InitiativeLivingPanel DiscussionPolicy Framework

Balance, Cohesion & Sustainability are at the Heart of India’s policy book @ 100

At a stellar gathering of the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI), in its 9th edition, the top bureaucrats shared and opined on the policy framework required for graduation of a country from a developing country to a developed one. An in-depth analysis which had its moments, the discussion was kicked off with an inauguration addressed by Ajay Khanna Co-Founder & Forum Chairman, PAFI.

Valuable inputs were given byVini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti who said that the present bureaucracy sense the mood & energy of the nation, highlighted the need for transparent roles of watchdog institutions, need for a balance of reason approach in planning for future and increased need for pro-activity. Although she mentions that there has been much centralization due to financial constraints for states to develop their own schemes, but lauded the bureaucracy at the state as being nimble with decision-making in accordance with the constitutional framework.She shed light on Rural Drinking Water Program which has connected 10 Cr houses for portable water supply & the National Rural Health Mission.

On the other hand, Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism stated that speed is the key to planning for expansion of the tourism industry and emphasised on simplification of the framework at lower levels to promote it. The whole government approach was heavily endorsed as it’s linked to the working style of the PM with Sudhashu Pandey, Secretary, Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairsadding that the access to resources is a challenge for the country and dwelled upon the importance of bureaucracy in giving method to the madness.Anil Jain (Secretary, Ministry of Coal) further said that deliberation and consultation with the corporate sector was important in policy formation in light of the recent expansion of the economy at large and should foster transparency and shunning the fear of mistakes in the way.

Arvind Singh added that a National Tourism Policy envisioned for future with robust data collection, digitalization and scale-up facilities to lower utility costs for private sector to exploit the uncharted market with a view of the increasing footfall of international tourists from current 20 Million to 100 Million target making the tourism sector a 1$ Trillion avenue. Sudhanshu Pandey also mentioned that India has surpassed Brazil to become the largest producer of Sugar in the world whilst being ultra-bureau centric and defied the myth of tardiness in functioning.

The concept of value chain coherence was also advocated by MsMahajan saying that a middle ground was needed and sustainability encouraged the youth to be part of policy discussion. Mr. Jain mentioned that interests are aligned, but processes are different with a common understanding and no hostility between the ROI vs Welfare modes i.e., between large public goods vs. profits for private entrepreneurs. Mr Pandey called for an open mind and balanced perspective as key factors of future policy making. Mr Jain remarked that we shouldn’t temper too much the innate nature of the economy and that it needs to be preserved and served with the new policy.

Rohit Saran, Editor-in-Chief of Times of India – Digital who moderated, remarked that with the existence of business leaders and political leaders and the need for inter-opera ability of these two to cement India’s growth and how the scale and speed needed are decisive attributes for hyper-progress requirements sighting the shining examples of Swachh Bharat and modernization in the telecom sector.

The thank you note was delivered by Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Vice President,PAFI who thanked the dignitaries for doing a thankless job of serving a billion people and pushed for thinking big for big things to happen and highlighted the need to put the country first.

PAFI (Public Affairs Forum of India)

PAFI is dedicated to raise and maintain standards in Public Affairs to enable the profession to attain recognition and credibility by bringing in a paradigm shift in the way businesses engage with stakeholders – Government, Media, Civil Society and Academia. It also endeavors to deepen and broaden the talent pool to create young leaders from diverse backgrounds while planning to expand its footprint across India. Since its inception in 2008, PAFI has been actively promoting and upholding transparency, probity, inclusion, and diversity across the wider remit of Public Affairs Profession Spanning Policy Advocacy, Government Relations, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. It acts as a cross-sector networking platform for public affairs professionals and provides opportunities to benefit from interactions with one other as well as with key policymakers and influencers through evidence-based research, closed-door dialogues, interactive panel discussions, seminars, an Annual Lecture and the National Forum, its annual flagship event.

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