What are the specific ways in which Indo-UK relations can be strengthened in the next decade?
Prime Minister David Cameron in several recent interviews has talked of the robustness of the Indo-UK relationship in the 21st Century. It is widely agreed that Indo-British bilateral relations have a special historical flavour that India does not share with any other developed nation. How this special connection can translate (or whether it has translated) into a dynamic modern partnership benefiting both nations is our fundamental enquiry in this session. Through our keynote speeches we hope to chart some specific directions in which this relationship can develop in the coming decades. Specifically, our focus will be on ways and means to intensify both intellectual and trade relations between the two countries; possibilities of co-operation in international forums such as the United Nations Security Council and international climate change conferences, and an issue very close to our hearts – the role Oxford University can play in deepening Indo-UK ties.
Chair: Prof Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford.
Prof Tapan Raychaudhuri, Emeritus Fellow, St. Antony's College and Former Professor of Indian History and Civilisation, St Antony's College, Oxford
Mr.Ajay Maken, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India and the Chair of the Delegation of Indian MPs, part of the Chevening IBFP Parliamentarians Programme hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.
Rob Lynes, Director, British Council (India).
TR Andhyarujina, Former Solicitor-General of India and Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
|What do the recent politics of protest in India and elsewhere imply for the principle of representation in parliamentary democracy?|
|2011 was a year of protest. Time magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year was The Protester. Protests
sprung up in the Arab world, occupied in the UK and the USA and stood their ground in India.
Distinct though they were in motivation, method and demand, the protests highlighted
fundamental questions of politics and legitimacy.
A first set of questions examines the motivation for protest. Both Team Anna and Occupy were broadly protests against ‘extractive’ institutions: the former aimed at political extraction of bribes, the latter at economic extraction of bonuses and bailouts. What do such existing institutions and inegalitarian outcomes imply for a supposedly egalitarian politics of parliamentary democracy? How do we draw implications for the legitimacy of existing political institutions from the sight of poor, and poorly dispersed, gains?
A second line of enquiry examines the method and demand of movements. How do we conceive of the relationship between the methods adopted by popular movements and politics more broadly? How do we think of ‘second-best’ legitimacy – legitimate political action when our primary political institutions are the very object of protest? How should we evaluate the movement’s claims to popular representation?
This session takes on political protest, looking at motivation and method to draw lessons about the legitimacy of both existing institutions and emerging modes of political action.
Chair:Mr. Faisal Devji,is the University Reader in Modern South Asian History, University of Oxford. Devji has held faculty positions at the New School in New York, Yale University and the University of Chicago, from where he also received his PhD in Intellectual History. Devji was Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University and is the author of several books including his latest work on Mahatma Gandhi: Impossible Indian: Gandhi and the Temptations of Violence
|Are the BCCI's burgeoning revenues harming world cricket?|
|In the last two decades, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has revolutionised the way the
game is played and viewed across the world. Having successfully capitalised on the hitherto
untapped commercial potential of cricket, sold television rights for billions of dollars, and attracted
multi-national corporate sponsors, it is little surprise that the BCCI today is the richest cricket
board in the world. From this position, it has ensured that the effective power centre of world
cricket has shifted from the hallowed meeting rooms of the Lords’ Cricket Ground to the corridors
of India’s financial capital, Mumbai. This growing stature has rested uneasily, not only with fellow
cricketing nations, but also former Indian players fearful of cricket itself taking a backseat, and
young cricketers unsure of whether they too will receive a share of this ever-increasing pie.
It is in this context that this session proposes to discuss the consequences of BCCI’s burgeoning revenues. Four lines of enquiry are evident. First, has India, owing to its financial might, become the Big Brother of international cricket? Has it been successful in taking other countries along in cricket’s spectacular commercial rise or is it alienating countries which have little to offer in return? Secondly, has Indian domestic cricket benefited from the wealth of the BCCI? Have infrastructure, player facilities, compensation for domestic players, officials and umpires improved? Thirdly, has the IPL, the jewel in the BCCI’s crown, changed the way cricket is to be played and seen henceforth? How long can relatively less remunerative forms of the game hold their own against money-spinners such as the IPL and 20-20 cricket generally? Is cricket headed the football way with clubs at the centre of the competitions, replaced by countries when the World Cup comes along? Finally, does the internal legal structure of the BCCI need to change? Given its immense resources and the significance of cricket in Indian public life, is there a case for greater transparency and accountability in the institution, with a degree of public control? Over this session, we hope to have a critical discussion of some of these questions, questioning the merits and demerits of the BCCI being at the helm of Indian and perhaps world cricket today.
Chair: Arghya Sengupta, President Oxford Indian Society and Lecturer in Law, Oxford University.
|Can India's aggressive drive for nuclear energy ensure energy security in an environmentally responsible and internationally acceptable manner?|
|There are still nearly 300 million Indians without an electricity connection. Although India remains
heavily reliant on coal which accounts for approximately 70% of its power generation, it has begun
seriously investing in other sources of energy. For instance, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar
Mission aims to provide 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022. However, this target
pales in comparison with India’s nuclear energy generation plans – 470,000 MW over the next 40
years, with nuclear accounting for 25% of total energy requirements by 2050, up from the current
3%. India has set about achieving this target with determination, signing a historic civilian nuclear
energy pact with the USA and concluding a $9 billion deal with French energy giant, Areva in
December 2010 to build reactors over the next 25 years.
This enthusiasm for nuclear energy comes however, at a time when world opinion is distinctly wary of it especially after Japan’s horrific Fukushima disaster. Germany has committed to shutting down all its nuclear reactors by 2022, and even in France (which has the highest percentage -78.8% -of nuclear-generated electricity in the world), new president Francois Hollande has pledged to reduce nuclear dependence to 50%. Civil society in India has also taken note of this global skepticism as the mass protests against the Jaitapur and Kudankulam nuclear power plants attest. In this context, there are three themes that will be in focus in this session. First, is there a realistic non-nuclear option that will meet India’s burgeoning energy demands, keeping in mind the increasing global pressure on India to reduce its carbon emissions? Given the debate about ‘fracking’ in the Western world, is it worth investing in natural gas exploration? Secondly, the session will explore the close nexus between energy security and foreign policy, and examine what impact scaling back on nuclear energy would have on India’s international trade relations. Finally, the session will consider the Indian government’s handling of the civil society protests in the context of a broader debate on the role of technocracy and informed public participation in environmental decision-making.
Chair: Subir Sarkar,Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford. Professor Sarkar is head of the Particle Theory Group and has worked closely in the fields of science education and public outreach in Bhopal.Speakers:
Christopher Allsopp is Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Fellow of New College, and Reader in Economic Policy at the University of Oxford.
S.K.Mazumder, Minister (Science), Atomic Energy Wing, Embassy of India, Paris.
|What is the future of India as a welfare state?|
|Today, one of the most pressing issues faced by countries is managing debt and spending by the
state. Governments, particularly of developed countries, are struggling to reconcile the notion of
the welfare state with the limited ability to fund such a state, particularly in the face of towering
government debt and poor prospects for economic growth.
Even as Europe and the USA reconsider their state spending priorities, it is time for India to reflect on its own growth trajectory. India is at a far earlier stage of economic development, and can sustain both increased debt and higher economic growth. Yet, central and state governments face considerable budgetary pressure in the presently conservative fiscal framework, and are battling to contain inflation. In this environment, what forms of spending must the government prioritise in pursuit of economic development?
Since the introduction of liberalization in 1991, the focus of the government on direct poverty alleviation has declined relative to reforms and economic growth. In the last few years, the UPA government has switched the focus back to welfare through employment guarantee programmes and the proposed right to food. At the same time, the state is expected to promote growth by investing in infrastructure as well as supporting the corporate sector, particularly in manufacturing and industry.
This session will consider the key dilemmas that government faces: Should the government continue to focus on headline growth by supporting wealth-creation by the private sector? Should the government prioritise the end of deprivation, particularly malnutrition, which remains stubbornly high despite fairly widespread increases in income in the last three decades? Where is government spending likely to be more effective?
Chair:Vijay Joshi, Emeritus Fellow, Merton College, University of Oxford. Professor Joshi has published widely in scholarly journals and elsewhere on International Economics and Development Economics. He has also written extensively on the economy of India, in particular two major books (jointly with I.M.D. Little), viz. India - Macroeconomics and Political Economy, World Bank and Oxford University Press 1994 and India's Economic Reforms 1991-2001, Oxford University Press 1996.
Mr Rajat Nag, Managing Director, Asian Development Bank. Mr Nag has worked with the Asian Development Bank for more than two decades, with experience in public-private partnerships, infrastructure financing and a particular interest in regional cooperation and integration in Asia. He holds engineering degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as Masters degrees in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Saskatchewan and the London School f Economics
Dr.Matthew McCartney, University Lecturer in the Political Economy and Human Development of India. Dr McCartney’s research interests include the growth and development of South Asian countries since independence, and his published work focuses on the role of the state, uneven growth, class, institutions, political parties, leadership, late industrialisation, liberalisation, and planning.
|Can self-regulation continue to remain a viable way forward for the Indian media?|
|The Indian media has been held up as an indispensable part of the nation; where conventional
checks and balances on the executive have failed, the Indian media has often provided the sole and
much-needed recourse for public interest to express itself. A significant set of recent events,
however, have pointed to a tendency in sections of the media to sensationalise the sensitive,
adjudge persons guilty before a court of law can reach a verdict, agree to publish ‘paid news’ and
enjoy excessively proximate relations with politicians and corporate lobbyists. This has raised
wide-ranging questions both with regard to the transparency of Indian media and the efficacy of
the existing regulatory setup. This has come at a time when the media world in the UK too has
been rocked by controversy with the News of the World scandal pointing to deeper, systemic
concerns with the structure and regulation of the media in this country.
In this session, our panellists are invited to deliberate over two predicaments: the norms of propriety in the media and the viability of self-regulation in ensuring an Indian media that is fair, responsible and democratic. On the first of these, are the media’s hysterical portrayals of terrorist attacks, the general sensationalisation of events, its propensity to judge undertrials as guilty before conviction, the publication of advertisements as news articles, the running of frivolous stories as news on several television channels, characteristic of a fervent pursuit of high TRPs and higher profits in an inadequate regulatory environment? Or is it a genuine response to consumer demand therefore reflecting what the Indian television viewing audience wants to see? The second line of enquiry is about the feasibility of allowing the media to self-regulate. The Leveson Inquiry in the UK has been set up with the far-reaching mandate of addressing ‘the culture, practices and ethics of the press’. What can the media in India learn from the failings of certain media houses in England and the ongoing Leveson inquiry? Specifically, can the Indian media be trusted to overcome its drawbacks of sensationalisation and opacity and emerge with an authoritative set of regulations that can be effectively implemented, or must past experiences and the recent set of events in the UK lead us to the conclusion that the responsibilities of regulating the media lie in other hands? Our session will look at these pressing questions to generate some debate and hopefully some answers as well.
Chair:John Lloyd, Contributing Editor, Financial Times and Director of Journalism, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford.Speakers:
Harish Salve, is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and the former Solicitor-General of India. He is widely recognised as India's finest appellate lawyer and has appeared in several path-breaking constitutional judgments in the Supreme Court of India.
Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford, and is a historian, political writer and Guardian columnist.
|Can India's search for a prudent drug policy promote Open Source Drug Discovery without the country becoming a guinea pig for clinical trials?|
|India has had considerable success in battling endemic diseases – while there were an estimated
150,000 polio cases in 1985, the country was declared polio-free by the WHO in 2012. However,
the discovery of Totally Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (TDR-TB) in India earlier this year, together
with the continued spread of endemic tropical diseases like malaria indicate that there is still much
work to be done. While scientists working with initiatives such as India’s Open Source Drug
Discovery are announcing new chemical entities to battle TB and other infectious diseases, India
has also become a favoured destination for the clinical trial of new drugs. India’s technically
competent workforce, large patient availability, and low costs make it an attractive destination for
These trials bring India substantial monetary gains. However, they are offset by the frequent abuse of India's weak regulatory mechanisms for clinical trials and drug testing. Cases of trials being carried out without informed consent or permission being obtained for the clinical trial of one drug while another drug is tested instead are coming to light with alarming frequency.
On the one hand, Indian policy seems aimed at promoting cheaper drugs by loosening the IPR regime; on the other, its population is being used as guinea pigs for the hasty commercialisation of newly discovered drugs by multinational companies in their drive for super profits. Given this apparent policy disconnect, what should the role of Indian policy makers, scientists, regulators and pharmaceutical companies be? In the years to come, what should be India's role in the battle against diseases relevant to the developing world?
Chair: Sunetra Gupta,Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford. Gupta’s area of interest is the evolution of diversity in pathogens, with particular reference to the infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, influenza and bacterial meningitis.Speakers:
Sir Richard Peto is Professor of Medical Statistics and Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. Professor Peto's work has included studies of the causes of cancer in general, and of the effects of smoking in particular, and the establishment of large-scale randomised trials of the treatment of heart disease, stroke, cancer and a variety of other diseases. He has been instrumental in introducing combined 'meta-analyses' of results from related trials that achieve uniquely reliable assessment of treatment effects. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1989, and was knighted (for services to epidemiology and to cancer prevention) in 1999.
Dr Falguni Sen is the Director of the Global Healthcare Innovation Management Center at Fordham University’s Schools of Business where he focuses on how innovations happening globally can benefit many countries in reducing the cost of healthcare and in increasing access. He is also Chair of the Management Systems area and has taught and consulted with the technology and R & D managers of over fifty companies.
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