35th SKOCH Summit | Friday & Saturday | 21st & 22nd March 2014 | India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
Growth & Governance
Soon the country will elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The new government will have to have a strong commitment and focus on structural reforms, catalysing growth. For India to reap its demographic dividend, reduce poverty and social inequality – surpluses generated by growth are paramount. Capacity building and skill development are a must, which will have an important role in supporting economic growth. Achieving universal financial inclusion is no longer a policy choice but a compulsion. There is need to improve spending efficiency and targeting particularly in the area of subsidies. While intended to help the poor, these often remain poorly targeted and a significant portion goes to households above the poverty line. Social spending, which amounts to about 5 per cent of GDP in India, is low by international standards, including in comparison to other large emerging economies. We need to enhance human capabilities for participation in the growth process and improved delivery of public services. The Skoch Development Foundation will be hosting 19th Thinkers & Writers Forum, which will be participated by practitioners, academics, domain experts and researchers from all across the country covering areas of good governance including sustainability, community engagement, technology, smarter economies; future banking including faith based and strategy for new banks; and, infrastructure and planning including education, skill development, administration, health, public safety, tourism and culture.
Conference: Inclusion, Growth & Governance
The MSME sector contributes 9 per cent of GDP and is the most crucial link between India’s economic growth and socio-economic progress. As per the 4th MSME sector report, this sector employs an estimated 59.7 million persons spread over 26.1 million enterprises. It is estimated that in terms of value, this sector accounts for about 45 per cent of the manufacturing output and around 40 percent of the total export of the country. But, policies and programmes often tend to overlook this crucial sector. Many SMEs have risen against all odds to carve a niche for themselves. In recent years the MSME sector has consistently registered higher growth rate compared to the overall industrial sector, shown innovativeness and adaptability to survive the recent economic downturn and recession. This, despite, facing problems of credit, access to capital or even day-to-day regulatory issues. SMEs face several problems such as capacity building, human resource, technology and understanding gaps in corporate governance and finance. We will be holding Master Classes to help strengthen chosen few SMEs understanding in some such areas.
Conference: Education Growth & Governance
There is an increasing recognition of the importance of using technology in education – both school and higher – to address several of the country’s challenges in this area. There exist some successes and a private sector eco-system has come about with examples of ready-to-use solutions. Dialogues involving academia, content providers, policy makers and private sector thus hold key to achieving common objectives. Increasingly, a need is felt to improve the learning outcomes of students, empowering them by increasing their choices and understanding the issues faced by them as well as teachers including training and skill development. Additionally, the solutions need to focus on improving thinking and learning among children and there could be no substitute to a teacher or reducing his role while teaching and learning. Lack of adequate infrastructure, shortage of teachers/faculty and quality of institutional support for professional development need to be looked into.
The National Consultation on Use of ICT in Higher Education looks at the following: 1. What is the policy intent and the desired outcomes? 2. What is the status globally and how other countries are using technology for higher education? 3. What has been the Indian experience and the learnings therefrom? These would be brought out through keynote presentations at the beginning of the consultation. And subsequently, inputs would be taken from invited panelists and stakeholders with the intent of creating a framework for partnership and implementation discussions and also spell out areas that need to be examined subsequently. Skoch Group would attempt to quickly put together a series of Roundtables and Focus Groups to provide such a platform and channelise the inputs received to stakeholders.