The Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture Series has been instituted to commemorate the memory of IRMA’s Founder Chairman and the Father of the White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien.
The Seventh Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture was delivered by Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Government of India, on 16th December, 2018, at Tribhuvandas Patel Auditorium, NDDB, Anand. Speaking on The Path Ahead: Transformative Ideas for India, he addressed those gathered via a live webcast from NITI Aayog, New Delhi.
Prof Hitesh Bhatt, Director, IRMA, delivered the welcome address, while Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, IRMA, introduced the speaker Shri Amitabh Kant, to the audience.
Beginning his address by remembering the founder of IRMA, the late Dr. Verghese Kurien, Shri Kant said, “Dr. Kurien has left the stage for a young workforce to follow him as change agents for a better tomorrow. His heritage is immense.”
He went on to acknowledge IRMA’s immense contribution in grooming managers for the rural sector, especially cooperatives, microfinance, rural banking as well as NITI Aayog amongst many others. He also shared his experience of working with IRMA alumni, saying “The students who graduate from IRMA are truly outstanding”.
In the course of his lecture, Shri Amitabh Kant outlined his career journey, with special focus on his stint with fisheries cooperatives at Matsyafed. He explained how the cooperative model helped improve the livelihoods of fisher communities in Kerala with examples from his Matsyafed days. He also stressed on the need for the Anand Pattern to make inroads into the agricultural sector, especially, pulses, coarse grains and perishables. He highlighted that for true development, decision making should always lie with the producer herself. He emphasized that a smart collaboration between cooperatives and technology can be a gamechanger to enhance India’s production and productivity. He also said that the need of the day is institutional reform towards a model that resembles the success of cooperatives and that here, he foresees the role of IRMA.
His address was followed by a riveting Q&A session that saw participation from IRMA faculty as well as students.
Prior to joining NITI Aayog, Shri Kant was Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). A distinguished member of the Indian Administrative Service (Kerala Cadre, 1980 Batch), Shri Kant is the author of Branding India – An Incredible Story and has been a key driver of Make in India, Startup India, Incredible India and God’s Own Country campaigns which positioned and branded India and the State of Kerala as leading tourism destinations. Shri Kant did his schooling from Modern School, Delhi. He graduated in Economics (Hons) from St. Stephens, Delhi University and pursued his M.A from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a Chevening Scholar. His many laurels include the Economic Time Policy Change Agent of the Year Award, the Bloomberg TV Personality of the year Award, and the NDTV Administrator of the year Award, among others.