Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman addresses Indian diaspora in SF Bay Area

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman
Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman
Photo courtesy: PerfectClick
Prominent Indo American Community with Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Indian Finance & Corporate affairs minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman was here in the US to attend IMF-WB Spring Meetings 2022. She addressed the Indian-American community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The event was organized by the Consulate General of India, San Francisco on April 23, 2022 at University of SiliconAndhra, Milpitas. The event was attended by over 200 that constituted entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, community leaders, elected officials of Indian origin, media and various Indian organization members. The event was also attended by Indian Ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. The cultural program hosted by the students at University of Silicon Andhra including Kuchipudi and Indian patriotic song performances by children born and brought up in the U.S. was received well by the community.

Deputy Consul General Rajesh Naik delivered the open remarks for the event. Consul General of India San Francisco Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad welcomed Minister Sitharaman, her delegation and Ambassador Sandhu to the West coast, referring it as the best coast in the US.  He talked about the massive Indian population residing in the USA, in the San Francisco Region of California in particular, which has been contributing towards the business, society, and economy. He mentioned Indo Americans constitute 4% of the Bay area population and have been successful in all walks of life.

Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu while addressing the gathering lauded the efforts taken by the diaspora during the COVID second wave to India. He added SF Bay area diaspora has played an imperative position right from Gadar movement to the present day technology talent. Amb. Sandhu hailed the healthcare ties between India and the United States and said the relationship between both the nations is crucial to vaccinating the globe. “As democracies with shared values, open exchange of knowledge, information and ideas is integral to India-US relations. Strengthening technology, and innovation partnership is also central to strengthening the strategic pillar of our relationship,” he said. Indian Ambassador to US has met more than 100 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and more than 40 governors, to urge them to source more from India. The United States has requested India to help out with the food grain situation right now, Ambassador Sandhu noted.

Photo courtesy: PerfectClick
Photo courtesy: PerfectClick

India’s sharp economic recovery post COVID-19 and budget initiatives will help in sustaining growth momentum in the years to come, said Minister Sitharaman.

She noted that multilateralism has become more critical as the world is undergoing a phase of exceptional uncertainty. FM Nirmala Sitharaman has urged the Indian diaspora to become partners in growth of the country during the next 25 years as it attains 100 years of independence. She highlighted the contributions of the country’s people in innovation and research.

India’s economy grew 8.9% in FY22, and IMF has forecast an 8.2% rise this year. “India’s economic growth in the current year is robust and highest among all large economies and reflects India’s resilience and strong recovery.” Sitharaman mentioned about India’s accommodative fiscal stance accompanied by major structural reforms and strong monetary policies that have helped in the post-pandemic recovery.

Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India has the largest startup ecosystem with Fintech being the most preferred sector. She said that 1 in 4 startups belong to the Fintech sector and are increasingly becoming unicorns or startups that have a valuation of more than $1 billion. Foreign direct investment inflows into India have remained unabated before and during COVID and India remains the highest FDI receiver. “We’ve, as a government, spent a lot of time over the last decade trying to build the digital infrastructure framework within which we had ensured data security, data privacy elements”. She reiteration that India’s growth projection of 8.9% was the highest among all large economies, reflecting India’s resilience and strong recovery.

“This year we are marking Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and have entered into Amrit Kaal, the 25-year-long leadup to India@100,” Sitharaman said. The blueprint for the ‘Amrit Kaal’, the 25-year long lead up to India@100 are visionary initiatives aimed at taking us into the next phase of growth through digital transformation of all sections of the economy, transition to clean energy, adoption of climate action, encouraging private investment, building modern infrastructure funded by massive public investment, among others.

Minister Sitharaman lauded the efforts taken by University of SiliconAndhra in teaching the Indian culture and arts to the second generation Indo-Americans in the US. She noticed large paintings of Muthuswamy Dixit, Thyagarajaswamy and Shyama Shastri in the auditorium and explained the gathering on the greatness of the trio and their contribution to bhakti and music.

Anand Kuchibotla, President, Silicon Andhra
Anand Kuchibotla, President, Silicon Andhra

“The dependence on coal, and the speed with which we want to get out of it, will now be challenged,” she said when questioned by Vidya Sethuraman, IP Bureau chief, adding that, however, India’s commitment with regard to renewable energy would be met. India’s non-fossil energy capacity would reach 500 GW by 2030; it will meet 50% of its electricity requirements with renewable energy by 2030; reducing its total projected carbon emissions by a billion tons by 2030; it will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy to less than 45% and achieve net zero by 2070.

During the trip, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also met CEOs of large American firms like FedEx and Mastercard and discussed various opportunities for investment in India as the country is poised to be the fastest-growing large economy in the world. Sitharaman also met Accenture chief Julie Sweet, MasterCard CEO Mibach Michael and Deloitte CEO Puneet Ranjan.

Anand Kuchibotla, President, Silicon Andhra delivered the vote of thanks. University of SiliconAndhra has partnered with the CGISF to host their events at the Milpitas location. Founded upon the rich culture and values of India and rooted in the traditions of India, the University of Silicon Andhra (UofSA) serves its worldwide students and the local community by providing excellent research, professional, liberal arts, health, technology, sciences and education.

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