The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is set to be hosted in the Indian city of Hyderabad on 28, 29 and 30 November. This is the eighth edition of the GES, but the first time India plays host to the global congregation of entrepreneurs.
The theme this year is "Women First, Prosperity for All" and will focus on energy and infrastructure, healthcare and life sciences, financial technology and digital economy, and media and entertainment, according to the summit's official website.
Ivanka Trump will represent the US government and lead the American delegation, which includes officials and entrepreneurs. She will also deliver the keynote address at the three-day summit.
The summit will have a total participation of around 1,500 entrepreneurs and investors. That includes 400 from India and 800 from the rest of the world, with the American delegation likely to comprise 350 to 400 participants. There will also be 300 investors at the summit, according to a report by the Tribune India.
With the event date approaching, enthusiasm among Indian entrepreneurs, especially with the start-up community, has been overwhelming.
"Definitely, the response was much, much more than the 400. India has become a very important start-up destination," Jayesh Ranjan, a government official in Hyderabad, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The report mentioned that they could not confirm the actual numbers that applied to take part in the summit, but there have been reports stating that over 44,000 applications had been submitted for the 400 slots. The enthusiasm was also high, given US President Donald Trump's daughter was speaking at the event.
"When she speaks as the head of the US delegation, in a way she would be communicating what is the official position of the US government about entrepreneurship, about start-ups," Ranjan added.
GES will have over 52% of its participants, investors, and ecosystem supporters represented by women for the first time this year, since its conception eight years ago when Barack Obama was the US president. More than 10 countries that include Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Israel will have all-women delegations, noted a report by The Hindu. Over 30% of the participants will be 30 and below, added the report. The youngest entrepreneur will be 13.
It being a global summit where delegates from all over the world are touted to participate, the host city of Hyderabad in southern India has been busy preparing itself. The city has been undergoing several "beautification drives". New roads, pavements, and other infrastructural enhancements have been underway for nearly a month now, suggest local media reports. It is also being reported that a number of corporates have decided to pitch in and sponsor some cleaning up projects.
While some of these efforts seem to be a step forward, the local government has also taken a few rather bizarre steps in cleaning up the "city of pearls". Reports emerged last week that Hyderabad's police officials are gathering beggars and taking them away. They are being held in shelter homes within prison grounds. The Daily Mail reported that until mid November, at least 200 such homeless people were rounded up and transported out of the city. Cash reward worth 500 Indian rupee (£6, $8) have also been announced for anyone who would report authorities on beggars.
The report goes on to say that the cash reward drive introduced by local police has had the desired effect as thousands of beggars have fled the city. Senior police officials have said that the drive was undertaken to clear the city out for the GES as well as World Telugu Conference in December.
Police commissioner M Mahendar Reddy said people were begging in an "indecent manner" and that, "they are also employing children and handicapped persons to solicit or receive alms at the main junctions of the road. Such acts are causing annoyance and awkwardness." The report noted that begging is a criminal offence in the country, carrying a prison sentence of up to 10 years, but the law is rarely enforced.
'We will complete the clearing of beggars from the city roads by the end of the month,' said VK Singh, a top police officer in Hyderabad.
Beggars were loaded up in vans and taken to a temporary shelter set up in prison grounds where they were reportedly offered clean clothes, food and a place to rest. They were also fingerprinted, photographed, and records were made with the police, who warned them that they will be arrested if found begging again.
Another effort to clean up the city has taken a rather sinister tone. Indian news outlet Deccan Chronicle reported that stray dogs have been poisoned. People have reportedly complained that dogs around the Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills localities have gone missing. The report mentioned that local residents have accused the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) of rounding up these dogs.
Animal rights activists have also alleged that dogs all over the city are being picked up or poisoned. Dogs have been found either dead or dying from serious cases of poisoning.