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Session Speakers

Shri N. Sivasailam

Shri N. Sivasailam is an officer of the 1985 batch of the Indian Administrative Service allotted to Karnataka Cadre.  He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering, University of Delhi.  He did his Master’s in Business Administration at the Faculty Management Studies, University of Delhi, and Master’s in Social Policy & Planning from the London School of Economics and Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights Law (IPRL) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Prior to this assignment, he served as Additional Chief Secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises, Government of Karnataka.  He has served in the Departments of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education, Forest, Ecology & Environment Departments of the Govt. of Karnataka as Principal Secretary. He has served Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Limited and Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation Ltd. as Managing Director, in earlier stints in the Cadre besides serving an assignment as Secretary in the Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Department of the State Government. In his earlier stint with the Central Government, he served as Deputy Secretary (AIS) in the M/o Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.  He was Special Secretary (Telecom) and was also ex-officio Secretary of the Telecom Commission in the Government of India.  Presently, he is Special Secretary (Logistics) in the Department of Commerce. He has been a Member of National Award Winning Teams in Panchayat Raj Administration and E-governance applications.

M. V. Rajeev Gowda

Professor M. V. Rajeev Gowda is an Indian Member of Parliament. He represents Karnataka state and the Indian National Congress party in the Rajya Sabha. He has been Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore where he also served as Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy. He has been a Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India and a Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellow. His most recent co-edited book is India’s Risks, Oxford University Press India 2014. He has a BA from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, an MA in Economics from Fordham University and a PhD in Public Policy and Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma. Prof. Gowda founded the Resurgent India Trust, has mentored start-up companies and works on youth empowerment, among other areas of interest. An avid quizzer, Prof. Gowda was founder secretary of the Karnataka Quiz Association in 1983 and national runner up on BBC TV’s Mastermind India in 2002.

Mr. Anant Pratap Singh

The undersigned worked as a director with a leading MSME consultancy firm during sabbatical leave from Aug 2006 to July 2009 for a phased multilateral agency funded project. During this phase, he monitored monitored/mentored three Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises clusters in a world  bank  and  DFID  funded   projects  implemented by Department of Financial Services Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India through SIDBI which included curriculum upgradation in MSME clusters, extending financial services in MSME Clusters, and setting up e-learning modules apart from skill imparting training sessions under technical and non-technical diploma courses by providing educational linkages with lead educational/technical institutes in the Local Economic Area of the concerned cluster. Apart from this, liaisoning with local industry associations and lead govt. functionaries was a major plank of the project for entrepreneurship development in these three clusters in order to bridge the gaps arising in backward/forward linkages, which was handled by the undersigned. Also worked on diagnostic study of ADB Project Report on “Urban agglomeration in three major Asian metropolitan cities. During his stint with Punjab National Bank, the undersigned has vast experience in having overseen Priority Sector Finance, MSME Development Agricultural finance development. Also has major experience in Prime Financial Inclusion Projects of the Ministry of Finance, GOI, and Bank; besides involvement/monitoring of Priority Sector and Agricultural Financing as also having got implemented the Lead Bank Scheme in various Districts in Western UP and NCR Regions. 

The undersigned has also been a key member of the bank’s corporate team involved in projecting Industry/credit related risks, and for that matter building up relevant models for the bank at the corporate level. Also monitored organisational transformation project of the Bank being implemented in NCR. Currently into planning and development function encompassing strategic advisory role for the bank at a prime location of NCR area where there is highest concentration of bank branches & business on pan India basis.

Mr. Nipun Mehrotra

Some thoughts from me on this topic, just as a starter from the top of my head. I know some thoughts may be in divergence to what you are thinking and I am willing to change my opinion on several as well – this is directional thinking the way I see it and based on years of experience interacting with financial institutions and FinTech. (By way of introduction, I have been a business leader in the IT industry, working in India and the Asia Pacific for over 35 years, (26 in IBM) and recently post IBM – have been working on some Societal areas like Women’s and Child health and development, early childhood education, Agriculture etc., to support the acceleration of India’s progress in “sustainable development goals” (SDGs). Closely working with some states like Karnataka, and foundations like Gates, Carnegie etc.) Financial inclusion is a critical need to be fulfilled and in some ways is the bedrock to the rest of the 16-17 SDGs. Without financial inclusion, there is no chance for us to make progress in Health / Education / Climate /etc. But the question really is how narrowly or broadly do we define Fin Inclusion, and then the role the Banks play in this. Just having a saving bank account is a necessary step but not a sufficient step – we can argue that for 80% of Indians in the “Lower Middle Income” LMI category, need access to credit and money to sustain themselves – they have very little to ‘save”. Especially since more than 77% of rural Indians and 45% of urban Indians have a monthly earning less than 10,000 – and that too this is seasonal and lumpy – not regular salary income. So in this scenario, they need money in those “non-earning” months for school, for health etc. – but where do they get it from? I saw a report that said that while 80% of Indians have borrowed money at some point in time, only 6-7% have ever managed to borrow from the organised sector – the rest coming from informal lenders (super high interest), or family and friends etc. So while formal Banks are a critical part of the financial fabric, their metrics and objectives are largely misaligned to what is needed – with the richest Indians paying the lowest interest while the poorest having to pay 3X-10X of what you and I would pay. The more we think of this problem in a way that is aligned to formal Banks, the less the chance of solving this in our lifetime. The way forward is a combination of technology that facilitates peer to peer lending etc., but also combining institutions like the Postal Bank to provide the last mile human touch – (the postman knows everyone in the village, has access to a smartphone, can enable Aadhar authentication etc.) Three additional vital aspects to be covered – (beyond the Technology-based accessibility) – first is ramping up financial knowledge and awareness; second is the availability of low-cost capital for micro financiers and finally is the focus on Women, which is a point also covered in the Conclave brochure. We need to improve financial awareness so that people esp. who can ill afford to – use the right product for the right use. Even when they have 10 years to plan for a child to go to college, or for them to buy a tractor, or build a house, most choose an expensive loan instead of a micro-savings product. When they have a health crisis they again, borrow money instead of using health insurance which is the right way to reduce and spread out risk. These unplanned loans are the biggest reason why families crawling their way out of poverty are pushed backwards. The Govt. providing free insurance is also not the answer, their ability for fiscal headroom is limited and it’s possible for most to contribute a few a month towards this. We need to explore cheaper sources of capital (banks have cheap capital but no serious intention to lend given metrics and credit scoring) and microfinance uses social and targeted credit successfully but their cost of capital is very high. (One option to lower this is to use peer to peer lending within the village or town or taluk. After all, those who have some money to spare will also welcome formal ways to earn additional interest compares to a bank saving bank.) And finally Women – it is estimated that currently out of the 90 T$ global economy, 13 T$ is contributed by women. This is likely to rise to 18 T$ in 2025 (and this increase is 2X of the estimated combined increase of India and China’s economies). It is also estimated that by 2028 women will control 1/3 of all businesses in India and Asia. They also have the best repayment rates in microfinance and when we provide credit to women, they tend to use the money for long term things like education, sustained income generation etc. We need to make a BIG bet on women in India – and that could be one big idea that the Govt. should leverage to pull our growth rates to beyond 8% on a sustained basis.

Mr. Krishnan Dharmarajan

Krishnan heads the Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI) in India as its Executive Director. In just over four years, Krishnan has built CDFI from scratch to an organization that now drives multiple impactful innovations. CDFI employs technology to improve design, drive faster rollout and effectively track large G2P programs. Initiatives include an integrated agri-business platform for farmers, and tools for nutrition delivery, financial literacy and rural transformation. With its partners, CDFI has developed and rolled out a digital platform that has delivered over $340M in benefits for pregnant and lactating mothers across India and an innovation that sources funds and helps Govt. manage post-flood rehabilitation. A recent innovation leverages mobile and analytics to impact health, education and rural development across an entire State. Pre-CDFI, as Commissioner (Systems), Krishnan worked on conceptualization and establishment of India’s GST-Network. He was also Principal Consultant for India’s National e-Governance Plan for five years at India’s IT Ministry. Krishnan received Government’s commendation for developing a mobile banking framework for the unbanked in the year 2010. He is recipient of the President of India’s award for distinguished service in the year 2006. Krishnan took early retirement from civil service in 2014. Krishnan has a distinction in computer engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy and has topped an MBA program from Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey

Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey joined Indian Administrative Service of Government of India in the year 1987.  Has experience of over 31 years in different senior policy positions in State Government/ Government of India and in the Indian Embassy in Germany. Present responsibilities,  as Additional Secretary, Trade Policy Division in the Department of Commerce include RMTR and UNCTAD, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, EP (Services), Implementation of the foreign Trade Policy Statement (2015-2020), FT (Australia and New Zealand),  IIFT and General Agreement on Trade in Services to cover all services negotiations, TRIPS negotiations and Intellectual Property Rights related issues in WTO, Sanitary & Phytosanitary Agreement and Technical Barrier to Trade Agreement , other WTO agreements and related issues/negotiations. National agenda on Standards and Global engagements on services are also being attended to.  In addition, also served in senior policy positions in the provincial government in the Department. of Industry & Commerce, Energy, Finance apart from working with the Indian Mission in Germany. Led many high level Government and trade delegations to various countries, represented India and/or conducted Trade negotiations in various areas, chaired many high level committees and currently discharge functions as Chief Negotiator of India. He has been recipient of Governor’s Medal, Chief Minister’s Gold Medal, National Award by Akhil Bhartiya Vidvat Parishad, Varanasi & Government of India Commendation Certificates for his services in the Central and Provincial Government.

Mr. Mohit Shukla

Prior to joining Barclays in 2010, he was with Citi for 9 years as Country General Counsel for South Asia. He has over 20 years of work experience with a diverse background, including the metals manufacturing, tobacco and hospitality industries, prior to financial services (first with the ANZ Group). Mohit is actively engaged in various citizenship and diversity initiatives of Barclays in India and is currently the executive sponsor for its LGBT network, Spectrum, in India. He also donates time as a teacher at the Happy Home and School for the Blind in Mumbai. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Foundation for Mother & Child Health, India, a not-for-profit focused on nutrition related awareness and training for vulnerable communities. Mohit has a degree in law from the University of Calcutta, and has a keen interest in theatre, having designed sets for, directed, and acted in, plays on the proscenium stage, and in Indian classical music which he continues to study.

Mr. Deepak Maheshwari

Maheshwari leads government affairs across India, ASEAN and China within Symantec, the global leader in cyber security. With over two decades of experience as a public policy and regulatory affairs professional, he has a keen interest in the interplay of technological innovation and socio-economic development. An oft-invited speaker, his articles, views and quotes have been widely and frequently published. He has been closely associated with various industry and professional bodies. Currently, he is the chair of AMCHAM’s Cyber Security committee and the co-chair of US India Business Council’s Digital Economy Committee. He is also a member of the committee on Artificial Intelligence set up by the government of India and adviser to the Global Public Policy Committee of IEEE. Till recently, he was the Global Chair of the IEEE Internet Initiative and also the chair of BSA Asia Pacific Policy Committee. Earlier, he served as the elected secretary of ISP Association of India (ISPAI) for two consecutive terms. He co-founded National Internet exchange of India (NIXI) and helped form the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). He’s also a founding partner of Connectivity Coalition, a mutistakeholder global platform for accelerating internet inclusion for the betterment of humanity. A graduate in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, he is also a law graduate and has earlier worked in Microsoft, MasterCard, Sify and HCL.