India Economic Seminar (2016): Day two

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India Economic Seminar (2016): Day two

The second day of the India Economic Seminar 2016 organized by The Public Policy Club, IIMB, in association with Swarajya, featured eminent speakers on various economic and policy issues. It comprised of illuminating discussions with some of India’s leading scholars, economists, and policy experts on topics ranging from Infrastructure, Agriculture, Planning and Policymaking.

The day began with Prof. V. Ramakrishnan’s lecture on ‘How to make Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a Method for Infrastructure Projects more effective? ’. He asserted that effectiveness of the private sector cannot happen if the government is inefficient. One of the major fallacies of PPP is that the private party bears the risk. In fact, the risk actually falls with the government. He explained how PPP necessarily must have a social dimension that is, unfortunately, missing currently. He suggested three factors that must be addressed and agreed upon as core elements of PPP:

  1. Definition and agreement of shared interests between the public institution and private party
  2. Positive benefit-cost ratios and both parties
  3. Potential for creation of synergies among the participants
  4. Ramakrishnan described how PPP is an institutional builder. And when you’re building an institution, there should be clear delivery outcomes that endure. He pointed to how e-Chaupal is a brilliant PPP model – Indian, mid-scale, local, beneficial. Prof Ramakrishnan concluded by saying that your PPP partner must be at arm’s length with the supply side.

Mr. Sivakumar Surampudi then spoke on doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022. He mentioned that the last time farmer incomes were doubled, it took 17 years. We want to achieve the same target this time in just 7. The challenge of doubling incomes becomes tougher keeping in mind that we can’t raise the consumer prices too much. He explained how generating power through solar farms is a great opportunity for the farmers. Also, that the APMC Act needs a change. The operator of the mandi and administrator of the regulatory act are the same which leads to a conflict of interest. He also pointed out that instead of looking at which crop fetched the best price last time, farmers need to grow crops considering future prices. We need to invest in R&D, along with introducing a predictable and science-based policy. He suggested that when the subsidies are channelized in improving productivity, the shift will occur for good.

Next, we had a panel discussion on ‘The political economy of economic reforms in India and the role of the Prime Minister’ including Mr. T C A Srinivasa Raghavan, Mrs. Seetha and Mr. Vivek Kaul as panellists and Mr. R. Jagannathan  as the moderator. The day was concluded by a presentation on ‘Acche Din Indicator’ by Mr. Ashish Chandorkar and Mr. Rahul Bajoria.

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