A One-Month Immersive Online Intermediate Certificate Training Course and Online International Autumn School Program on, Contours of the Public Policy in India in the Amrit Kaal was conducted by the Center for the Study of Finance and Economics (CSFE), IMPRI, Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi from September 1 to September 30, 2023.
On Day 9, two speaker sessions were lined up, the second one being A Discussion on Key Messages and Insights from the Course by Prof Mukul Asher, Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI; Former Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS). He started his session with greetings to the chair, the moderator and IMPRI. His session focused on important mega messages that could summarise the course aptly.
He began by praising the technological advancement that has occurred and highlighted the huge technological growth that his generation faced. He substantiated his stated point with an elaborate graph tracing the time from 1800 to the present and calculating technological growth in the same. He also took up case studies to infer the importance of technologies and how companies must accept technologies to stay in the market and continue business with competition.
Mega Message 1
He stated that his first mega message would be to address Oikophobia which is a term that stands for aversion to a home environment or an abnormal fear (phobia) of one’s home and also a tendency to criticize or reject one’s own culture and praise other cultures. He states that this is a major problem for the citizens of India and this needs to be addressed so that Indians stop reprimanding their cultural ethos and values.
Mega Message 2
There is a need to construct a sound strategy but with flexible tactics and sector/issue-specific engagements to deal with the changing global geo-economic and geo-strategic environment. Looking at India’s current geo-political status, he states that India has taken a neutral stand in the world stage and this denotes that it has neither friends nor enemies.
This is a strategic and calculated move and action as this way India can focus on policy issues at hand rather than world power struggle and conflict. He sufficed his saying with a graphical representation of the changes in the geo-economic and geo-strategic environment and India’s stand in the same. He explicitly highlighted Dr Jaishankar’s UN speech where he stated that India wants to be Vishwa-Mitra and that is actually a very clever and safe point to be at.
Mega Message 3
There should be a focus on reforming public and private organisations while pursuing at the same time, broader reforms. He stated that ownership of enterprise becomes relevant only in very number of cases and Technology is enabling the range of complex organisations involving both private and public sectors. According to him, our minds shouldn’t be ideologically blocked and biased towards one sector particularly and we should look at improving both sectors with an unbiased and open mind.
On those grounds, he looked at the top 20 profit-making companies in India listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and concluded that there is a mix of public and private companies with Reliance topping the list followed by SBI. He basically did this to reinforce the point that we shouldn’t be dogmatic about the private and public sectors and blind-sightedly think of the private sector to be the only profit-making sector.
Mega Message 4
There is a need for transformation rather than incremental change for Amrit Kaal. He took the example of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam Bill passed by the Indian Parliament which provided 33% reservation for women in State and Central Government Legislatures once the delimitation exercise is completed and he notified this step to progress in the process of enhancing the performance of the Amrit Kaal.
He takes up important case studies of noteworthy missions that foster the improvement of India on transformation fronts like the Samudrayaan Mission, etc. He also highlights India’s improvement on the space arena through the recent development of NASA’s partnering with ISRO which uplifted India’s prestige by leaps and bounds and proved to be a major step towards India’s improvement and transformation. Another notable transformation example would be the Vande Bharat Express thereby improving India’s transportation facilities by huge margins.
Mega Message 5
There is a concern regarding data which makes it a necessary need to upgrade statistical agencies as he stated that if one starts making decisions based on data, a lot can be done with a lot fewer resources. There are many areas where the transformation process is incomplete and improving on data can meet up this discrepancy.
He concluded his session with an interactive Q&A which answered all the questions that attendees had.
Posted by Reet Lath, Research Intern at IMPRI.
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