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Subject: IDPAD End Symposium
Date: 01-11-2006 09:00 AM
     IDPAD End Symposium

India`s Development: Even or Uneven? (Reflections on development theory and practice)

Hyderabad 1st – 3rd November 2006

S. Mahendra Dev, Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad
Joop de Wit, Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague

Focus of the seminar

While India has long been seen as a developing country with extreme poverty and in need of foreign aid, it now has come to be seen as a fast growing success economy that is more and more competetive on a global scale and may even threathen Western hegemony in fields like information technology and IT enabled services. This change of view shared by many is so radical that a critical assessment is necessary, in the light of the growing contrasts between various regions, between urban and rural India, within the cosmopolitan cities, and, last but not least, between growing numbers of well-off Indians and the many poor.

The main purpose of this concluding seminar is to discuss the nature of India’s development and in particular its disparate reality in the light of the changing perceptions on development theory as well as different possible policy scenarios. Such an overall approach from theory to practice, we feel, would make the seminar a rewarding exercise for academics, policy makers and other stakeholders in the two countries which have jointly supported and implemented the IDPAD research program.

When IDPAD was launched, the state was seen as the principal actor for promoting development and eradicating poverty. Over the years, the perception of the state and the government as the key drivers of development, has given way to the perspective of governance, perceived as a multi-actor process in a multi-stakeholder arena. Moreover, it is nowadays often assumed that the positive development of certain sectors, regions and people will ultimately have positive effects for all. This neglects the reality of policy processes and impacts, institutionalised inequalities and barriers, as well as political interests and strategies. It is thus crucial to look at the options and the instruments of state policy, civil society, the private sector and the urban and rural populations to understand the effects of India’s current economic growth on poverty. It is equally crucial to explore what kind of solutions can offer access to economic and social development for India’s excluded, who are increasingly neglected and seen as a temporary side-effect of development.

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