LSE India Summit to debate core issues as India commemorates 70 years of Independence

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India CSR News Network

NEW DELHI: The South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics will hold its annual flagship summit — LSE India Summit from 29th–31st March, 2017, at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Presented by Apollo Tyres, ‘India at 70: LSE India Summit 2017’ commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. It will debate core issues central to India’s way forward as it aspires to be a global power in what promises to be an ‘Asian’ 21st century through four incisive and enlightening panel discussions.

Among detailed discussions at the Summit will be a panel on Does Forced Philanthropy Work? CSR in India, analysing whether forced philanthropy works in this country which was the first in the world to mandate a minimum spend (2%) on CSR initiatives. The panel will debate whether a compulsory government guideline on socially beneficial initiatives is the correct or best approach in a country like India. Founding Director of the Innovation Co-Creation Lab (ICCL) at LSE, Harry Barkema; businesswoman and pioneering social worker Anu Aga; businessman and philanthropist Rahul Bajaj, Chairman of the Bajaj Group; and Chairman & Managing Director of Apollo Tyres Ltd, Onkar S Kanwar; and Mukund Govind Rajan, brand custodian of TATA Sons, will discuss different sides of the CSR debate, from both the corporate’s and philanthropists’s viewpoint.

Another session titled Does India need “Virtual Water”?, a concept which is the latest approach to water security in the future, will discuss if this will indeed benefit India even as water-sharing remains a contentious issue between states, and controlling access to water is a source of political and economic power.

As rivers dry up and water resources deplete, everyone from policy-makers, planners to grassroots workers, activists and non-governmental organisations continue to proclaim water as a central issue in India’s development trajectory. But has the central issue of water been factored into discussions of economic growth, rapid urbanization and ‘Make in India’ initiatives? Attendees will have an opportunity to listen to acclaimed author and academic Amita Bavishkar, King’s College Emeritus Professor and inventor of the concept of ‘virtual water’ J A (Tony) Allan, ISET International Founder Marcus Moench, grassroots worker Manoj Misra, and Policy Adviser to UNDP Biksham Gujja on the panel.

In tandem with India’s seventy-year-journey as an independent democratic republic, two panels will explore our policies through the lens of the external and internal.

Over the last 70 years, India’s foreign policy has been at the heart of the strategy of successive governments to establish her strength across the world – whether in the West, or more recently, in the East. With a buoyant economy, a strong military arsenal, and a dominance in South Asia, India’s image and status abroad is central to its emergence as a global power. But is India equipped to deal with its aspirations?

With a foreign service smaller in size than that of Sweden’s, and the officers’ cadre no longer drawn from the top contestants in the selection process, is India investing enough in its aspired role in the Asian 21st century? The India Abroad: From Third World to Regional Power panel will explore India’s foreign policy with veteran foreign affairs journalist Suhasini Haidar, former diplomats Meera Shankar, Kanwal Sibal, Rakesh Sood and Jayant Prasad, and Foreign and Strategic Affairs expert Ashley Tellis.

Looking inwards is a session which debates the complex question: Do We Need a New Constitution for India? The Constitution of India has been the bedrock of ‘being’ Indian, guaranteeing equality to all, and has generated both legal and popular notions of citizenship and political equality which have been a bastion against social injustice. However, ideas of citizenship have also been challenged legally as well as through the persistent and growing discrimination and violence based on old hierarchies and inequalities.

Recently, there have been suggestions that the Constitution needs to become more ‘Indian’, to reflect ‘Bharatiyata’. The panel will debate this central conundrum of changing perceptions of citizenship and the status of India’s ‘constitutional patriotism’ as the country moves ahead.  Firebrand lawyer Pinky Anand, LSE South Asia Centre Founding Director Mukulika Banerjee, CSD Director Kalpana Kannabiran, and Columbia University’s BR Ambedkar Academic Fellow (and soon-to-be Harvard Society Fellow) Madhav Khosla are some of those who will debate on the Indian Constitution and its long-term viability.

‘India at 70’ is part of the India-UK Year of Culture 2017, announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015.

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