker privacy which includes storing absolutely no data, providing encryption and anonymity and ensuring tracking in only the public sphere. 

Efficient technologies are bound to take over the world. While the growth of AI and IoT in times of Covid is imminent, the opportunities it provides are remarkable in terms of a revolutionary reinvention to the manner in which work is carried out. By keeping workers safe, ensuring productivity and changing how people interact, AI and IoT are nothing short of a mine of options during a global crisis and even after.

To watch the session, please click here:

Ms Riya George, Intern, Ananta Centre

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A gloom scenario in terms of Growth and prosperity around the world is emerging in past few months. Today, the Covid Pandemic has occupied the centre stage and it has made the nations rethink on how they conduct trade around the seas and land.

International Trade, as we see today has been historically placed through some of the important perspectives. Countries have immensely benefited and open economies have positively impacted domestic population.

However, with the Global pandemic on the spread, global economy will be in the downturn. It is not alarming to see that two of the most developed continents, North America and EU will be on the downturn and coincide. Their public Debt to GDP ratio will be very high due to massive trade deficits.

It is in times like these that we see India as a potential player to drive up international trade dynamics. It needs to ramp up its capacity to progressively achieve its $5 trillion target in the economy. Almost 50% part of this revenue will come from trade through what India exports and what it imports. Amidst all of this lies geopolitics of the South China Sea. Asian economy has a vast stake in this region due to geographical impediments and this is the region where China has a larger say. Trade and Geopolitics go hand in hand in Asia. This is the new world which we will see in the coming years.

Indian Industries have a huge role to play to ramp up Indian economy in terms of growth and international contribution to trade. Some of the principal challenges that can create hurdles for India vis a vis the world are MFNs, WTO restructuring, and FTAs. In the next set of years, we can expect Free Trade Agreements to be negligible, rather regional blocs like the EU are going to focus on RTAs.

This is a great opportunity for India to tie up pacts with the EU, as the EU will not compromise on the depth the trade agreements that might take place. This is also the time for India to have a trade pact with African Continent, where huge resources are a potential contributor for both Asia and Africa.

The future offer a lot of challenges for India to play its part in international trade. The current situation has lots of opportunities for India to be significant economy.

This digital session was a part of a series on”Covid-19 and the World Order”.


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India gets Budget Ready

T-3 days for the Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to present the Union budget 2020-2021. Watch Dr Naushad Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Marshall and Ananta Aspen Centre, on ET NOW discussing what should be the focus in this budget to get the economic growth back on track!




                                                    Click here to watch the video:

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“What I want to focus on today is that every one of us here and not only in India but in the world, needs to appreciate the type of crisis that we are in and take credible actions in a way that not just improves their daily life but changes the lives for everyone in the world” – Jamshyd N Godrej, Aug 10 2019.

Most businesses today have a stand that climate change is a crisis for the future. Scientists have said that it is a tipping point in the world which if exceeded by two degrees by the end of this century can cause catastrophic changes. Speaking at the 8th Memorial Lecture organised by Ananta Aspen Centre, Jamshyd N Godrej delivered a discourse on how climate change has become a crisis due to our negligence in approach to address the problem. Whether it is flowing water or groundwater, every one of these are in a crisis situation. Food has become severely affected due to our anthropogenic needs. Tuna stocks have almost disappeared in the Mediterranean. The absorptive capacity of oceans have almost depleted due to the high levels of carbon dioxide present in atmosphere.

Industry can play a role in conserving the environment for a better future in the climate crisis. Green Building Centres, for instance is initiated by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for playing a role in conservation. It has today become second-largest footprint of certified green buildings in the world. Green Building Centres are certified through a process called Green Product Certification System. Emphasis laid in Green Buildings is on Light Emitting Diode System (LED).

Air Conditioner today has become an essential household item. The problem with most ACs is that they are not Green Building friendly owing to their huge costs. Ozone hole is severely getting affected because of our choices. However, Simple Solutions exist, Said Mr Godrej. Many countries in Europe have shown a way of eliminating these polluting refrigerants and emphasise on using Propane, a natural substance.

Today, Water has been commodified in Chennai. It has been brought for drinking purposes via train. Industry and Government has a greater role to play in conserving water. Water pricing is crucial, and that will make even farmers realise that they cannot keep their pumps on 24/7. Reuse and Recycle is a school taught concept, and we tend to ignore it in our daily chores.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted in its report that ‘climate crisis’ today would mean hotter and colder days. Climate system will go in extreme situation. Climate crisis has become an alarming situation because it is hanging on the fence due to addressing issues of Development and Conservation on the same parallel.

Ananta Aspen Centre organised a C K Prahalad Memorial lecture on ‘Climate Crisis and Biodiversity Preservation Challenge: Role of Industry and Civil Society’ with Sir Jamshyd N Godrej on August 10, 2019 in Coimbatore.

CK Prahalad Memorial Lecture is an annual event jointly organised by Ananta Aspen Centre and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to commemorate the legacy and contribution of Late Professor CK Prahalad to shaping the idea of India as a Morally, Economically and Technologically advanced nation, capable of leading the world. Professor Prahalad, held as amongst the finest thinkers of his time, was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He was invested in eradicating poverty; his book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits” changed the market paradigm for businesses.

This edition is the 8th in the series of lectures organised earlier at different locations. The theme of this lecture is inspired with the ongoing global clout on an issue that is affecting the world over.

The lecture covered diverse issues like green buildings, and saving energy from getting depleted by considering at alternative energy endowments harnessed by different countries.

To know more, watch the video of the session here

Read the Full Transcript of the lecture here

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The Ananta Centre organized a session on Economy and Policy “What are the Priorities for Economic Growth for India 2019/20?” The Union Budget and After on August 1, 2019 at WWF Auditorium, New Delhi.

The session featured Mr AK Bhattacharya, Editorial Director, Business Standard, Mr Nitin Desai, Chairman, The Energy & Resource Institute and Trustee, Ananta Centre and Dr Rakesh Mohan, Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University and Distinguished Fellow at Brookings India. It was moderated by Mr Tarun Das, Chairman, Institute of Economic Growth and Founding Trustee, Ananta Aspen Centre.

The focus of the discussion was on the key issuesand policies to bring about a higher growth rate. An outstanding panel of India’s finest economic thinkers, two of whom have held the office of Chief Economic Advisor, gave their diagnosis on what are the issues burdening the Indian economy and what can be done to put India on to a new growth trajectory.

To know more, watch the video of the session: Click Here

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