By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, May 22, 2018: Odisha is on the cusp of growth like never before thanks to stable political stability for long time.

The state, which was once globally blamed for “starvation deaths,” has come out a long way in the last two decades with its physical infrastructure in the sectors like road, railways, maritime and air transport developing reasonably well.

Hotel and hospitality industry has made a good impression. Industrial progress based on minerals has been noticeable. The economic growth rate is above national average. The State continues to be attractive investment destination.

Bhubaneswar, the capital city has hosted a number sports events of national and international importance. The ancient capital Cuttack with a beautiful stadium has attracted World Cup cricket.

Bhubaneswar airport has registered highest traffic growth in India.It has daily international flight to Kuala Lumpur operated by Air Asia and weekly flight to Bangkok run by Air India.

Inequality has reduced to a certain extent. There is noticeable growth in the middle class. Urbanization is visible. Educational institutions have proliferated. Hospitals in sheer number have made substantial progress. In terms of human resource it has reservoir of talent and experience. Young IT professionals from Odisha have made name for themselves in various field nationally and internationally.

The people of Odisha (Odia) origin are spread over India and have made mark in the governments, corporate world and legal profession. They have made their presence felt in USA, Canada, Australia, UK and in Europe apart from in Middle East and in South East Asia. Demographic dividend and geriatric populace are major challenges.

To address many past and current issues, economic, social and cultural, the State government and Centre are playing their assigned roles supported by corporate and non-governmental sector.

In the light of this background, the State and society, corporates and members of civil society, should extend their presence nationally, regionally and internationally. It has the capacity to draw greater amount of global attention than it has received so far. There is perhaps need for a dedicated institution.

First it should start with academic studies covering global business, cross-border trade including international bond, commodity and share market and international, commerce, global financial service, international relations, international institutions or organizations both public (or government) and private, international law and jurisprudence, and foreign culture including study of foreign languages and foreign indigenous people of other nations. The students from college and university level should be given education in the areas identified above after they have finished their degrees. Short and executive courses should also be organized.

Second, the proposed body can play a part in para-diplomacy to include global people-to-people contact, business, commercial and trade expansion, cooperation among academic institutions beyond national frontiers, promotion of its culture, literature and art across the world starting from South Asia, to South East Asia and East Asia and also look to the Western world more particularly east of the west, Africa (sub-Saharan and Maghreb countries) and Latin America. Initiative of the two-track diplomacy has been monopolized by the national capital. In the interest of balanced growth of all activities of international dimension this type of initiative need not be confined only to Delhi. Cross-border business leadership summit should not necessarily be only Mumbai centric. Bangalore and Chennai have reached their limits.
Delhi has become polluted and Mumbai is highly congested. The volume of air traffic to these airports has increased to such an extent that it has created noise Pollution, and contributed to air pollution. Alternatives to these over-exposed cities must have to be found. Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar has been identified as a smart city and finding a place in global indexing of 20 smart cities. In recent years it has got international air connectivity. It can be the centre of future global interaction with all the assets of infrastructure are getting available in Odisha.

Third, visits to foreign countries by academicians, local businessmen, experienced civil servants, corporate executives, journalists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, chartered and cost accountants and civil society activists whether in the government or outside would expose Odisha more to the world. It can spurt two-way traffic of business, tourism and academic interaction.

Fourth, in addition this dedicated body can arrange global economic, social and cultural summits in Odisha. Davos has become an international forum. Annual meet in this Swiss hill resort draws global business honchos, journalists, politicians, bankers, and diplomats for exchange of business ideas and identification of projects. The small town has gained immensely from this international congregation. The Saudi prince, Mohammed Bin Sultan (MBS) wants to establish an institution like DAVOS and create a desert city close to the Red Sea. NEOM is the name of this proposed place. China is also attempting to create similar outfit at Hainan.

This body can also deal with social issues like gender equality, empowerment of women, human rights, poverty alleviation, climate change, environmental protection and growing inequality in the world among the nations, peoples and corporate bodies. The effort made with initiative of Brazil to organize social summit at Manhaus in the early part of this century (later in Mumbai) needs to be taken forward.

The world has not witnessed a cultural summit except in a fragmented manner either in film or among poets, essayists and novelists. Annual summit can be organized to present different types of dance forms of India and other nations in addition to dramas, plays, musical concerts at appropriate time taking into account weather conditions.

This institution will have members of different types: individuals, corporate bodies, associations, government institutions, media, and civil society bodies etc. It can be registered as a society under Societies Registration Act. It should be funded by its members, participating fees collected during conferences, conventions, seminars and colloquium, publications and voluntary contributions and donations by philanthropic institutions. The institution will have a general and executive body in addition to advisory groups. It should associate other private and public regional and world bodies.

If efforts are made from now on, by 2036 – on the completion of hundred years of its formation, Odisha would be vibrant, and start galloping to take the rightful place in the nation, region and the world recounting our ancient glory.

For this purpose action should be taken to establish an institution dealing with international affairs. It can be called International Association of Global Diplomacy for Peace and Development (INGLOMACY) with a Centre for International Studies, a Group to promote people to contact through tourism, exchange of culture, trade and commerce. It will also have an Organ to make summits, economic, social and cultural.

This umbrella outfit will cooperate with institution like Kalinga International Foundation (which organized recently an international seminar of diplomats, academicians, intellectuals and artists etc with a view to promote Act East Policy of the Government of India), the Odisha Council of FICCI, Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (who send out local businessmen in quest of promotion of cross-border business), Odisha Forum Delhi which arranges events in the national capital to draw NRIs and other investors, and with Government who organizes road shows on tourism and business and sports events.

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