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‘Commerce is a means to achieve social good’, says Ajit Pai, NITI Aayog at Jindal Banking & Finance School-Seattle Univ joint conference

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) The Jindal School of Banking & Finance (JSBF), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) and the Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, USA jointly organised a two-day virtual Conference on “Societal Impact of Commerce: Sustainability, Technology, and Social Good”.

Ajit Pai, Distinguished Expert and Head (Economics and Finance) at NITI Aayog delivered the Keynote Address of the Conference where he said that if our intention is to grow sustainably and use technology as an enable, then commerce is a means to accelerate path to achieving social good. He said that global trade and commerce is a great way to ensure that there is less friction around the world and the quality of life improves significantly for everyone on this planet.

He observed: “Commerce is a great way to ensure that there is less friction around the world and the quality of life improves significantly for everyone on this planet. Population and demographics are proven drivers of economic growth but looking at it on a GDP and per capita basis, we can see that trade is a very material driver, highly correlated with the overall quality of life and GDP per capita growth. So it is a sort of de facto driver of what quality of life is and societal impact. The world that embraced trade grew much faster than India.”

“Post-liberalisation, India almost tripled its per capita GDP, which has been a function of statically improving trade. To accelerate commerce and the social good, technology is a great enabler and sustainability as one of the social goods both in terms of sustainability of growth as well as environment consciousness is a very worthy intention, which this Conference is focused on.”

The Jindal School of Banking & Finance at JGU and the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University firmly believe in meaningful engagement of students and faculty on contemporary issues of sustainability, fintech, inequality and financial inclusion.

The joint Conference is one of several collaborative efforts and initiatives that the two institutions are working on. Other sessions included New Directions in Finance: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Businesses And ESG Standards: Transitioning Towards Sustainability, Impact of E-Commerce on MSMES In India and Making Financial Inclusion A Priority with panelists like Xiaochen Zhang, Principal Manager, Amazon (NASDAQ:) Web Services, Cathy Xuying Cao, Associate Professor, Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, Jon Maron, Vice President of Growth, Matterport, Joseph Chun Partner, Shook Lin & Bok, Singapore, Jason J. Shen, Executive Director, Market Director Banking, JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:), Dennis Comer, Program manager, Central Area Collaborative, Che Wong, Senior Business Lender, Equitable Lending Program Manager, Craft3, among others.

In the opening remarks of the Conference Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University mentioned, “Rarely we see business schools and finance schools provide leadership on issues related to sustainability and social good as a larger part of how businesses have social responsibility. I am very delighted that through the leadership of Dean Joseph Philips and his colleagues Prof. Meenakshi Rishi and Prof. Ajay Abraham, we’ve been able to put together this Conference in a relatively short span of time.”

“Issues related to sustainable development and sustainability are the heart of many things which we do within the university. I am happy to see that today we are collaborating with the Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics on focusing on the intersection of sustainability, technology and social good and its future for the promotion of commerce and understanding its impact for society.”

Professor (Dr.) Eduardo M. Penalver, President, Seattle University added, “I am very excited about this collaboration with O.P. Jindal because I see in your institution a very similar commitment to both innovation and human engagement. As constitutional democracies, our two countries share a commitment to pluralism, and to free enquiry, and there is a great deal we can and need to learn from one another and I am confident that this gathering will prove to be a fruitful example of that.”

“Seattle University is currently reimagining our undergraduate curriculum in order to ensure that our students graduate with a deeper understanding of the relationship between rapid technological change economic and racial inequality and equity, and our quest to build a sustainable future. On an almost daily basis, we see the impacts of technology and commerce on social good and on the future of our shared home.”

The Dean of the Jindal School of Banking & Finance, Professor (Dr.) Ashish Bhardwaj emphasised on the need for academic institutions in India and the Pacific Northwest of the US to collaborate to enhance learning opportunities for students and faculty members. He said, “All of us in higher education understand that our strength as one world, one people, is inextricably tied to the success that we demonstrate in bringing people together irrespective of their disciplines.”

“Problem solving collectively is the only way ahead as we face the future together. I am happy that we were able to bring together scholars and practitioners to talk about sustainability, about new directions in finance, which are transforming how we understand business, do business, and how we receive it as consumers. It is also important to understand how smaller businesses and low-income households have been impacted by the pandemic and what we can do to bring the benefits of digital transformation and digitisation of finance to them. I hope the faculty and students at JGU’s School of Banking & Finance and Seattle University’s Albers School can work on such issues together.”

Professor (Dr.) Joseph Philips, Dean of the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University added, “this Conference is very timely, given the changes sweeping over the business sector, and business schools. A growing number of businesses are acknowledging that their success cannot be tied to shareholder primacy, but that a successful business must respond to multiple stakeholder groups: employees, customers, partners, the community it operates in, and not just owners.”