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Dear Members:

It is a privilege to lead a venerated institution such as the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This Chamber has been an unshakable pillar of strength for Indian businesses for 110 years. It has been led by business stalwarts and has rendered yeoman service.

IMC has enjoyed an impeccable reputation. This is why almost all the Presidents and Prime Ministers of India have graced the Chamber. Besides, the Whose Who of the country, including many of our Union and State Ministers and a galaxy of Business Leaders have addressed our Chamber.

IMC has the twin basic objective of serving our members and recommending policies to both our Union and State Governments to spur economic growth, and the well- being of our citizens.

I believe that the best government is the one that governs least. Economic history, whether it be East vs. West Germany, North vs. South Korea or the constituents of the erstwhile USSR, clearly point to the inexorable conclusion that free enterprise viz. business and industry catalyse economic growth, GDP and Per Capita Income.

India needs to accelerate its economic growth. We need to simultaneously create jobs for all our citizens. About 10 lac citizens need a job every month ! This is further compounded by the migration from rural to urban settlements, which is only natural as we continue to develop.

Two recent studies have discovered that India created only about 7 million jobs in 5 years. This is consequently creating a volcano of unrest, which is waiting to erupt. In keeping with this, I propose the theme for IMC for the coming year as "Creating Employment".

Employment will result from our increasing our economic activity at an accelerating pace. Economic growth takes place on the back of well formulated and implemented government policies. Besides, our fiscal and monetary policies, which are undoubtedly important, this needs policies that "Ease doing Business". I believe that over regulation is as big a show stopper as under regulation. We need a balance. Despite all our efforts, we rank in the bottom 1/3 of all nations, on the index of Ease of Doing Business, as per the World Bank.

Governments only listen to collective voices. They do not listen to individuals. Since our Chamber is the collective voice of over 2 lac Corporates, I am confident that we can help the Government to formulate Policies that will accelerate our growth.

Two years ago, President Dilip Piramal had adopted the theme "Job Creation through Skill Development". We certainly need Skill Development or Vocational Training, as it is referred to in many countries. My theme is a logical progression of this earlier theme of our Chamber.

IMC is blessed with being situated in the financial capital of India and has its own strategically located magnificent building. Besides, Mumbai is also the retail and entertainment hub of India. We need to leverage all of this, besides our membership strength for the benefit of one and all.

Many of our members are nationally renowned professionals and businessmen. Almost all are willing to spare some of their valuable time to benefit this Chamber. They can provide the leadership we need. I propose empowering them to show the way.

Many of our Indian business icons have chosen to live in the city of Mumbai. They are an inspiration to our youth. I propose to request them to spare some of their invaluable time to guide and counsel our younger members.

The future of India lies in our start-ups and MSMEs. The 3 most valuable Companies of the world viz. Apple, Google and Microsoft were founded only in 1976, 1998 and 1975 as start-ups. We need to institute policies, and find ways and means, to encourage our future Corporate leaders. This will result in both economic growth and the creation of jobs.

Fortunately we have a very committed Prime Minister whose personal life style and leadership sets an example to all of us.

It is my hope and aspiration that IMC will be a very important cog in the wheel of our economic engine for the benefit of our members and indeed the whole nation.

Dr. Lalit S. Kanodia
Ph. D. (MIT, USA)
President, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry