A Conversation with Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India
Opportunities and Challenges Facing the World’s Fastest Growing Economy.
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook estimates that the Indian economy will grow by 7.8 percent in 2019, making it the world’s fastest-growing economy in both 2018 and 2019. With 1.2 billion people and the world’s third-largest economy, India has become a global economic giant.
While India’s progress has been significant, it still faces considerable challenges in terms of poverty and inequality, energy access, pollution, and infrastructure development. Recent reforms aim to empower the people, especially the poor, with universal access to education and health, and facilitate their full participation in their nation’s economic growth.
The two-day conference highlighted some of the layered challenges facing India’s slums. Anup Malani, the Lee and Brena Freeman Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, harped on the fact that slums are not just a product of limited state capacity but a withdrawal of what limited capacity there is.
Adam Chilton, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, presented various socio-economic factors responsible for the growing demand for slums. Debolina Kundu, Associate Professor at the National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi, argued that as opposed to the general perception, urban growth in India is witnessing a southward trend and rural-urban migration is also on decline.
While Amita Bhide, professor at the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai pointed out how slum development narrative in Mumbai is centered on how to make it feasible and profitable for real estate developers, Pratima Joshi of Shelter Associates in Pune explained how granular data guides local government when it comes to giving access to improved sanitation and other essential services in slums.
Urbanization is an important step in India’s development: millions of people, by revealed preference, are demonstrating that they are better off in cities than in rural villages. Yet urbanization also has the potential to result people being pushed into new slums and also contribute to the worsening of living conditions in existing slums.
Additionally, poor health and sanitation conditions may temper the economic benefits of growing. Now is a crucial time for academic and practitioners to develop nuanced understandings of slum conditions and collaborative proposals for interventions to help improve the social and economic conditions in India’s urban centers.
The conference will focus on discussing issues related to urban poverty in India, including: rural-to-urban migration, health in slums, property rights, housing policy, and the provision of public services. The event will bring together experts from the University of Chicago on law, development, housing and land use policy, and urban planning, along with scholars, community leaders, practitioners, government leaders, and experts from India.
University of Chicago Law School Professors Adam Chilton and Anup Malani will also present early parts of their book project based on qualitative and quantitative research on slums in major Indian cities. The conference will create a dialogue for researchers to present research that is relevant to improving the economic and social development of slums, and for the researchers to learn from the practitioners and community leaders about the most pressing policy problems facing India’s slums.
This conference was held in collaboration with PUKAR, an organization that conducts community-based participatory research in Mumbai’s slums, to explore these issues
Roundtable on Water Quality Monitoring: Deriving Actionable Data to Drive Policy Decisions
The experts, who participated at the roundtable, called for exploring multiple approaches to water quality monitoring and setting standards for the country to follow. A national water quality monitoring protocol, they felt, could be one of the ways to guide institutions on how to increase efficiency and accuracy of monitoring.
The experts also recommended developing a Water Quality Report, which can be a reference document for policymakers as well as those working in this domain. It was suggested that documentation of good practices can convince government about the transformation that can be brought.
The experts also proposed creation of a network of hydrologists, doctors, technology people and social entrepreneurs who would collaboratively look at every component of water monitoring.
This roundtable, hosted by the Tata Centre for Development at UChicago in collaboration with International Innovation Corps, will deliberate on a wide range of issues related to water quality monitoring. Researchers, policy advocates, and on-the-ground practitioners will come together to discuss how to create actionable data on water pollution, influence policy, and boost India’s potential to fight pollution in its rivers.
At a time when there is an enormous need for monitoring and mapping water quality at high spatial and temporal resolution, this roundtable gives a platform to discuss the future of gathering and disseminating water quality data. The roundtable will also explore opportunities to collaborate on creating a common platform to address water quality challenges.
Registration for this event is by invite only.
Friday, January 11, 2019
2:30 pm–3:00 pm
3:00 pm–3:05 pm
Welcome Address: Dr. Leni Chaudhuri, Country Director, Tata Centre for Development, UChicago
3:05 pm–3:10 pm
Water-to-Cloud Program: Prof Supratik Guha, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago