Indian industry must pitch for economic nationalism and pledge to use locally manufactured products, as it conserves precious foreign exchange in billions of dollars apart from boosting employment and entrepreneurship, Jagdeep Dhankhar, Vice President of India said on Tuesday.

Addressing the All India Management Association’s 14th Managing India Awards event in the capital, Dhankhar called upon industry, trade, business and commerce leadership and associations to nurture the spirit of economic nationalism - shun avoidable imports and curb raw material exports.  

“Avoidable imports driven by mere fiscal gain may improve your fiduciary balance sheet but will slur your societal commitment. Financial gain can never be justification for compromising national interest. The same is the alarmingly worrisome scenario when raw materials as such without value addition are exported”, he said.

Pooling of CSR funds 

Dhankar also called upon captains of industry to pool part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to help create world class R&D Centres and Institutions of eminence. “Pooling of CSR funds for this purpose even by those at the top can do wonders. I am sure this suggestion is worth deliberation and consideration by the industry elite”, he said.

Dhankhar highlighted that in developed nations Research and Development is spurred by industry.  “Same is the situation when it comes to creation, development and nurturing of institutions of eminence”, he said.

“Our industrialist has given $ 50 million to foreign universities. I appreciate that. Now our youth look for opportunities and skill development is the need of the hour. Skill development can take place only when you have institutions in that category that can empower skills. I am sure this will come about in India,” he added.

Dhankhar handed various awards to captains of industry including ‘Business Leader of the Year’ to Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and MD , ITC Ltd; ‘Lifetime Contribution to Media’ to N Ram, Director, THG Publishing Pvt Ltd and Former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu; ‘Outstanding PSU of the Year—Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd; ‘Transformational Business Leader of the Year’ to Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Bharti Airtel Ltd and ‘Emerging Business Leader of the Year’ to Ashish Bharat Ram, Chairman and MD, SRF Ltd.