Policy Engagements and Blogs

India’s 21st Century Transitions

January 2, 2019


Watch the full video of the panel discussion on ‘India’s 21st Century Transitions’, organised as part of CPR Dialogues, featuring Jamshyd Godrej, T N Ninan, Rajiv Kumar, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, chaired by Yamini Aiyar.

How can India manage its urban transformation so that it builds inclusive, sustainable, green 21st century cities?
How can India meet its energy needs as a growing economy while shifting toward cleaner energy?
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 geo-political trends and re-position itself in a changing global order?
India today is at the cusp of significant developmental transitions. Choices made will fundamentally shape its future developmental trajectory. 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. While identifying appropriate pathways, India has to navigate important tensions in our polity. One important tension is the often conflicting needs of rural vs urban populations, best demonstrated in the on-going agrarian crisis.

The second challenge is institutional. India today needs to build a new institutional framework to respond to changing needs while at the same time building the state’s capacity to manage basic, everyday tasks from health and education to building basic infrastructure. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently stated, ‘India is managing 21st century transitions with a 19th century administration.’

Finally, India is dealing with these transitions at a time when public discourse has become increasingly sharp and polarised often blurring the lines between critical engagement and partisan endorsement of ideas. This polarisation has made sober, objective evaluation of policy choices confronting India today, difficult resulting in the adoption of short term and often unsustainable quick fixes. The opening panel to CPR Dialogues 2018 explored these broad themes with a view to understanding the nature of the policy choices India confronts today, the intersections between them, government’s perspective on the way forward, and the broader political economy.

Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive at CPR.

Jamshyd Godrej is Chairman and MD, Godrej and Boyce.

T N Ninan is Chairman, Business Standard Ltd.

Rajiv Kumar is Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.

Yamini Aiyar’s article in the Hindustan Times (print partner for CPR Dialogues) can be accessed here.

Coverage of the panel by ThePrint (digital partner for CPR Dialogues) can be accessed here.

Watch the interviews of Jamshyd Godrej and Rajiv Kumar with ThePrint.

Watch all other sessions of the Dialogues below: