Australia India Council Annual Report 1999–2000
With the dual objectives of promoting awareness of the potential of the Indian market amongst Australian business people and promoting Indian awareness of trade and investment opportunities in Australia, the Council supported activities aimed at making bilateral trade opportunities better known and understood in both countries.
The Council provided funding for a major conference on the Âsecond generationÂ of economic reforms in India, held in Chennai in December 1999. Jointly organised by the Australia South Asia Research Centre (ASARC) at the Australian National University and the Madras School of Economics, the conference sought to contribute to Indian policy making on second generation economic reforms, as well as to raise mutual awareness of the economic opportunities in each country. Other participating Indian institutions included the Indian Institute for Social and Economic Change in Bangalore, the Reserve Bank of India, and the Indian National Council of Applied Economic Research.
The Council also provided funding to ASARC towards the costs of publishing and distributing in Australia and India the text of the 1999 K R Narayanan Oration, given by Mr P Chidambaram, the former Indian Finance Minister, during his visit to Australia in June 1999. The Narayanan Oration was inaugurated following President NarayananÂs visit to Australia as Vice-President of India as part of the AIC-initiated India Today 1994 promotion of India in Australia.
During the year, the Council also agreed in principle to provide funding for a proposed annual lecture program by eminent Australians in India, in conjunction with leading economic research institutions in both countries, as a counterpart to the Narayanan Oration.
The Council-funded AustraliaÂIndia Business Exchange Program, managed by the AustraliaÂIndia Business Council, seeks to provide young Indian and Australian business executives with first-hand knowledge and experience of each countryÂs business, economic and social environment, as well as the technological infrastructure, and to develop bilateral business contacts.
Mr Ranjan Sinha, Manager (Imports), Tata Iron and Steel Company, visited Australia under the program from December 1999 to February 2000 to work with BHP Coal, which is a major supplier of low ash coking coals to Tata Steel. Mr Sinha visited BHP mines in Queensland and New South Wales to identify possible new sources of semi-soft coals and thermal coals for Tata Steel, and to analyse blending options for such coals.
Mr P C Acharya, Deputy Manager, Environmental Management Division, Steel Authority of India, visited Australia from March to June 2000 to work with engineering consultants URS Greiner Woodward-Clyde in Sydney and Melbourne on a wide range of environmental management and pollution control projects.
The Council agreed during 1999Â2000 to provide funding to the AustraliaÂIndia Business Council for a fourth series of business exchanges, to take place in 2000Â2001.
The Council provided funding to the Asian Agribusiness Research Centre, Orange, NSW, to enable Professor Vasant Gandhi of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, to visit the Centre during AprilÂJune 2000 to participate in a collaborative study on recent developments in the Indian wheat industry.