CPR Dialogues 2018: Navigating India’s 21st Century Transitions

20 August 2019

In December, 2018, Centre for Policy Research launched the inaugural edition of CPR Dialogues, titled ‘Navigating India’s 21st Century Transitions', a multi-disciplinary policy conference that brought together leading academics, policy practitioners and other stakeholders to engage in a robust, evidence based dialogue on the most critical public policy questions of our time. 

  • How can India meet its energy needs as a growing economy while shifting toward cleaner energy?
  • How can India manage its urban transformation so that it builds inclusive, sustainable, green 21st century cities?
  • How can India overcome the twin challenges of declining agricultural productivity and weak human capital to create productive jobs in a rapidly changing 21st century economy?
  • How can India leverage its technology advantage and create an innovation eco-system while protecting individual and community rights?
  • How should India respond to shifting geopolitical trends and re-position itself in a changing global order?

India today is at the cusp of significant developmental transitions. Choices made, as India negotiates these transitions, will fundamentally shape its future developmental trajectory. These choices are wide-ranging and require negotiating multiple and often conflicting socio-economic demands. The policy challenge today lies in identifying appropriate pathways and institutional mechanisms to negotiate these transitions and set India on a path toward a sustainable, inclusive future. India is not alone in confronting these challenges – many countries across the globe are facing similar challenges and India has much to learn from their experience.

To debate these issues and learn from global experience, CPR organised Dialogues 2018 bringing experts from countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia, Egypt and Nigeria to engage in a conversation on the challenges and opportunities for India as it charts a new path toward a 21st century development future.

A dedicated website created for the Dialogues hosts blogs on and video recordings of the discussions that took place at the various panels – www.cprdialogues.org

ThePrint was the digital partner for the Dialogues and Hindustan Times was the print partner for it.

Key sessions included:

The video (above) of this panel features Jamshyd Godrej (Chairman and MD, Godrej and Boyce), T N Ninan (Chairman, Business Standard Ltd), Rajiv Kumar (Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog), Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University), and was chaired by Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR).

Yamini Aiyar’s article in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here

Online coverage of the panel by ThePrint can be accessed here. The Print also interviewed Jamshyd Godrej and Rajiv Kumar as part of the Dialogues.

This panel featured Lavanya Rajamani (Professor, CPR), Joanna Depledge (Editor of Climate Policy journal, and Senior Fellow at Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance at the University of Cambridge), Chandra Bhushan (Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment), and was chaired by Ambassador Chandrashekhar Dasgupta (former Ambassador and Indian climate negotiator).

Lavanya Rajamani’s article in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here.

This panel featured Shibani Ghosh (Fellow, CPR), E Somanathan (Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, and Program Director, CECFEE), Ritesh Kumar Singh (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India), Nitin Sethi (Senior Associate Editor, Business Standard), Vinuta Gopal (Co-Founder and Director, Asar Social Impact Advisors), and was chaired by Navroz K Dubash (Professor, CPR). 

Coverage of the panel by ThePrint can be accessed here.

CPR announced the launch of its Technology and Society Initiative (TechSoc) at the Dialogues. This initiative aims to strengthen CPR’s efforts towards research-driven conversations and policy thinking on emerging technologies, building an indigenous innovation ecosystem in India, and regulating the same. 

The session featured Ashutosh Sharma (Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India), Venktesh Shukla (General Partner Monta Vista Capital and Ex-Chair TiE Global) and Ananth Padmanabhan (Fellow, CPR). 

Coverage of the session by ThePrint can be accessed here.

This panel featured Shweta Rajpal Kohli (Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, Salesforce India & South Asia), Anu Acharya (Chief Executive Officer, Mapmygenome India), Shyam Divan (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India), Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Founder and Executive Vice-Chairman, Info Edge (India) Ltd) and was chaired by Ananth Padmanabhan (Fellow, CPR).

Ananth Padmanabhan’s article in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here.

This session featured Eric Gonsalves (former Chairperson, Governing Board, CPR), Pradeep Nair (Regional Director, Ford Foundation), Mukta Naik (Fellow, CPR) and Swati Janu (Awards Mentor). The Youth Awards were designed to interact, collaborate and mentor young men and women across the country to understand their concerns, their perceptions of the environment and society, and to help them take steps towards addressing problems they were motivated to solve. The best projects from among youth groups working in Delhi (a resettlement colony), Odisha (a tribal region) and Rajasthan (a per-urban area) were felicitated at the award ceremony.

Short videos of the final award entrees by the participants can be accessed here.

This panel featured Michael Grubb (Professor of Energy & Climate Change, Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London), Navroz K Dubash (Professor, CPR), Radhika Khosla (Research Director, Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Oxford & Visiting Fellow, CPR), Ashok Sreenivas (Senior Fellow, Prayas (Energy Group)), and was chaired by Ajay Mathur (Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)).

Moderated by Partha Mukhopadhyay (Senior Fellow, CPR), this panel featured Fedor Kudryavtsev (Moscow Institute of Architecture), Kazuo Nakano (Universidade Federal de São Paulo), Ivan Turok (Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria), Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal (Research Fellow, Centre d'Études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS), Paris), who work on Moscow, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg and Delhi respectively, all large metropolises in countries at very different stages of urbanisation.

An article by Partha Mukhopadhyay and Mukta Naik in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here.

This panel featured Nimmi Kurian (Professor, CPR), Zorawar Daulet Singh (Fellow, CPR), Ambassador Shivshankar Menon (Former National Security Advisor and Indian Foreign Secretary), and was chaired by Srinath Raghavan (former Senior Fellow, CPR, current Senior Fellow, Carnegie India and Professor, Ashoka University).

Coverage of the panel by ThePrint can be accessed here.

This panel featured Ibrahim Gambari (former Foreign Minister, Nigeria), Nabil Fahmy (former Foreign Minister Egypt), and was chaired by Ambassador Shyam Saran (former Foreign Secretary, India).

Coverage of the panel by ThePrint can be accessed here


This round table session included presentations by Neelanjan Sircar (Assistant Professor, Ashoka University and Senior Visiting Fellow, CPR) and Rahul Verma (Fellow, CPR) and was chaired by Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR).  

Neelanjan Sircar and Rahul Verma’s article in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here.

This round table session featuring Sabina Dewan (President and Executive Director, JustJobs Network & Senior Visiting Fellow, CPR) and Partha Mukhopadhyay (Senior Fellow, CPR) was part of the newly launched ‘Jobs Initiative’ – a partnership between the Centre for Policy Research and the Just Jobs Network.

Their article in the Hindustan Times can be accessed here.

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.