A closed door session at the India Today Conclave saw author and thinker Malcolm Gladwell, known for his even demeanour and cool thinking, getting unusually animated. Almost agitated. He was comparing India's growth with China's in a roomful of CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior business professionals. All the rapid growth in China in recent decades or in the future, he said, could never justify the millions persecuted in the Cultural Revolution. A plodding democracy called India, to him, was the clear choice if it came to choosing versus China.
More such praise for the world's biggest democracy was evident at the Conclave, India's biggest leadership event in its 12th year, on March 15 and 16. Speakers ranging from Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economic Adviser to the government, to Infosys Co-Chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan, to Vinod Rai, the government's top auditor, to MIT professor and author Abhijit Banerjee, deliberated on economic democracy and the nuances within. Insights were plentiful on an economy in transition, opportunities for the world's youngest demography, an exploding entrepreneurial society, investment risks, and the perils of discretionary powers in a democracy. We spoke with two of the best brains at the Conclave. Read how Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group, is turning around his company's Indian operations despite having to write off $700 million. Also, read an interview with the cheerleading Malcolm Gladwell. For more, go to www.indiatodayconclave.com.