The World Bank defines empowerment as a process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.
When the 12th edition of Infocom, the largest meeting of minds of IT and telecom professionals, kicks off in Calcutta on Thursday a heady cocktail of corporate leaders and policy makers will brainstorm just that: the multi-dimensional aspect of empowerment, the underlying broad theme of this annual affair.
The ABP Group initiative, which brings together over 1,200 delegates, 75 speakers, 40 sponsoring firms and over 100 exhibitors from across the world, plans to challenge the basic assumption about the way things are and also find new avenues to empowerment.
In the process, the three-day conclave at ITC Sonar on the EM Bypass and the exhibition next door on the Milan Mela grounds are expected to provide a fitting platform to showcase Brand Bengal at a time when the Mamata Banerjee government is striving to pitch the state as a preferred investment destination.
“It is coming at the right time when we have set a new target for ourselves. IT export from Bengal has crossed the Rs 10,000-crore mark to reach Rs 11,120 crore. The march is on towards the next target of Rs 20,000 crore. We are using IT to empower our citizens and government functions too,” said Bengal IT and industry minister Partha Chatterjee, who will inaugurate Infocom 2013 on Thursday.
“It is a marquee event. This is a great opportunity to showcase what we are doing in the East. It will help us position ourselves in the national landscape. Infocom is a brand that draws the presence of national leaders. That will foster business,” said Debdas Sen, eastern region managing partner, PwC.
Debasis Basu, vice president and head of Calcutta operations, Cognizant, added: “For the past many years, Infocom has provided the IT industry a forum to exchange thoughts and ideas about future technologies and trends that have the potential to become game-changers.”
Empowerment for inclusive growth would be the first point of focus for the likes of Ashok Soota, executive chairman of Happiest Minds, Rajendra S. Pawar, chairman and co-founder, NIIT Group, Ralph Simon, CEO and founder of Mobilium Global, and P.K. Malhotra, deputy managing director of State Bank of India.
The spotlight on Thursday evening will be on ‘Infocom 12 IT Gems of India’ — a first-of-its-kind award platform in eastern India to salute some outstanding individuals in the field.
Some inspirational figures from beyond the IT field will also make their way to the Infocom stage — Jamling Tenzing Norgay, celebrated mountaineer, Chhavi Rajawat, a sarpanch in Rajasthan doing revolutionary work, Yossi Ghinsberg, a motivational speaker, Adora Svitak, a child prodigy who us author-teacher-activist.
Running parallel to the conclave will be the exhibition covering hardware, software and more spread over 1,50,000sq ft on the Milan Mela grounds. A focus area will be the ‘Innovation Hub’ where engineering students from across India will showcase innovative projects.