There’s hope for India, after all the Chinese are humans

Having just returned from the World Economic Forum in China, I’m filled with optimism and hope for India’s prospects. Let me explain:

For quite some time, there’s a line that’s been pushed through the media of the Chinese being super-human, super efficient, and all such super things. My visit last year to China confirmed this, but on reflection I feel I was awe-struck just to be visiting China – its hard not to be considering all the hype you hear about the economic juggernaut that’s going to increasingly shape all our futures.

Having taken the opportunity to scratch beneath the surface this time, I found that in many respects the Chinese are no different to my Indian brothers and sisters, it’s just that the state does a good job in presenting a different picture – one of an organised system and collective entity – which is certainly not the case.

In fact, witnessing and experiencing such difference, almost makes me like China more, it makes the place more humane, and for this reason more attractive as a place to visit and perhaps even invest in.

In India, the one thing we all know is that the government is simply incapable of trying to shape the world’s perception of India – which is no fault of their own, but simply a characteristic of the society it has become. With such rapid proliferation and scrutiny by the media and civil society groups, the government is held accountable – and perhaps does a better job at it than the Opposition parties in India.

When we look at macro trends, the economic advantages India is going to derive over the next thirty or so years from its demographic profile are absolutely gigantic. As Professor Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business School cited at the Summit – India will have a surplus of approx. 50 million skilled workers over the next few decades, whereas the rest of the world will have exactly the opposite.

Given this is the case, does it not stand that India has a fair chance of lapping China in this race to the top?

The Social Capital: Sumit Jamuar of Lloyds Banking Group

This interview was first featured on, where I write a column called The Social Capital

The Social Capital with Vikas Pota – What giving really means?

Vikas Pota speaks to Sumit Jamuar from Lloyds Bank…

Sumit Jamuar is a managing director at Lloyds Banking Group. He joined the bank in 2003 and is currently responsible for cash and payments sales, trade finance and agency treasury services and global clients for financial institutions (FI), part of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets.

1. Is giving important? Why?

Yes, it is. Balancing self with contributing positively to society is an important part of my upbringing and personal philosophy. I realise that I am immensely privileged and it is my obligation to give back to society when I am able to.

2. What charities do you personally support?

Personally, I don’t have one dedicated charity, but there are causes that are close to my heart. Being an Indian living in Britain, charities that help bring the two countries together in some way are in my view extremely valuable.

Specifically, charities connected to education, talent-development and sustainable-finance are also hugely important. Some of the initiatives that come to mind are Money for Life, Opportunities International, Pratham, Save the Children, and Sewa Day.

Additionally, my responsibilities as the chairman of the GEM Network within Lloyds are part of my commitment to contribute positively to society and the bank.

3. What was your first ever donation to a charity?

It was in the 1980s when there was a severe drought in India. With around 20 neighbourhood friends we organised and delivered a charity event where we raised about Rs 250 through selling tickets. We ended up meeting the Prime Minister at that time, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, to deliver the cheque for his relief fund.

Looking back, while the amount we raised was relatively small, I am proud that we worked hard and tried to contribute in our own way.

4. Which individuals stand out for their support to charitable causes?

Bill Gates and N.R. Narayana Murthy are both phenomenal individuals who have contributed to society on a huge scale. Their application of their business skills to solve social problems is quite unique.

Within the Lloyds Banking Group I have always been influenced by Truett Tate, our vice-chairman – client coverage, who has been an inspirational leader with his relentless focus on contributing to society through charitable causes.

5. What percentage of our income should we give to good causes?

I don’t think a percentage really matters as long as you do it for the right reasons.

6. What do you, personally, gain from contributing?

When I was young, someone taught me that I should give 10 per cent of my time to something that I am passionate about, to contribute to society without having any expectations in return. I have found that this approach has allowed me to be pleasantly surprised. These experiences have always enriched me, in many situations, in totally unexpected ways.

7. How do you decide whom to donate to? Does your family influence your decision?

It depends on the themes as outlined above, and on the person who is committing time to this cause.

8. What was the last charity fundraiser you attended? How much was raised there?

Recently at a senior leadership event we raised £10,000 for Save the Children, which is Lloyds Banking Group’s charity of the year.

9. Should charitable donations be private?

Yes, they should preferably be anonymous

Through these in-depth interviews with industry leaders, Vikas Pota asks charity-related questions that unearth the driving force behind their philanthropy and social responsibility.