Strategising Economic Rebounding and Cooperation in India and Nepal

By Team BiharConnect

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the lives and livelihoods have been adversely impacted in an unprecedented manner. As the crisis has global nature, India and Nepal are severely impacted as well with the crisis created by a global pandemic.

Under the aegis of its India-Nepal Centre (INC) and in association with Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised an interactive webinar on “Strategising Economic Rebounding and Cooperation in India and Nepal”. Nilambar Acharya, Ambassador of Nepal in India was the chief guest on the occasion.

The session witnessed a participation of over 120 delegates from the government, industry and media.

In his message, Acharya appreciated PHDCCI’s India-Nepal Centre for organising such an interactive webinar in these critical times and said that we are meeting at the time when the whole world is struggling to overcome COVID-19 pandemic; when lives and livelihood of peoples are threatened; when normal national and international economic, social, cultural, activities are disrupted. Today, every country and every individual is affected. At the same time, there is well-founded optimism and confidence that with the united effort of the whole world, of common people and political leaders, of scientific and medical communities, of all those who are in the forefront of this fight, sooner than later, this extremely painful and disruptive period in human history will come to an end and we will enter the post-COVID-19 period of rebuilding new, normal life.

I pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in this struggle and will not be there to see rebuilding the post-COVID life. Post-COVID life and relations will have the imprint of the present period for a long time to come. Consequences will be felt in various aspects of human endeavor, including in international cooperation. One thing is clear: the world is one, the health of the world is indivisible. No progress can be made in isolation. There is the herculean task before every country of reviving economic health, of restoring normal life, of organising normal enhanced cooperation, he added.

Deliberating the delegates and participants of the India-Nepal relationship, Acharya’s message highlighted that Nepal and India, are very close neighbors and friends. Cooperation between our two peoples has centuries-deep roots and is ever-growing and developing. We are well connected culturally, economically, historically, socially, spiritually, connected by many more threads. Even more, the fight against COVID-19 has shown that our very life and livelihood are inseparably linked. Bold life-saving measures including long lockdowns were not easy to make. Leaderships of both the countries have with the cooperation of their peoples succeeded to check the spread of Corona as much as possible. As a result, the situation in our countries is not as bad as it is in other countries, particularly the most developed countries in the west.

Cooperation between our two countries remained exemplary throughout a difficult time. The measures we took were similar and near-simultaneous. Even when we closed our international border for passenger movement, we did our best in ensuring the uninterrupted flow of goods and supplies. Border customs were operational at best. During the lockdown, our people were stranded in a huge number on either side. We had the humanitarian understanding that these people would be taken care of wherever they are. Each side is doing its best to ensure that the stranded people are provided food and shelter, shared Acharya.

He appreciated the efforts of Prime Minister of India for his great initiatives in building regional solidarity in the fight against the pandemic. It was great to see the SAARC leaders connected through video conference, share experience and best practices and pledge to assist each other. The government of India provided Nepal medicines and medical items. We know how immense India’s own needs are for these items. Yet, as a gesture of true friendship and neighborliness, India helped us. The pandemic has given us a call that among all areas of engagements between our two countries, cooperation in better preparedness for the health security of our peoples is quite important.

Acharya’s message pointed that the major challenges to meet for us: ensuring food security for the poorest, creating jobs, managing migration returns, ensuring scientific farming and increasing agricultural productivity, reopening tourism industry, developing agro-industry, normalizing disrupted industrial activity, restarting construction works and halted projects, improving infrastructure, preparing human resources, reviving cultural life. Post-pandemic Nepal will be seeking more investment from India to generate more growth and more employment. We will come up with more attractive incentives for foreign investment.

The ambassador also outlined that the cooperation between our two countries, two governments, two peoples, two economies, private sectors of both countries need to be expanded to meet future challenges. Nepal-India cooperation has a great history and a greater future. As we are fighting COVID together, we look forward to tackling great tasks of the post-COVID period in greater cooperation with India. The business sector has to play a leading role.

Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHD Chamber, appreciated the invaluable contribution of Acharya in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and effectively ensuring lockdown even when doing the same has been painful. He shared the significant contribution of MSMEs to the growth story of India and the region. Also, when it comes to trade, they are the strong pillars’ of the global export and import ecosystem. Many of them, directly or indirectly, have had businesses in Nepal and they are known for strengthening the foundation of our bilateral cooperation.

In this difficult time, when our priorities are to keep India and the neighborhood safe from the severe challenges posed by Covid-19, the industry and individuals are determined to work in close tandem with the all concerned and help the region to successfully come out of crisis phase. Let’s all endure our resolve to support the collective mission to defeat Covid-19 and continue to be part of the holistic efforts for economic rebounding in India and Nepal said Multani.

He said that going forward, we are trying our level best to keep India’s inclusive growth momentum on. In the process, we are very much open to engaging with the industry fraternity in Nepal to carry forward the mission of creating “Shared Prosperity” in the South Asian region. We are trying to streamline the processes of “Economic Rebounding” in our two countries,

PHDCCI’s India-Nepal Centre will keep engaging with all the stakeholders for positive changes. We have been doing remarkably well even in the trying times, since the late March 2020, we have been actively working to support the government’s efforts through policy advocacy, series of webinars and generous contribution in different funds. Overall, we are quite sanguine that this phase will pass and bring promising opportunities for India and very friendly neighbors like Nepal, Multani added.

These all make our broad “Strategy” for “Economic Rebounding”, it is important to share that the re-set world will seek very best from all of us and we must be ready to reciprocate. The new world that is being made will have enough for all, though it must be important to learn the wealth creation has to go parallel with altruistic acts. Let’s all be part of the economy rebounding, and next, transformation.

K V Rajan, Chairman, INC, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave a warm welcome to Ambassador of Nepal in India welcomed all the dignified guests and participants in the webinar. He threw light on the relationship between India and Nepal which is a really strong and friendly relationship sustaining over such a long period. He also highlighted the business opportunities being conducted between India and Nepal. He shared the issues being faced by India and Nepal during the times of COVID-19 and how they are trying to control the spread of the virus in their countries.

Nirvana Chaudhary, Chairman INC(Nepal), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave a welcome to all the delegates and participants. He shared about the recent developments between India in Nepal in supporting each other in supplies and on humanitarian grounds. Nepal has been a really important country for India for business, tourism, and much more and India are trying their best to help them in the best way possible.

Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHD Chamber, presented the formal vote of thanks to all the delegates and participants.

Atul K Thakur, Nodal Coordinator, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI said that the economic rebounding in India and Nepal should top the priority in policy-making. He emphasised that the migrants, poor and MSMEs should get the fair chunk from the stimulus package not less than 6-7 per cent of GDP in both India and Nepal.

Thakur added that the open borders with Nepal, especially from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh should be monitored well and without creating hassle for trade transit and essentials. Also, he shared that the greater sensitivity is required in the Government of Bihar for providing safe transit to the stranded Nepalese workers in Patna and other parts of state. Both the sides in India and Nepal, the Embassy should coordinate with the State governments as well seeing the extraordinary nature of prevailing circumstances with Covid-19 and long lockdown.

The other eminent speakers who deliberated on Strategizing Economic Rebounding and Cooperation in India and Nepal. were Sushil Bhatta, Member, National Planning Commission, Nepal & IPP, MAN, Nepal, Satish More, President, CNI, Anukool Bhatnagar, MD & CEO, Nepal SBI Bank Ltd, Abhay Kumar Singh, CMD, NHPC and among others.

The webinar was moderated by K V Rajan, Chairman, INC, and Nirvana Chaudhary, Chairman INC(Nepal), PHD Chamber. The webinar was attended by Anil Khaitan, Former President PHD Chamber, and many senior PHD members and industry stalwarts.

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri is consulting editor of BiharConnect. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for diverse media streams in India and abroad.

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