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‘RTI activist’ claims India signed ‘nil’ MoUs and got zero investments during World Economic Forum meeting. Here is the missing context

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) are not signed by the Union of India at the World Economic Forum in Davos. They are signed by individual Indian States with various companies and business firms.

A month after the conclusion of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland, an Indian ‘RTI activist’ by the name of Ajay Bose has been spreading canards about the Modi government.

In a tweet (archive) on Friday (17th February) morning, he alleged that the Indian embassy in Switzerland has claimed that zero Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed and zero investments were banked by India at WEF 2024.

At the time of writing, the tweet was shared 1.6K times and liked by 2.8K users. Bose claimed that a cost of ₹54.63 lakhs was incurred by the taxpayers to send Union Cabinet Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw, Hardeep Puri, Ashwini Vaishnaw and 12 senior government officials to the World Economic Forum.

The RTI ‘activist’ thus insinuated that India’s participation at the global event was somehow a waste of taxpayers’ money and that the country did not benefit in the end despite spending ₹54.63 lakhs on the trip to Davos.

It must be mentioned that the question asked by Ajay Bose was aimed at the Union of India. Total number of MoUs signed by Government of India during WEF Conference held at Davos(Switzerland) in January 2024,” it read.

The response from the Indian Embassy in Switzerland stated, “Nil”. It added that the name and the total worth of each MoU is ‘Nil (Not Applicable).’

The missing context

However, it is in complete contrast to what Ajay Bose had been trying to insinuate through his tweet.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), which are non-binding in nature, are not signed by the Union of India at WEF. They are signed by individual Indian States with various companies and business firms.

During the recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, the Indian State of Maharashtra signed MoUs totalling ₹3.53 lakh crores (USD 44 billion). It also received an expression of interest for more than ₹1 lakh crore investment.

At the same time, the Congress-ruled State of Karnataka signed 8 MoUs worth ₹23000 crores with global companies. Another Congress-ruled State of Telangana clinched investments worth ₹36500 crores from both national and international firms.

As such, MoUs were not signed with the Union government (aka Union of India) but with individual States. A similar trend followed in 2023 and 2022 as well. Hence, the claims by Ajay Bose is misleading.

Return on Investment

The ‘RTI activist’ attempted to stir an uproar over the expenditure of ₹54,63,016 incurred by the Indian embassy in Switzerland for hosting 3 Union Cabinet Ministers and 12 senior government employees.

The per head cost thus comes to around ₹3.62 lakhs, which is a reasonable amount after considering the location (Davos in Switzerland), accommodation facilities and hospitality.

India took centre stage in discussions about clean energy, Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance, expansion of bilateral and multilateral ties with developing nations, economic growth and upholding democratic principles.

Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka secured heavy investments from both Indian and global companies, thus making India’s participation at World Economic Forum in Davos successful and worth each penny.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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