The first meeting of the Advisory Group India took place in early May. This was a very important meeting in several regards. Four new members were formally introduced to the group and will from now on contribute their diverse expertise and network to the shared goal of the initiative. The Alliance for Integrity kindly welcomes Ms. Ambalika Gupta, Business Development Manager at Power Weave; Mr. Ramachandra Rane, Vice President, Rings Division Marketing & Supply Chain at Mahindra Sanyo Special Steel Pvt. Ltd.; Dr. Sapna Poti, Vice President Development at IIT Madras; and Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director at Ujala Cygnus Healthcare Services. The four members will bring new ideas and energy, thus playing an important role in ensuring that the initiative continues to grow in India.
In addition, the results of the election for the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Advisory Group were announced. The official election process took place before the actual meeting and was held online. Mr. Rajesh Chitre, Chief Compliance Officer at Merck, was unanimously voted as Chair and will lead the group’s efforts for the next twelve months. For the position of the Vice Chair, there was a draw between Mr. Dinesh Agrawal, an independent consultant, and Mrs. Shabnam Siddiqui, Director of the UN Global Compact Network India. It was decided to appoint both as Vice Chairs.
In the second half of the meeting, Ms. Seema Choudhary, Network Manager India at Alliance for Integrity, presented the activities planned by the initiative for 2020 and their respective status. As the world has witnessed an unprecedented pandemic, the approach and focus need to be adapted and changed to the current situation. In this context, Ms. Seema mentioned some of the activities that have already been adapted or initiated, and then invited members to gather ideas that can be undertaken to be more relevant and effective under the changed market conditions.
In the course of the discussion, the health sector has emerged as one of the main priorities for 2020. The Advisory Group can draw on two experienced experts in this field and is therefore able to offer specific modules and research for the sector. In this context, Mr. Rane proposed to maintain the focus on achieving the Vision 2025. Thus, he suggested to define the required tasks and to prepare an action plan with a targeted approach accordingly. Another important comment came from Ms. Ambalika: "It is important to look in depth at how we can help SMEs to meet the challenges they are currently facing and to discuss how corrupt practices will change during and after the pandemic.”
It was further suggested to share best practices and other activities that the Alliance for Integrity carries out in different countries. By doing so, the adaptations in India can be evaluated in a broader context and there will be an opportunity to showcase local best practices globally. As next step, the Advisory Group considers implementing a pilot programme for ethical health systems in a small geographical location to assess its impact at the micro level. Dr. Bajaj agreed to provide further details on the use of infographics to raise awareness in the health sector. Accompanying, all members shared their areas of interest and how they could support the activities.
The Alliance for Integrity will now hold bilateral meetings to concretise the discussed ideas and plan future activities in cooperation with the Advisory Group.
Author: Seema Choudhary