Home to some of India’s most admired leaders, and some of the greatest business minds – Gujarat is a land where leadership and entrepreneurship live and work in harmony.
The Gujarati Association of North America (GANA) in association with Consulate General of India New York and the Federation of Indian Associations – NY NJ CT on Jan. 10, 2021, held a hybrid in-person and online Gujarat Conclave, Investment and Tourism to promote development in the state.
The conclave aimed to seek inputs from subject matter experts. Organizers told Desi Talk, the conclave was attended by 4,000 spectators globally, as well as limited groups of individuals in-person based on regulations laid down by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Another 970 people attended collectively over Facebook and YouTube live and virtually over Zoom, organizers estimated.
Headlining the event was Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani. Other prominent participants from India were Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel, Tourism Minister of Gujarat Jawahar Chavda, President of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries Natu M. Patel.
The discussants also included distinguished tourism and media experts from the United States such as producer, TV host, and writer Darley Newman, Susan Geringer, president of Geringer Global Travel, and Sue Shapiro, president Shapiro Travel Resources.
Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, and Amit Jani, political advisor to President-elect Joe Biden also spoke during the event.
Chief Minister Rupani said, “Gujarat, today, has become the growth engine of the country. In the last ten years, the GDP of Gujarat has been growing at ~10% while in the financial year 2019-2020, the GDP growth rate recorded was 13%. It is expected to achieve an even higher growth trajectory in the foreseeable future.”
With just 5% of India’s population, Gujarat contributes to about 8% of India’s GDP. Gujarat also has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country at 3.4% as per a survey report by the National Statistical Office, Government of India.
“It is worth sharing at this platform that Gujarat has topped in the country in receiving the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) not only in the last year but also in the last two quarters. One lakh nineteen thousand crore FDI has been received,” the CM added.
Among the participants, were Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold and senior advisor and past-president of FIA, and his son, Dr. Ravi Parikh, a well-known ophthalmologist in New York, a great supporter of artificial intelligence, whose goal is to combine clinical medicine, health policy, management, and better deliver care to patients in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, who conducted the panel on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ thanked Chief Minister Rupani, CG Jaiswal, and those present, adding, “as a founding member of Gujarati Association of North America, it’s my privilege and honor to host this webinar in conjunction with FIA.”
“Today we are going to discuss artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in the health care industry in India. AI involves the use of the computer software that can assess, critically analyze and interpret data similar to the human being. We currently see AI in many industries to optimize efficiency and it reduces the cost,” Dr. Sudhir Parikh said noting how healthcare affects everyone personally and is an industry in the U.S. equal in size to the entire French economy. “Healthcare also has unique challenges of access with the many physicians and health centers in the large cities is increasing, increasing cost and need to address a growing an aging population.”
Dr. Ravi Parikh, chairman, Manhattan Retina and Eye Consultants said, “How AI can help us is that right now one issue is improving access. So both in the U.S. and in India many patients are from the rural areas, or due to crowding and now with many COVID restrictions, are unable to come in and be identified to seek care when they need it.”
He believes what AI can do is bring care outside of a traditional clinic. Patients could be identified easier without the need for an in person physician or nurse using smartphones or certain centers. This can help identify at-risk patients and bring them into care, both reducing costs and hopefully also improving care.
FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya praised the multicultural nature of Gujarat. “Gujarat is a diverse state that consists of not only Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Jews, all claiming to be Gujaratis and living in the state.”
He thanked fellow speakers and was excited to learn from all the distinguished leaders, on what Gujarat has to offer to the world.
“The Statue of Unity in Kevadia of Sardar Patel is attracting tourists not just from India but also from across the world,” said Consul General Jaiswal. “I encourage you to visit Kevadia, it is a project born out of the vision of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. I would also encourage you to visit Rann of Kutch. I have been there during the Rann festival and I can tell you that it is a unique experience.”
Natu Patel said, “Today India is exporting soya, rice, wheat, pulses, and various peanuts. All kinds of agricultural outputs are much higher. Similarly, horticulture by India is taking (its) place in the world. We were importing a big quantity of various types of horticulture. So, India is a consuming economy as well as provides the export platform, and Gujarat is well placed because we have 10 active ports and new six ports are coming. Due to the new labor policy, which is very friendly, you can, I think, hire people at a very competitive cost.”
Deputy Consul General of India in New York Shatrughna Sinha recalled the visit of Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy to Gujarat in September 2019, which the Consulate General of India facilitated along with the governor’s office. “We can organize many more of such interactions but of course we will need your support. I am sure you are there. And we need to work together in promoting the Gujarat-US relationship as well,” he added addressing the conclave participants.
Ohio State Senator Antani said he believes the younger Indian-American generation who are elected are able to do so because of the immigrant generation that came to the U.S. before them.
“Because of you, because of my parent’s generation who came to the U.S. and survived and now are thriving. That is very important and now you know our community is overall doing well in the midst of the economic and health crisis. Our community is doing well and one of the things is that when a community prospers, we as the diaspora must also look to our native land India,” Antani added.
Newman said, “I go into film or travel TV shows because our shows are all about putting locals on camera. They guide us through the area and share the history and the culture. Gujarat has so much of that to express and share everything from the culture, cuisine, and festivals to the Buddhist circuit and UNESCO world heritage sites. Those are the types of things that are amazing to understand. When you share that content and information with the world they want to go and travel to India; they want to travel to Gujarat; they want to experience those places. They get to experience through the power of television and through sharing of that information and content. Then so many people will go and do those things because they feel like they have learned about the place and they have experienced it through the people.”