Mumbai: World Hindu Economic Forum to promote enterprise amongst Hindus globally

Updated: Sep 21, 2019, 07:35 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Desperate times call for brave measures, say organisers of Mumbai's first World Hindu Economic Forum

Swami Vigyananand at the announcement on Friday. 
Pic/ Bipin Kokate
Swami Vigyananand at the announcement on Friday. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

It was an early Diwali for the corporate sector, with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reducing the tax for corporates to 25.17 per cent. That was a cheery note to start on for the announcement of the World Hindu Economic Forum (WHEF), a business networking platform to promote enterprise amongst Hindus globally, to be held for the first time in Mumbai from September 27 to 29.

Saffron-robed Swami Vigyananand, initiator of the forum, watched on as Shriraj Nair, Mumbai's Jt Secretary Konkan Chapter and national spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), said, “The theme this year is 'prosperous society: stronger society' and there is going to be building on business opportunities and networks. This is not just an impressive sounding term but will have solid meaning.”

The three-day annual conference of the forum will see 354 foreign delegates and 650 Indian delegates from 37 countries and has been divided into 14 sessions, with politicians, and businessmen in attendance.

Here are excerpts from mid-day's conversation with Swami Vigyananand:

Why should one hold this forum during this economic downturn?

To focus on industry. These meets should be held in challenging times, when things are going well it is easy to grow. It is more important to address the difficult phase. There has been a huge loot during the political regimes especially in banking and other spheres leading to a sharp decline in the economy. The situation becomes a chakravyuh (labyrinth) in which we are ensnared and we have to find a way out of that.

On the tax rate...

I would like to see a steady decline in tax rates to 16 per cent, this will be a big driver and boost to the economy. We do not want a flight of capital. We should be moving towards tax rationalisation.

On Howdy Modi event and criticism

Few persons are going to protest. When you have approximately 50,000 people in Houston, a small group protesting is not going to malign the PM Narendra Modi's image.

On ecological damage through industrialisation

A balance has to be found. Some green sacrifice will be there but we can regenerate and substitute. If trees are cut, plant double the number of trees. Easier said than done, but that does not mean it cannot happen.

On banks and the crisis

Mark Twain said: 'A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain'. Banks will lend when the going is good but not in bad times. We need to have a distress fund. Bank mergers are also done to save the sector, to attest loss in employment and see there is no panic.

On the atmosphere of fear

There are those who put an axe on their own feet, did wrong and now they are even scared to walk.

On being accused of doublespeak, talking about ethical wealth but letting defaulters escape

There is action and there will be ongoing action but we have to go to the root too, regarding how and why these loan amounts are given.

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