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Engaging India is a co-thinking and co-solutioning platform for stakeholders from India and the Nordics to address global issues of sustainability, inclusive growth, and climate action. Our flagship annual event, 'Engaging India @Almedalen' is held during Almedalen Week on the island of Gotland and invites industry, academia and government to catalyse conversations and meaningful action.

Here are excerpts from Engaging India @Almedalen 2023:

Talks

 India-Sweden Sambandh

Opening address by

H.E. Tanmaya Lal,

Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia

Ambassador H.E. Tanmaya Lal, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia in his keynote address, highlights India's economic progress over the past few decades, and discusses why Sweden and India should expand engagement across sectors, including in green energy, green transition, health, and transportation.

'India has created a non-linear leap in connectivity, identity, bank accounts, social protection schemes & digital payments'

Talk by Pramod Varma,

Chief Architect of Aadhaar

Pramod Varma, Chief Architect of the Aadhaar and IndiaStack conducted a special session at Engaging India @Almedalen, where he spoke about the journey building digital public infrastructure, including Aadhaar (India's digital ID system) and UPI (India's digital payment system) for over a billion people. He speaks about the role of the market in a digital transformation, start-ups as digital building blocks, and the need for both public and private innovations to further contribute to the development of a digital India.

 Why we need a new thought architecture for solving global sustainability challenges 

Keynote address by

Mayank Singhal,

Vice Chairman & MD, PI Industries

"There should be no place to hide if we are committed to a fair and just transition to a climate-positive economy." Mayank Singhal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of PI Industries delivered a powerful keynote address at Engaging India @Almedalen on India and Sweden samband. He speaks about the 3 C's (Connections, Collaboration, Cooperation) as core pillars for this samband, and adds a fourth C - Conversations, as a model of re-engineering and re-calliberating human presence on Earth.

'We are all Frodos, but we are also Sauron'

 

Opening address by

Owe Ronström,

Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University

Professor Emeritus Owe Ronström sets the context for Engaging India @Almedalen using the analogy of 'The Lord of the Rings.' Like the epic battle in the series, Professor Ronström says, humans are also fighting an epic battle, which, in the 21st century, it is against sustainability. And here, we are the protagonists, as well as the antagonists.

'Focus on thought architecture & technology for co-solutioning'

Context setting by

Dr. Swaminathan Ramanathan, Deloitte & Uppsala University

As Dr. Swaminathan Ramanathan sets the context for the panel discussions, he talks about two possible solutions to problems around sustainability. One, use of technology; and two, a thought architecture that enables co-operation, collaboration, co-solutioning, and conversations in a respectful manner.

Case Study Presentations

'Digital solutions can prevent stubble burning & reduce air pollution'

Case study presentation by

Viral Thakker,

Partner & Sustainability Leader, Deloitte 

Every harvest season, 30 MT of paddy straw is burnt by farmers in North India. This leads to air pollution across the region and chokes cities like Delhi NCR for several weeks. At Engaging India @Almedalen 2023, Viral Thakker, Partner and Sustainability Leader at Deloitte India delivered a presentation on 'digital solutions for stubble burning', through a case study from the district of Karnal in North India. He shares details about the process, challenges, and outcomes from the AI-based solution that enables farmers to move from stubble burning to cleaner mechanisms of clearing stubble, while generating an additional income for themselves.

'Biologicals as the next-step crop protection mechanism'

Case study presentation by

Alexander Klausener,

Chief Scientific Officer, PI Industries

Enhancing our crop yield by 30% using technology can help make convert our land into organic cultivation. At Engaging India @Almedalen, Professor Dr. Alexander Klausener, Chief Scientific Officer of PI Industries presents a case for 'biologicals' as a new-age green alternative to the current technology used in agriculture for crop-yield enhancement.

'Technology can enable small-hold farmers reduce water for food production'

 

Case study presentation by

Henrik Johansson,

CEO, Spowdi

Globally, 30% of all food is provided by small-hold farmers. In India, small-hold farmers provide close to 100% of all food to their local communities. However, they remain stressed for water. Through the story of Bhavanaben in Gujarat, Henrik Johansson, CEO of SPOWDI, speaks at Engaging India @Almedalen about the need for smart-technology, such as SPOWDI's green-tech water distribution system that enables small-hold farmers to yield a better harvest in 80% lesser water.

'Re-imagining digital to the idea of Digital Public Infrastructure'

Case study presentation by

Sujith Nair,

CEO and Co-founder, FIDE

Sujith Nair, CEO and Co-founder of FIDE speaks at Engaging India @Almedalen about the applications of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) through the case-study of Namma Yatri in the Indian city of Bangalore. He speaks about how DPI can be used across sectors, and how economies across the world must go through a "digital corridor."

Panel Discussions

Co-solutioning for the Planet - Sustainable change in hard to abate sectors

Stakeholders

  • Shilpa Sachdeva Bhullar, Head of Legal, Risk & Compliance, PI Industries

  • Raine Isaksson, Docent, Uppsala University

  • Claes Kollberg, CTO, CemVision & Breakthrough Energy Fellow

  • Per Andersson, Head of Secretariat, LeadIT

  • Håkan Sundelin, Regional Director (Nordics), Electreon

  • Björn Samuelson, Lecturer, Uppsala University

  • Jakob Kiefer, Executive Board Member, Spowdi

  • Rupali Mehra, Founder, Content People AB & CMO, Spowdi (Moderator)

Transitions and transformations - Creating an eco-system - The India & Sweden perspective and how both can work together

Stakeholders

  • Ceclia Oskarsson, Trade Commissioner of Sweden in India

  • Viral Thakker, Partner & Sustainability Leader, Deloitte India

  • Anders Fundin, Director of Research, Swedish Institute of Quality (SIQ)

  • Sujith Nair, CEO & Co-founder, Foundation for Interoperability in Digital Economy (FIDE)

  • Henrik Johansson, CEO, Spowdi

  • Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Researcher & Project Leader, Utrikespolitiska Institutet (UI)

  • Jacob Hallencreutz, Group CEO, EPSI Rating Group (Moderator)

Speakers

Participants at Engaging India @ Almedalen 2023

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H.E. Tanmaya Lal

Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia

H.E. Tanmaya Lal is Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia. He has also held positions such as Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Permanent Mission of India in New York, and Head of the UN Economic & Social (UNES) Division at Geneva.

Mayank Singhal

Mayank Singhal

Vice Chairman and MD, PI Industries

Mayank Singhal is Vice Chairman and Managing Director of PI Industries. He is recognised as Asia’s Most Promising Business Leader by the Economic Times and named CEO of the Year by Business Today. He is on the advisory board on the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability. He has been nominated by the Department of Science and Technology, Gol as a member of the Governing Board of the Indo-US S&T Forum (IUSSTF). Mr Singhal is also on the Board of PI Life Science Research Ltd., PILL Finance and Investment Ltd., TP Buildtech Pvt. Ltd. Fratelli Wines Pvt. Ltd. and CropLife India.

Pramod Varma

Pramod Varma

Chief Architect of Aadhaar & CTO EkStep

Owe Ronström

Owe Ronström

Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University

Per Andersson

Per Andersson

Head of Secretariat, LeadIT

Jacob Hallencruetz

Jacob Hallencreutz

CEO, EPSI Rating Group

Pramod Varma is the Chief Architect of Aadhaar (India's digital id system) and India's Unified Payments Interface. He is also the co-founder of FIDE, Chief Technology Officer of Ek-Step, and Co-chair of the Center for Digital Public Infrastructure. He is also on the Advisory Board of various organisations including UIDAI, NPCI and SEBI.

Owe Ronström is an ethnologist and Professor Emeritus at Uppsala University. He's written extensively about sustainability, sustainable destination development, and multiculturalism and has over 100 publications to his credit. He has also been awarded the title of Rikspelman by the King of Sweden for his contribution to Swedish music.

Cecilia Oskarsson

Cecilia Oskarsson

Trade Commissioner of Sweden to India

Viral Thakker

Cecilia Oskarsson is the Trade and Invest Commissioner of Sweden to India. She has 20+ years of business development and consulting experience primarily in the APAC region.  Prior to this, Cecilia was the Global Product Manager for Atlas Copco. She has worked as the General Manager of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce both in Singapore and India, as Head of KappAhl India and as a consultant at Accenture Sweden

Viral Thakker is Partner & Sustainability Leader at Deloitte India. With over 26 years of consulting experience, Viral supports clients across industries in the public and private sector to design and drive their ESG strategy and transformation, helping them deliver social impact, transition to net-zero, build responsible value chains, introduce transparent disclosures and reporting, and bring about climate resilience.

Viral Thakker

Partner & Sustainability Leader, Deloitte India

Per Andersson is the Head of the Secretariat for the Leadership Group of Industry Transition (LeadIT). Prior to this, he served as the deputy director for EU Climate affairs at the Swedish Prime Minister’s office. Over the past 20 years, he has worked on various issues in sustainability, climate and environmental affairs at the United Nations and European Union.

Jacob Hallencreutz is the group CEO at EPSI Rating Group, a neutral performance assessments organisation. He is also Docent at Uppsala University. His research interests include quality management, change management, market research, strategy and operations.

Sujith Nair

Sujith Nair

Co-Founder and CEO, FIDE

Anders Fundin

Anders Fundin

Director of Research, Swedish Institute for Quality

Sujith Nair is the CEO and Co-Founder of Foundation for Interoperability in Digital Economy (FIDE), a not-for-profit organisation working on the development of open network protocols. He is also the co-founder of Beckn Protocol, an open-source initiative that enables the creation of decentralised digital economy ecosystems.

​Anders Fundin is Director of Research at SIQ - the Swedish Institute for Quality, and full Professor of Quality Technology and Management at Mälardalen University. He has over 20 years of experience in research and development in the automative industry.

Per Olof Arnäs

Per Olof Arnäs

Logistics Director, Einride

Per Olof Arnäs is Director of Logistics Strategy at Einride, a provider of digital, electric and autonomous shipping technology. He is also Associate Partner at Steerlink Partners, and has worked on building sustainability tracking systems for the freight industry. Per Olof has also held various roles at Chalmer’s Technology University.

Raine Isaksson

Raine Isaksson

Associate Professor and Docent,

Uppsala University

Raine Isaksson is Docent and Associate Professor in Quality Management and Sustainable Organisational Development at  Uppsala University. His research areas include sustainable building materials, and quality management.

Shilpa Sachdeva Bhullar

Shilpa Sachdeva Bhullar

Head, Legal, Risk & Compliance, PI Industries

Shilpa Sachdeva Bhullar is the Head of Legal Risk & Compliance at PI Industries. She has nearly 20 years of experience working as a corporate generalist counsel, with an interest in sustainability and environment protection initiatives.

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Alexander Klausener

Chief Scientific Officer, PI Industries

Alexander Klausener is Chief Scientific Officer at PI Industries. He has extensive experience in various R&D areas (Basic Research, Fine Chemicals, Process R&D, Agrochemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry), Industrial Operations, Knowledge Management, Administration and Business Management. Previously he was Global Head of Bayer CropScience Research and member of the Executive Committee. For 15 years he was lecturing as honorary professor at two universities, and is (co)author of over 250 patents and scientific publications.

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Jakob Kiefer

Executive Board Member, Spowdi & Former Sweden Ambassador for Sustainable Business 

Jakob Kiefer is the Former Global Head of Government Relations & Public Affairs, ABB. Prior to that, he served as a career diplomat, including as EU Foreign Affairs Council Sherpa, Deputy Chief of Mission in China, Ambassador to Chile and Peru and as Sweden’s Ambassador for Sustainable Business. Jacob was also Senior Advisor to the CEO Climate Leaders Alliance of the World Economic Forum. He is presently an Executive Board Member of Spowdi andBoard Member of the Institute for Security and Development Policy.

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Håkan Sundelin

Regional Director (Nordics), Electreon

Håkan Sundelin is the Regional Director of the Nordic countries at Electreon and leads the Smartroad Gotland project, the world's first electric road project to power buses and heavy trucks on the road.

Henrik Johansson

Henrik Johansson

CEO, Spowdi

Henrik Johansson is CEO of Spowdi, a greentech innovation company with a patented solar-powered, zero emission precision irrigation solution for small-hold farmers.

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Henrik Chetan Aspengren

Researcher & Project Leader, Utrikespolitiska Institutet (UI)

Henrik Chetan Aspengren is a Senior Analyst and Project Leader for the Asia Programme at The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI). He was previously an associated researcher at SASNET, Lund University.

Björn Samuelsson

Björn Samuelsson

Lecturer, Uppsala University

Björn Samuelsson is lecturer at Uppsala University, and at Luleå University of Technology. His research at Uppsala University, with Linde as partner, focusses on securing sustainable solutions for hydrogen in ferry  transportation.

Swaminathan Ramanthan

Dr. Swaminathan Ramanathan

Lecturer and Researcher, Uppsala University & Director, Deloitte

Swaminathan Ramanathan is a lecturer and researcher at Uppsala University with a focus on Sustainable Organisational Development. He is also Director, Strategy and Business Design with a focus on Climate and Sustainability at Deloitte.

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Gunilla Rosenqvist
Project Leader, Blått Centrum Gotland

Rupali Mehra

Rupali Mehra

Founder, Content People & CMO, Spowdi

Gunilla Rosenqvist is Project Leader at Blått Centrum Gotland, an institution working towards measures for a better marine environment. Prior to this, she was a professor of Ethology at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Co-ordinator of Baltic Sea Region at Uppsala University. She holds a PhD in Animal Ecology.

Rupali Mehra is the co-organiser of Engaging India @ Almedalen. She is founder of Content People AB, a strategic communications company, and Chief Marketing Officer of Spowdi, a Swedish green-tech company. She has over two decades of experience in media and communications in Sweden and India.

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Claes Kollberg

Co-Founder and CTO, Cemvision

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Max Rosvall
PhD Candidate, Uppsala University

Claes Kollberg is the Co-Founder and CTO of Cemvision, a sustainable chemical manufacturing company. He has over 20 years of experience working in various managerial roles in cement-centric building companies, where he has focused on making sustainable decisions. He is also a Breakthrough Energy fellow.

Max Rosvall has a M.Sc. in Socio-technical systems engineering and is currently a PhD Candidate at Uppsala University researching sustainable housing through applied systems thinking.

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Roland Engkvist
EU Coordinator and International Officer, Region Gotland

Roland Engkvist is the EU Coordinator and International Officer at Region Gotland. He has previously been the Regional Planner and Project Manager at Region Stockholm, Project Manager in Mälardalsrådet, and so on. He has over 20 years of experience in managing projects within the field of strategic urban and regional development.

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Mia Ljungblom
Programme Manager, Uppsala University

Mia Ljungblom is a Programme Manager for the programme Leadership & Quality Management Improvement. She is interested in leadership, group dynamics, culture and ethics.

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