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“Digital economy will provide high quality social services and upgrade human resources”

During the CPP Conference on Public Policy & Management, NITI Aayog Member Dr. Arvind Virmani talks about the key drivers for India to achieve its goals for growth by mid-century

22 August, 2023, Bengaluru: “Supply chain diversification, globalization of social and government services, democratization of information and knowledge economy, promoting digital and hybrid economy as well as green economy, all these would be the key drivers for India to realize her development goals by 2050”, pointed out Dr. Arvind Virmani, Member, NITI Aayog, earlier today at IIM Bangalore. He delivered the inaugural address at the XVIII International Conference on Public Policy & Management that is being hosted from 22nd to 24th August 2023 by the Centre for Public Policy (CPP) at IIM Bangalore.

During his address, Dr. Virmani spoke at length about India’s goals for growth by year 2050, external threats and opportunities, domestic weaknesses and strengths, key new drivers of growth and expected outcomes, relative to the rest of the world.  

“To become a higher income country by 2050, the country has adopted significant measures to eliminate poverty and provide equal opportunity to all – including women, members from disadvantaged socio-economic groups, and those from the rural regions. Gaining economic power will be a key factor of growth for the masses. The good news is, moving from unskilled or semi-skilled labour to skilled labour, India’s share of working population is now rising.” 

Hailing the country to have turned some of the threats it faces into opportunities, he said, ”Although there is still oil and gas import, the country is becoming a leader in solar power. Female labour force participation, working from home and safe transport opportunities, agricultural and trade reforms, have already been introduced which will be further boosted. India’s strengths include its market economy – its complete and efficient markets. The government should further focus on creating a market for the private sector to compete and for the private sector to compete, innovate and invest.”

He also discussed some of the reforms implemented in India from 2014 to 2022 – policy, institutional, bureaucratic and social welfare reforms. “One highlight is the introduction of GST, an economic reform for which the Constitution itself had to be amended. We also have robust Digital India infrastructure in place as the country is pioneering the third way, innovation and inclusion. Boosting Digital Economy will help us reach the top with tele education, tele medicine, etc. Remote access to jobs will be a great revolution. A broader diversified portfolio approach for Green India is also on the cards.”

“The outcome of all such measures undertaken is that today, we have a sound reform system, employment is increasing, there is a conscious effort of empowerment of every section of society in terms of health, education and standard of living. There is still a need for information empowerment through access – to give right information to the right people at the right time and right place.”

Sharing his insight on how the evolution of the economy from 2022 to 2050 looks like, he said, “Our strengths include pragmatic macro management, fiscal, monetary, credit, and strategic industrial policies. India is poised to be a high income country by mid-century, in terms of average quality of life and sustained fast growth in per capita income. There will be equal opportunities for all citizens, using underutilized human resources. Digital economy will provide high quality social services and upgrade human resources.”

Dr. Virmani’s address was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Prof. Anil B Suraj, faculty of Public Policy and Chairperson, Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, IIM Bangalore. 

Earlier in the morning, Prof. Gopal Naik, Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy, IIMB, delivered the welcome address and provided an overview of activities undertaken by the CPP. Talking about the annual Conference on Public Policy & Management, he said, “This year, we are focussing on the themes of urban planning, inclusion, water resources and health. There were 132 full paper submissions, out of which 27 have been selected for presentation, and seven tracks. To facilitate interaction between policy makers, implementors and researchers, we have introduced two sessions this year – one with the policy makers and one with NGOs who have been instrumental in implementing educational services.” 

Prof. U Dinesh Kumar, Dean, Faculty, Chairperson, Data Centre & Analytics Lab and faculty from the Decision Sciences area of IIMB, also addressed the audience. He spoke about IIMB’s journey of 50 years of excellence, the programmes it offers, about the CPP, and more. “Topics which will be covered during the conference will throw light on different dimensions of public policy. As we all know, AI provides a lot of benefits to us. However, there are myriad challenges that AI is posing to industry and managing public systems. Data privacy is a big challenge. A lot of data we generate through social media systems is being misused. Then there is the perceived threat that AI will replace a lot of jobs. Influence of Generative AI is also a challenge. Do we have policies to counter or manage such challenges? We need to discuss such issues at forums like these.”

The vote of thanks was delivered by Prof. Anil B Suraj.

This year’s event kicked off with the pre-conference Prof. M. R. Krishnamurthy Memorial Lecture on, ‘Making Bangalore an Ecologically Smart City’, by Prof. Harini Nagendra, Director of the Azim Premji University Research Center, on 21st August 2023. 

The CPP International Conference on Public Policy & Management is an interdisciplinary conference which draws scholars representing a diversity of perspectives on public policy issues and provides a forum for showcasing the latest developments in policy research and practice. The conference hosts academic sessions, topical policy debates, workshops, panel discussions and practitioner-oriented discussions on contemporary topics on public policy and management. The conference is ideal for academicians, students, research scholars, policy regulators, auditing and rating agencies, lawyers, NGO professionals and anyone with an interest in public policy. 

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For the detailed schedule of the conference, please click here.