Brainchild of Ajay Khanna of Jubilant Bhartia Group, Harish Krishnan of Cisco, Dr. K.C. Ravi of Syngenta, and Prema Sagar of Genesis Burson-Marsteller, the idea of a forum for Public Affairs practitioners emerged from an informal meeting over a latte. The initial discussion ranged from the lack of clarity on the role of Public Affairs, or the approach to advocacy, to the larger need for a code of conduct and furtherance of a collaborative mindset. Everyone agreed that it was time for the industry to come together and create a framework of practices for Public Affairs.
PAFI had humble beginnings and it was with the support of Chambers & Associations like ACMA, SIAM and FICCI who placed their trust and helped by graciously allowing PAFI meetings at their premises. In one of the initial meetings at Cisco’s office, there was encouraging participation from industry and this strengthened the resolve of the founding members to pursue their mission. Several distinguished professionals came forward to support the idea, including Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Sanjay Baru, Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Tarun Vijay, Amitabh Kant, Dr. Subir Gokarn, Anil Padmanabhan, Dilip Chenoy, Vishnu Mathur, Dr. Subhajyoti Ray, Vinnie Mehta, Didar Singh and Ajay Singha, who helped us in every step of this journey.
In July 2012 Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) was registered under Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. Membership was opened soon after and was formally inaugurated on September 25, 2013, with a panel discussion on ‘How to work for a vigorous economy in an unsettled polity’. It is here that the management committee announced its decision to organize an annual Forum.
In the months that followed, members worked tireless to bring to life a flagship event on Public Affairs, Policy & Advocacy. The 1st National Forum was held on 18th September 2014 with the theme ‘Engaging Stakeholders: Creating Value, Altering Perceptions’. The then Union Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhu, inaugurated a packed session on ‘Changing Landscape of Public Affairs in India’. Sanjay Singh of TATAs, along with Cisco & Jubilant Bhartia Group have been generous supporters of PAFI & its National Forums from the initial days. With each passing year, PAFI’s National Forum has grown bigger and today is among the leading conclaves on policy issues in India.
Since its inception, PAFI has organized more than 125 meetings, and 8 National Forums, that witnessed representation from heads of the Public Affairs/Corporate Affairs functions of leading companies, Industry Associations and Government bodies. Speakers comprised of Union & State Ministers, Chief Ministers, Government Secretaries and diverse stakeholders. Details about the National Forums and PAFI Dialogues are provided in the Events section.
PAFI is the only organized forum in the country with membership from large & medium-sized transnational Indian & foreign companies. The Forum has more than 75 members, with representation from heads of the Public Affairs/Corporate Affairs functions of leading companies, industry associations and select government bodies.