The 10th Subir Raha Memorial Lecture was organized by United Nations Global Compact Network India on the theme "Climate Conversation and the secret of prosperity in 21st Century" on 7 July. The event was supported by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation. Initially Director (HR) of IOC, Late Mr. Subir Raha was the former Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC.
Held after a gap of two years due to the pandemic, the Memorial Lecture had Dr. Joyashree Roy, the Bangabandhu Chair Professor at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, as the keynote speaker. The first woman to deliver the memorial lecture, Dr. Roy is also an Economics Professor of at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, where Mr. Raha was an alumnus.
Dr. Joyashree Roy delivering the keynote address at the 10th Subir Raha Memorial Lecture. She is the first woman to do so.
Dr. Roy started out by expressing her admiration for Mr. Raha, given how much she had heard about him in Jadavpur. Citing this as the primary reason why she agreed to mark her presence at the Memorial Lecture, she mentioned that her elder brother was his batchmate at Jadavpur University, and she had grown up hearing about him. Articulating about the nuances of sustainable development and new climate economy, Dr. Roy stated that "Communities are going to be at the forefront to tackle the challenge of the climate crisis. We need to have these difficult conversations every day and synergy shall build the way forward.” As she spoke at length on the role of diverse stakeholders in climate action, she mentioned that, “This Decade of Action is prudent to decide onto further Climate Actions and set priorities to refocus and reconfigure technology, investments, demand and supply chain models, and redefine value creation.”
Dr. Roy claimed in her address that investments concerning nature are crucial for the sustainable path to transform the twenty-first century. Business models and systems will then have to change tremendously for that pursuit. "The time for climate action is now! To open up the secrets of the twenty-first century, we need to tread the path towards stabilization & sustainability,” Dr. Roy opined. She concluded her address by stating that every person present at the lecture, either physically or digitally, along with all citizens would need to contribute to this pursuit, and ensure proper sensitization.
ONGC CMD Dr. Alka Mittal delivering the welcome address at the 10th Subir Raha Memorial Lecture
In her welcome address, UN GCNI President and ONGC CMD, Dr. Alka Mittal paid a heartfelt tribute to the Late Mr. Subir Raha by referring to him as a leader whose priorities rested on the foundation of welfare and well-being. She reflected that, "The late Mr. Subir Raha was a distinguished leader and an advocate of comprehensive human welfare that included material well-being as well as spiritual elevation." Sensitive to the needs of the organization, Dr. Mittal said that Mr. Raha spearheaded changes in ONGC almost like a movement. She highlighted how he was way ahead of his contemporaries in his vision. During his tenure as the CMD of ONGC, he established the ONGC Energy Centre in 2005, when most leaders would not even have considered that possibility.
Dr. Mittal mentioned that, “We really have to work to ensure that climate change does not impact us. We really need to work towards ensuring that the coming generations do not blame us for not taking action on time. While we are talking about concerns we are facing today, we need to look at the visionary leaders in Mr. Subir Raha and other founding members who took lead in establishing the Global Compact Network.” While stating that all prosperity relies on Nature, Dr. Mittal claimed that, "Humankind is required to show an unwavering will to build the future trajectory of Earth’s climate towards sustainability, habitability and prosperity."
Director HR of Indian Oil Corporation, Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra chairs the Administration Committee of UN GCNI. During the opening remarks, he reflected on the many contributions of Late Subir Raha in revolutionizing the functioning of Public Sector Undertakings in India. A visionary like Mr. Raha was staunchly in support of not losing values and ethics in choosing faster decisions, all the while ensuring that changes are meaningful and long-lasting.
Mr. Mohapatra said that "As the world slowly and steadily gets back to normal, we are ready to get back into action. Your presence at this event today depicts the power of foundational and collaborative efforts." He stated that establishing greater correlation between diverse things is quintessential for working towards Climate recovery and other important challenges of this century. There is then the requisite to stand at the cusp of transformations.
The officiating ED and Head APRC of UN GCNI, Mr. Aseem Kumar proposed the Vote of Thanks. He claimed that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were pivotal in scaling up the journey of UN Agenda 2030. He stated this is necessary for the Decade of Action to open up the aperture of prosperity of the twenty-first century.
Full house during the 10th Subir Raha Memorial Lecture
Late Mr. Subir Raha was the Founder President of UN GCNI and stands tall as a charismatic visionary who left many footprints in the sands of time. He transformed ONGC’s fortunes completely by his personal interventions and appetite for calculated risks. Remembered as one of the best CMD’s of ONGC’s history, Mr. Raha is said to have been devoted to each ONGCian just as much as the organization’s decisive ventures of growth. When the Indian economy had freshly opened up, Mr. Raha, with his legendary foresight, initiated deep and ultra-deep exploration activities, and started equity oil purchase from open market.
Along with members of the Global Compact fraternity, top corporate executives, board members and senior officials of ONGC and IOL, media persons and students, the event had in attendance Mr. Raha’s daughter, Miss Shuva Raha who heads New Initiatives at Council on Energy, Environment and Water. ONGC Director (T&FS) Mr. OP Singh, Director (Operations) ONGC Videsh Limited Mr. ON Gyani, and ONGC Director (Finance) Pomila Jaspal were also present at the occasion.
A short film based on the illustrious life of Mr. Subir Raha that was showcased earlier received from acclaim from the audience.
Miss Shuva Raha (daughter of Late Mr. Subir Raha) being felicitated by the dignitaries