Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would it Take to Build a 21st-century State for India? Launch of CPR’s State Capacity Initiative


Watch the full video (above) of the panel discussion on ‘What Would it Take to Build a 21st-century State for India?’ to mark the launch of CPR’s new State Capacity Initiative featuring Sanjay Mitra (Former Chief Secretary, West Bengal); T V Somanathan (Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Government of India); Junaid Ahmad, Country Director (World Bank in India) with a presentation by Mekhala Krishnamurthy (Senior Fellow, CPR) and moderated by Yamini Aiyar (President & Chief Executive, CPR).

To mark the launch of CPR’s new State Capacity Initiative, we asked, what will it take for India to build a state that can credibly address the complex, competing and multi-generational challenges that we face in the 21st-century? In particular, we explored the changing roles of the Indian state and how we might balance some of the critical tensions of administrative reform and institutional change. This includes the tension between generalists vs. specialists and the question of knowledge and skills; the tensions between discretion, administrative flexibility, and public accountability; the evolving nature of citizen-state relations, and the tensions and dynamics between the Centre and States in shaping state capacity in democratic and federal India.

At a time of widespread disenchantment with the state, this panel was an effort to collectively re-imagine and re-invest in the possibility of building a genuinely capable, responsive, and accountable Indian state.

More information about the State Capacity Initiative can be found here.

The panel was organised as part of the second edition of CPR Dialogues, held on 2nd and 3rd March 2020 at the India Habitat Centre. Addressing the theme of Policy Perspectives for 21st-century India, CPR Dialogues 2020 provided a window to the India of the future. Experts from around the country and the world engaged with and debated these very significant development and policy challenges that India faces in the coming decade.

ThePrint India was the digital partner for the event.

An article on Indian state capacity, written by Yamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy in ThePrint can be read here.

Media coverage of the panel discussion can be found below:

‘Lateral entry in civil services vital to state’s ability to deliver to citizens’ by ThePrint
Videos of other panel discussions organised as part of CPR Dialogues 2020 can be found below:

CPR Dialogues 2020- Inaugural Address by Hon’ble Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
CPR Dialogues 2020- At the Threshold of a New Decade: Navigating the Emerging Geopolitical Landscape
CPR Dialogues 2020- Rights in Times of AI: Emerging Technologies and the Public Law Framework
CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would Happen if We Were to Believe in Indian Agriculture?
CPR Dialogues 2020- Creating an Inclusive Economy in a Digital World
CPR Dialogues 2020- Technology and Administrative Reform: Experience from India and the World
CPR Dialogues 2020- Tracking Government Spending: Challenges in Social Policy Financing
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Air Pollution Crisis: Making Political Salience Count
CPR Dialogues 2020- Article 21 and India’s Social and Economic Rights
CPR Dialogues 2020- Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors
CPR Dialogues 2020- Emerging Trends in Indian Politics
CPR Dialogues 2020- Are India’s Financial Institutions in Crisis? Understanding India’s Economic Slowdown
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Role of Ideas in Shaping Policy
CPR Dialogues 2020- Indo-US Relations
CPR Dialogues 2020- Land and the Constitution: Solving Land Conflict in India
CPR Dialogues 2020- Political Elites and Local Bureaucratic Capacity