Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Samanvay 2008 – Valedictory Session

Three days of euphoria at Samanvay 2008, the annual B-fest of DoMS IIT Madras, finally reached its termination with the valedictory function. The session was presided by Shri N. Vittal, Former Central Vigilance Commissioner and Shri T.S. Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner as Chief Guests.

Shri N. Vittal who is from the IAS cadre of 1960 batch, addressed the gathering on ‘Models for Inclusive Growth’. He started with explaining how due to variety of reasons some words become buzz words and with due course of time become clichés. ‘Inclusive growth’ was one such buzz word at the beginning of this year. There was another growth which gathered some attention, the growth at the cost of damage to the environment. But ‘Inclusive Growth’ remained the buzz word for all political and other reasons. The history can be traced back to 20th century which was dominated by ideological differences between two super powers, US & Soviet Union. Communist countries believed that state must control & command and centralized planning was the better strategy. But in 1990 when Soviet Union collapsed, communist countries accepted that for achieving growth and economic development, market forces should prevail. This in turn led to the idea that private sector and not the government should be allowed to play significant role in the economic development. Hence, the technological & IT revolution followed and world became flat with increasing globalization. But not everyone was benefiting from the process of globalization. Many voices of discontent were raised for- the mom & pop stores who lost to the massive organized retail stores, the domestic labour intensive processes which could not stand the onslaught of multinationals and so on.

The liberalization & anti-liberalization fight was so intense that NDA government which launched the ‘India Shinning’ campaign lost the election to UPA government. The present government’s initiatives like Rural Employment Guarantee Act and Rural Development missions have been launched to focus on aam admi. That’s how inclusive growth became a buzz word today. The inclusive growth as such left two categories of people untouched – Rural areas and the minority section including muslims and dalits. Inclusive growth can also be looked up from geographical point of view where in few cities and states have been left behind. Talking about possible solutions to the problem of Inclusive growth, Shri Vittal stressed on need of clarity in our thinking so far as underlying values are concerned, 80-20 is widely accepted management observation and it can be applied in policies to discourage the lack of effort by people. Shri Vittal stressed on developing a new business model for inclusive growth but should not encourage populist initiatives like reservations etc. Private Sector should play a bigger role through its CSR initiatives. Shri Vittal concluded by saying that on the issue of inclusive growth, we can apply our knowledge and find solutions which ultimately lead to greater prosperity.

Shri T.S. Krishnamurthy addressed the gathering on ‘Democracy & Good Governance”. Shri Krishnamurthy recalled how with fall of the Berlin wall and The Soviet Union, the democracy became fashionable. But many western nations use democracy not in its true form but as a tool to further their own purpose. Democracy when started originally in Greek and Roman establishments was more participating but over the period of time it has changed. Has the democracy in India and many other countries, achieved its purpose? Democracy as such creates more hindrances for growth but yet it achieved some success in few countries primarily due to affluent nature of these countries. Moreover democracy has to suite the culture of the country also. India has been praised as the largest and the most successful democracy in the country but we still have many people in rural areas, who lack even basic needs of survival. Shri Krishnamurthy believes our democracy is in danger. We still follow old British style of governance, while they have changed, we haven’t. Corruption, lack of transparency, sub-national authoritarianism, misuse of media etc. all these factors are denigrating our democracy. Shri Krishnamurthy concluded by saying that “we need more introspection to improve the quality of governance in the country”.

In the end, Prof. L.S. Ganesh, HoD, DoMS IITM, expressed deep felt gratitude to the Chief Guests for enlightening the students and gathering on such contemporary issues. He reinforced his belief in the new generation of students that they will sensitize with all sections of the society. With that Samanvay 2008 was declared closed.

Vishal Chourasiya

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