NCAER held the 16th India Policy Forum at the NCAER India Centre in New Delhi on July 8-10, 2019. The keynote speech on the morning of July 9th was delivered by Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. Using data from the Economic Survey 2019 released by the Government of India recently, Dr Subramanian provided a detailed roadmap of the Government’s economic agenda going forward.
The IPF is the leading economic policy event in the summer season of Delhi, featuring a galaxy of eminent speakers and panellists from India and overseas. The IPF seeks to facilitate lively debate and discussion of the key economic challenges facing the nation, all based on rigorous research by some of the best economists worldwide working on India.
Dr Shekhar Shah, Director General of NCAER and co-editor of the IPF Volume, said that “The 16th India Policy Forum has brought together a remarkable set of some of the world’s best economists working on India. Through the two days we have had present at the IPF four Chief Economic Advisers to the Government of India, the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, two Deputy Managing Directors of the IMF, two Secretaries to the Government of India, NITI’s Advisor on Education and a range of other prominent researchers and policy analysts. The topics taken up by the 16th IPF have also meshed well with the new government’s priorities.” He added, “ If the engagement we have seen at the IPF is any indication, I have very high hopes for the depth of reforms in many of the areas that we can expect the Modi 2.0 Government to pursue.”
The IPF includes presentations of original commissioned papers, leading to a published volume, and the annual IPF Lecture. The IPF Volume is curated by its editors, Dr Shekhar Shah, NCAER Director General, Dr Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, and Professor Karthik Muralidharan, of the University of California, San Diego, and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at NCAER.
The IPF 2019 commenced on the 8th evening with the 1st T N Srinivasan Memorial Lecture, by Professor Pranab Bardhan of the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Subramanian’s address at the opening session on the 9th morning was followed by presentations of three papers on the following topics: ‘The effect of foreign shocks on the Indian economy’; ‘Four years after the base-year revision: taking stock of the debate surrounding India’s national income estimates’; and ‘An inclusive growth dividend: Reframing the role of income transfers in India’s anti-poverty strategy’. The evening ended with the IPF 2019 Lecture on Modern Macroeconomic Policy by Professor Stanley Fischer, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve under President Obama. The Lecture, which was attended by a full house, was chaired by Mr N K Singh, Chairman, 15th Finance Commission. Two more papers on ‘An employment data strategy for India’ and ‘Rural–urban disparities in the time of growth’ were presented on the concluding day of the IPF.
The IPF 2019 hosted over 400 participants over its three days. During the event, over 35 presenters and discussants deliberated on the five IPF research papers, which had been selected from a vast number of submissions after a rigorous review by the IPF Editors. The Forum also included a Policy Roundtable on the Indian National Education Policy, which debated various challenges entailed in implementation of this ambitious policy. The panellists at the Roundtable included Mr Alok Kumar from NITI Aayog, among others. In addition to Dr Subramanian, several sessions of the IPF were chaired by key policymakers, including Dr Ashok Lahiri, 15th Finance Commission; Mr Pravin Srivastava, Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI); and Dr K P Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
Chairing the session on one of the papers, “An Employment Data Strategy of India” today morning, Mr Pravin Srivastava, Secretary, MoSPI said, “Data is a public good and the Ministry needs the cooperation of all stakeholders as well as the research community to ensure its widespread and efficient use.”
The penultimate session of the IPF comprised a Policy Roundup in which the panellists discussed suggestions made in each paper as well as the policy environment needed for ensuring the implementation of these recommendations. The Roundup was chaired by Dr Krishnan, and included the National Vice President of the BJP, Mr Jay Panda, along with eminent economists Dr Indira Rajaraman, Dr Rajnish Mehra, and Dr Nirvikar Singh as the panellists.
The 16th IPF concluded on the 10th evening with a panel discussion on Validating India’s GDP Growth Estimates moderated by Mr. T. N. Ninan of the Business Standard, and featuring Arvind Subramanian (Kennedy School), Pronab Sen (former Chief Statistician of India), and Sebastian Morris (Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad).