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Home / HTLS / HTLS 2017 highlights: My dad is a Muslim, my mother is a Hindu and I call myself ‘insaan’, says Salman Khan

HTLS 2017 highlights: My dad is a Muslim, my mother is a Hindu and I call myself ‘insaan’, says Salman Khan

The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017 gets off to a start with the inaugural address by Narendra Modi. Other speakers are former US president Barack Obama and Afghanistan CEO Abdullah Abdullah, among others. Here are the live updates.

htls Updated: Nov 30, 2017 17:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Salman Khan speaks at HTLS 2017, in New Delhi.
Salman Khan speaks at HTLS 2017, in New Delhi.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, which will see luminaries such as former US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah give their perspectives on India’s rise on the global stage.

The summit is being hosted against the backdrop of a host of reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax, the potential benefits of which have been acknowledged in a sovereign ratings upgrade by Moody’s. India’s growing economic clout has also translated into diplomatic victories that are transforming the traditional equations of geopolitics.

Click here for the list of speakers

Click here for the schedule

Here are the highlights:

5.35pm: Day 1 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit concludes. Join us again at 11am tomorrow for Day 2 of the Summit that will see the participation of former US President Barack Obama and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

SESSION 8: Actor and Philanthropist Salman Khan in conversation with Editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta

5.30pm: There is no religion in our industry. my dad is a Muslim, my mother is a Hindu and I call myself ‘insaan’, says Salman Khan.

5.25pm: Salman Khan on Padmavati controversy: Whenever there is a controversy around a film, there is a lot of loss. People panic, and refrain from going to theatres

5.20pm: I don’t think it’s fair to hurt anyone’s sentiments or to comment on a film without seeing it first: Salman Khan on the Padmavati controversy.

5.14pm: Bigg Boss is not scripted. Imagine how twisted a creative team would you need for all this to be scripted: Salman Khan.

5.10pm: On being asked his take on the Weinstein controversy, Salman says: The most disgusting thing on this planet is to exploit somebody to get them work.

5.08pm: The best thing to fight your fear is to run into it and take it head on: Salman Khan.

5.05pm: Salman Khan on being asked how he handles stress: I live my life for the moment. I will have a happy life if I keep making the right decisions moment to moment.

5.02pm: I have been linked with some of the most beautiful women, most of which is not true: Salman Khan.

4.58pm: For the kind of life I have led is the kind of life that everyone had led. I have been working 24 hours every day since the age of 15 years. I used to sleep in vehicles, says Salman Khan.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s a nice, hard-working life that I have lead: Salman Khan on the kind of life he’s led.

4.57pm: Media is leaving Bollywood behind in screaming. In Bollywood, one person screams, in media everyone is doing that: Salman Khan.

4.55pm: Whenever a star speaks, it creates employment for many: Salman Khan.

4.53pm: I think I have lead the most boring life, it’s just that the media fraternity has made it interesting: Salman Khan.

SESSION 7: ‘How to be a successful entrepreneur’ -- Paytm CEO and founder VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA, founder and CEO of Mad Street Den ASHWINI ASOKAN, co-founder and CEO of Hector Beverages NEERAJ KAKKAR

4:46pm: I wish Paytm becomes the first 100-billion dollar company, says Shekhar as the session concludes.

4:43pm: I once met Amazon to raise funds for Paytm, says Vijay Shekhar

4:35pm: Once you start loving what you do, there’s a different energy. The work-life balance is a wrong oxymoron to follow: Sharma

4:32pm: “It’s no time to sell out,” says Kakkar on being asked what he would do if a larger company attempts to buy Hector Beverages.

4:25pm: On entrepreneurship, Kakkar says it’s a selfish undertaking because you’re happy although your family isn’t happy and you barely earn anything.

Asokan compares entrepreneurship to juggling a time-bomb. “At any point in time, you get to hold only two. Question is what do you do when one of those bombs explodes?” questions Asokan

4:18pm: “There is no formula or history for us to follow,” says Asokan on running Mad Street Den, a computer vision and artificial intelligence startup.

“Mad Street Den is just getting started. Profitability is not one of the things bothering me currently. Getting the tech to everyone is our priority right now, profits should follow.” 

4:17pm: Increasing scale is like Star Trek, in which you’re discovering a new frontier every times, quips Kakkar, giving this example: 

“One of the problems we faced for making aamras was we wanted to ripen our mangoes naturally, not industrially. We started with 100 tonnes of mango, 5 years down the line we are doing 10,000 tonnes.”

4:15pm: One reason why India is behind China, Japan, Germany, France is because of language. Computing in India is in English while the language is not. Smartphones localised the technology: Vijay Shekhar

4:14pm: Talking about market trends, CEO of Hector Beverages, Neeraj Kakkar, says: We see ourselves as protectors of our traditional recipes.

4:10pm: “It’s really awful,” says Asokan on being a woman in the technology industry. She says it’s extremely challenging but it drives her harder.

4:08pm: For me it’s always been about cutting edge technology found in labs and figuring out how to get it in the hands of the public, says Ashwini Asokan.

4:05pm: Vijay Shekhar says if he wasn’t an entrepreneur, he would be a rockstar, Bono or Chris Martin.

SESSION 6: Dr. ASH K TEWARI and Dr. MADHAV DHODAPKAR on ‘How to beat cancer’

3:59pm: We need to introduce palliative care long before it is done... not just for pain control or symptom control, but for overall care: Dr Dhodapkar

3:52pm: Early detection and prevention are key to lowering cancer mortality in India. “Cancer doesn’t originate overnight. It takes years,” says Dr Dhodapkar.

3:48pm: The topic steers to the role of artificial intelligence in cancer treatment. Dr Tewari says robots can give an edge to the surgeon and help in accessing internal parts of the body without losing too much blood.

“Technology helps a lot but that doesn’t necessarily make a better surgeon.” 

3:45pm: Does environmental pollution increase the risk of cancer? Dr Dhodapkar says data is less established in certain cases. These are areas that have potential for causing malignancy (cancer) but it hasn’t been studied completely.  

3:43pm: Prostate cancer screening should be targeted for people who have a family history of cancer: Dr Tewari

3:38pm: Dr Dhodapkar elaborates on genome sequencing, which can help recognise the level of risk of cancer in a human body.

3:36pm: On immuno therapies, Dr Madhav Dhodapkar explains that cancer cells don’t live in isolation. “Normal cells that surround the cancer determine whether it would spread and the immune system plays a large role in it.

3:32pm: Cutting down on sugar, red meat and regular exercise are ways to live a healthy lifestyle: Tewari

3:29pm: The starting point is to first start the conversation about cancer... If we fight the cancer battle in the end, it will cost 6 times more than diagnosing it early, says Tewari.

“We have to look at investing into screening (of cancer) differently.”

3:25pm: Many causes of cancer can be prevented with vaccines such as for HPV virus.

3:20pm: In conversation with WHO deputy director general Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Dr Ash Tewari explains the workings of cancer and how it impacts the human body, citing that 7 lakh people die of the ailment in India every year.

“30% of cancer deaths in India can be prevented,” says Tewari.


2:15pm: Afghan women’s orchestra, Ensemble Zohra, begins performance at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017 in New Delhi.

Afghan women’s orchestra Ensemble Zohra performs at HTLS 2017 in New Delhi.
Afghan women’s orchestra Ensemble Zohra performs at HTLS 2017 in New Delhi. ( HT Photo )

This is the first group of women in their families, communities, and the country to learn music in over thirty years.


1:13pm: The effective tax on sanitary napkins earlier was over 13%. GST council put it in 12%. The inputs are taxed at 18%. So, the net tax is pretty small in comparison to the earlier tax rate, the finance minister talks about the controversial issue of levying GST on sanitary napkins.

If there was no fixed tax, the Chinese manufacturers would have flooded the market. It is an “ill-informed” debate: Jaitley on GST taken on sanitary napkins.  

Critics have demanded that the government withdraw GST levied on sanitary napkins.

1:10pm: We’ve stepped up our infrastructure spending considerably.

1:09pm: One of the biggest challenges since the last 3 years has been that we inherited a banking structure that was full of NPAs, says Jaitley on the banks in India.

1:05pm: Jaitley hints decision making body GST council could consider merging the current slabs of 12% and 18% into one rate and also reducing the number of items that are taxed at the highest slab of 28%.

“We started the rationalization (of GST rates) ahead of schedule. Future rationalization will depend on how the revenue moves. We have thinned down 28% (slab). Going ahead, we will rationalize it further to probably tax only luxury items at 28%.”

1:02pm: Now is time to concentrate and two areas -- rural India and infrastructure, so we can expect more spending more in these areas: Jaitley 

12:58pm: Unlike in developed countries, a chunk of employment in India is generated by the SMEs, informal and the unorganised sector: Jaitley

“One of the areas where we will concentrate is small and medium scale as well as the informal sector.”

12:53pm: If we would have had come up low GST rate initially, we would have had an inflationary impact, says Jaitley on Goods and Services Tax.

12:49pm: Jaitley says in order to nudge people to come within the tax base, India is the only country in the world to offer a 5% tax rate.

“Earlier, there used be an effective tax rate of 31%, we temporarily parked them at 28% and have now started rationalisation ahead of schedule. Future rationalisation will depend on how the collections improve.”

12:45pm: In the absence of an adequate social security mechanism, domestic savings was what Indians relied on: Jaitley

“We will have to keep our fingers crossed on exports... India will eventually have to fall back on domestic demand.”

12:43pm: India is becoming increasingly aspirational, at times even impatient. Earlier resistance was seen to reforms in early liberalisation in 1993-94, but that phase is over, Jaitley says.

“I’m certain of the direction we’ve put the economy on.”

12:41pm: A 10% growth is a challenging figure and it won’t depend only on domestic factors, Jaitleysays, adding he is realistic that to reach double digit growth you need to have a boom period.

12:35pm: In conversation with Jahangir Aziz, of JP Morgan, finance minister Arun Jaitley says India has not just structurally reformed, but each reform has a particular direction.

SESSION 4: VIKAS KHANNA and GAGGAN ANAND, chefs and restaurateur

12:34pm: Give up your life and pick up a knife -- Gaggan Anand’s advise for aspiring chefs

12:32pm: 2018 will be the last year I will accept an award. From 2019, I won’t, not due to arrogance, but to give way to the next generation: Gaggan Anand

12:30pm: Khanna and Anand differ on the government’s acknowledgement of promoting Indian cuisine abroad. Khanna says the government has been influential but Anand claims Indian products aren’t known abroad although it is one of the oldest cuisines.

12:27pm: Anand says “luxury is not cheap”, explaining why his restaurant isn’t affordable because the food he creates is expensive.

12:21pm: Vikas Khanna’s says his partner should have patience to live with him, and on a lighter vein, says shoudl have a dishwasher.  

12:17pm: Khanna recounts the difficult time he suffered a medical problem and he was told by doctors he might lost function of his hand. He recites his poem: ‘Seed’.

12:15pm: Cooking is a form of poetry: Vikas Khanna

12:13pm: We are super domesticated and we don’t know how to sell our regional food better, says Gaggan Anand on why regional food hasn’t thrived in Indian metropolitans.

Vikas Khanna and Gaggan Anand in conversation with Ritu Dalmia at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi.
Vikas Khanna and Gaggan Anand in conversation with Ritu Dalmia at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi. ( Burhaan Kinu/HT Photo )

We want to stay in a comfort zone. We don’t want to be aggressive, adds Vikas Khanna on the issue

12:11pm: We’ve (Indian cuisine) given everything that has made every other cuisine tastier and yet we are deprived: Gaggan Anand

12:10pm: I think we found more glory in copying restaurants on the global platform... the world has changed, says Anand on why chefs leave India to take challenges abroad.

12:05pm: I was not ambitious at all about opening a restaurant outside. I was lucky to get a visa: Vikas Khanna

12:04pm: Food is becoming a self-expression. Suddenly we are seeing people are creating their own language with food, says Vikas Khanna 

12pm: The only country I could go without a visa when I started was Bangkok, quips Gaggan Anand on why he picked Thailand to set up his first restaurant.


11:50am: “Fake news is a tough problem. There are sophisticated “bad actors” and we have to be increasingly smart. We are committed to fighting this problem,” Hardiman concedes while speaking at the third session of HTLS 2017.  

11:49am: India specifically, Facebook needs to make sure publishers have enough data and content for innovation: Hardiman

11:45am: “A world without news on Facebook is a scary world. It (News on Facebook) is not something we are walking away from,” says Alex Hardiman.

11:43am: We are constantly monitoring and using every tool at our disposal to ensure we purge fake news out of Facebook: Alex Hardiman

11:41am: There is a lot of competition. For instance, Snapchat is doing pretty interesting work. Twitter is trying to do more in news, says Hardiman, adding: “We need to make sure publishers have really innovative story telling formats at their disposal.”

11:39am: It’s less about competition and more about collaboration, says Alex Hardiman on challenges from other social networking websites.

“News won’t be a revenue engine for Facebook. So we’re coming up with innovative solutions.” 

11:30am: We (Facebook) are regulated. We treat every regulatory body in every nation as a collaborator: Hardiman

“We want to make sure high quality news that is trustworthy, informative and inclusive is part of a healthy ecosystem.”

11:28am: We have internally learnt a tonne about minimising fake news. Cutting financial motivation, sharing information with other platforms are ways to deal with misinformation, says Alex Hardiman.

Facebook is fighting fake news by increasing its investment to combat misinformation and using at least four ways to eliminate such content, Hardiman explains.

11:20am: If you go back to our roots, we are bringing people together. That said, we are a big part of the news ecosystem because news brings people together. Any article that doesn’t pass our filters is immediately downlinked and faces an 80% decrease in traffic. We have radically increased our investment to root out misinformation: Alex Hardiman

“We have started third party fact checking to check misinformation and fake news.” 

11:15am: “The amount of misinformation on Facebook is quite small but we absolutely understand that we need to get rid of it.”

Watch the session Live here

SESSION 2: Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive

11:13am: On the Shia-Sunni conflict, Abdullah Abdullah says the “good thing about Afghanistan is that our people, including Shia and Sunni groups, have lived in harmony. People understand their survival is linked to living in harmony.” 

1:10am: Irreversible changes is not just a promise for India. In Afghanistan too, the promise remains, including for people’s democratic rights: Abdullah Abdullah

11:08am: Our elections have been challenging but we hope for much better polls by 2019, awareness of people about their rights and women’s participation, says Afghanistan’s chief executive.

11am: We’ve been a victim and we’ve been at the forefront of the struggle against terrorism: Abdullah Abdullah 

10:58am: Chair Amar Sinha, former secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, questions Abdullah about US’ policy changes towards Afghanistan.

“The full impact is yet to be seen. On the ground, we are witness to the effect. There’s no doubt the Taliban is under pressure and that’s why they are targeting cities. The real impact will show itself when the neighbouring countries, where the (terror) sanctuaries are, act,” says Abdullah Abdullah seemingly referring to Pakistan, which Afghanistan has previously accused of harbouring terrorism.

10:55am: In the Question-Answer round, Abdullah Abdullah speaks about his early life and what prompted him to enter politics.

“During the 80s, I was studying at the Kabul University when the Soviets invading Afghanistan. I was taking food for political prisoners and that day, everything changed. In 1985, I joined the resistance as a medical doctor... the first years were spent doing surgery in caves. Gradually, I came into politics.”  

10:48am: We have the resolve to fight for what is right. We continue to be at the forefront of the fight against tyranny and terror. We will protect our people against Talibanism. We urge all nations affected by terrorism to boost their efforts through intelligence sharing and cooperation, says Abdullah Abdullah.

“During my recent visit to US I met admin officials and expressed our gratitude for continued NATO engagement.”

10:46am: “The last 16 years are a testament to Indian generosity and support as part of a global effort to fight terrorism and help rebuild Afghanistan. Today Afghanistan strives to overcome political abuse and terrorist attacks. These dark forces do not just threaten us, they threaten humanity as a whole.”

Afghanistan appreciates the hand of friendship that India has extended in our vulnerable times: Abdullah Abbdullah

10:45am: Both countries share a firm belief in a democratic order that reflects the will of our people with respect to human rights and dignity: Abdullah Abdullah

“Afghanistan is specifically thankful to India’s generosity and soft power... We share a vision of peace and prosperity. We continue to be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.”

10:40am: This summit is an opportunity for a frank exchange to discuss historic ties and warm friendship that our 2 nations share: Abdullah


10:30am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi ends his speech at the 15th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017.

10:27am:The influence of Indians is visible when there are elections abroad and slogans such as #AbKiBaarTrumpSarkar, #AbKiBaarCameronSarkar are used: PM Modi

10:25am: India’s success in the ICJ elections shows how India’s standing has risen among the nations: PM Modi

10:24am: PM Modi says India has come a long way from an era of policy paralysis that had put India among the ‘fragile five’ economies... Big and permanent changes do not come on their own, the entire system needs to be revamped. That’s how India scaled up the ease of business rankings.

10:22am: The government is developing a new work culture in bureaucracy and making it responsive, says PM Modi.

10:17am: I might have to pay a political price for the path I have taken (against corruption), but I’m ready for it, claims Prime Minister Narendra Modi at HTLS 2017.

10:16am: “GST has brought in transparency into the system; Aadhaar, the weapon against benami properties, has brought in irreversible change.” 

10:15am: Modi says along with money, demonetisation has also brought large parts of the underground economy into the formal system.

10:12am: “Our government has a holistic approach. We don’t work in silos, and we work together... We have transformed corruption in to probity. That’s why the people of India elected this government.”

10:11am: Demonetisation brought in proof of black money, finished parallel economy, says PM Modi of the government’s note ban initiative introduced in November last year.

“Post demonetisation, there’s a behavioural change among citizens.”

10:10am: The government is also strengthening the food processing sector: PM Modi

10:04am: Digital platform has been facilitated for farmers to sell their produce online from anywhere in the country: PM Modi

10:02am: Those who believe that the country cannot be transformed with a magic wand are filled with pessimism... That doesn’t mean we sit with our hands bound. This approach prevents us from taking risks. That’s why this government’s approach is different: PM Modi

10:01am: The LED bulb scheme has helped the medium income families to save up to Rs 14,000 crore, says PM Modi, recounting the progress made by India due to government schemes.

10am: The Prime Minister says Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme has transformed the lives of crore of women.

“The poor now have access to health and life insurance at a minimal cost,” says PM Modi.

9:55am: People who have Jan Dhan accounts are also using debit cards. This confidence of people is irreversible: Modi

9:50am: Earlier, the poor would be turned away from banks, now they have bank accounts, says PM Modi.

9:48am: I haven’t seen this kind of positive attitude in the country before... There is trust today, among women, farmers and youth: PM sModi

9:47am: “Two years ago when I came to the HT Summit the theme was towards a brighter India. Now, we are talking about the rise of irreversible India. This is the change in India’s thought. The positive attitude in country has never appeared before,” says PM Narendra Modi at HTLS.

9:45am: PM Modi begins his address.

9:35am: PM Modi arrives at the HTLS 2017 venue, in New Delhi.

9:20am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in a short while.

9.05am: SOAS professor Rachel Dwyer says Bollywood gets bigger, stays proudly Indian: There are fewer big Bollywood hits but they are getting bigger. Last year’s Dangal surpassed all others, while the two Baahubalis, PK, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and others are lasting hits.

8.56am: India emerging as regional power and global model, writes Kanwal Sibal: From the day the country became independent, it has faced many external challenges, but our physical size, civilisational resilience and ability to unite in a crisis have enabled us to overcome them.

8.40am: Why Ian Bremmer believes India’s foreign policy rides on Modi’s charisma: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong domestic position allows him to build a new kind of Indian foreign policy, one based not on a moral imperative to remain aloof from the fights of others but on a non-ideological pursuit of the country’s national interests.

8.39am: Why India is in a sweet spot to be a revamped economy, writes Bibek Debroy: India will likely become an upper middle income country and cross the threshold of US $3,955 by around 2050. The timeline will be affected, but not the essential thrust.

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