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February 25 | Saturday
11:00 am | Biology and Policy | Shambhavi Naik
Over 20 years post the acceptance of Bt Cotton, India is yet to move forward with a GM food crop. Recently, GM mustard received regulatory clearance, but further steps have been halted by the Supreme Court’s decision to maintain status quo. The discussion will lay out the current governance status for GM mustard, assess arguments for and against the use of GM using a biology and policy lens and discuss how policy can inform on the way forward.
12:00 noon | The Role of the Judiciary in Ensuring ‘Child-Friendly’ Implementation of the POCSO Act | Apoorva & Shruthi Ramakrishnan
1:00 pm | The Trajectory of India-China Relations | Saurabh Todi & Anushka Saxena
Given the significant nature of the strategic threat India faces from its much more economically and militarily powerful neighbour, China, any event geared towards public and foreign policy is bound to deliberate upon the trajectory of India-China relations. In this light, Anushka Saxena and Saurabh Todi shall discuss two pertinent pillars of India-China relations: economics and security. Ranging from nuclear power politics to ballooning trade imbalances, the discussion shall highlight key trends and future trajectories in the relationship.
2:00 pm | Global Challenges in Year 2023 | Maj. Gen. Moni Chandi
Year 2023, is likely to be remembered as the year, the world emerged from the COVID-19 Pandemic. It may also be remembered as the water-shed year, for a new multi-polar world, profound changes to the world order and reforms to the global economy. In this presentation, the speaker will discuss important challenges likely to manifest and be addressed, by the world-at-large.
3:00 pm | Future Proofing the World through Quantum Science | Tobby Simon
Barely two decades into the second milinea, the world is confronted with an uncertain future. The Article ice is melting faster than ever before. A nuclear Armageddon is no longer just a war game scenario , but a real possibility. The world is in a state of flux, evinced by conflicts in Ukraine , the US-China technology rivalry, looming global stagflation, rocketing energy prices, biological threats, unpredictable climate events and a devastating food crisis. To compound further ,the average shelf life of a Fortune 500 company is now less than nine years and the half-life of a start-up could be under five years.
In a connected and globalised economy, organizations cannot operate in silos or in isolation . Leaders in government and industry would do well to prepare themselves to potentially create arbitrages through strategic adaptability. In the arms race between cybersecurity and cybercriminals, we’ve always relied on complexity trumping computational power. In the era of quantum computing, complexity isn’t enough. We need true randomness. With the power to create unbreakable encryption, supercharge the development of AI, , quantum technology will future proof our world.
4:00 pm | COVID-19, New Sites of Exclusion from Education, and Missing Evidence on the Most Vulnerable | Nisha Vernekar & Yashaswini Basu
The session will be in two parts. The first includes a presentation on the ‘Clearing the Air’ report. It will throw light on how is OOSC measured in India and challenges of measurement along with evidence on how COVID-19 may have impacted OOSCs in India.
- New sites of exclusion and whether this has persisted, as per latest ASER and U-DISE data
- Missing evidence on migrant children, children in need of care and protection and children with disabilities
- Short video on ‘Decoding Exclusion’ (Vidhi’s recently launched podcast on OOSC, missing evidence and the way forward): Clips from speakers – academics, and founders of organizations such as Leadership for Equity and Law Foundation
The second part will include discussion on Empowering the most vulnerable:
- Empowering stakeholders through Legal Rights Awareness – the Nyaaya Model
- Launch of Admission Cycle Guide for Karnataka
5:00 pm | The Future of Conflicts in the Asian Context | Air Marshal Anil Khosla
Air Marshal Khosla takes us on a deep dive on the trends and changing patterns of conflict over the past few decades, while examining likely flash points of the past, present and future, in the world at large and Asia in particular. The talk will discuss learnings from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine; technology and its role and effect. He will conclude with relevance of multilateralism and collective security and a suggested approach for India.
February 26 | Sunday
10:00 am | Let’s Go Cycling! | Sathya Sankaran
A film screening on urban cycling followed by a discussion with Bangalore’s bicycle mayor, Sathya and Dirk de Jager, former deputy mayor Amsterdam.
11:30 am | What goes into a Public Policy Programme | Suman Joshi
The domain of public policy has transitioned from a casual interest of an engaged citizen to a serious academic discipline in India. Simultaneously, the interest in public policy among businesses, political consultants, media houses, and has grown. In this session, Suman Joshi will give an overview of the current state of public policy education in India and give a glimpse of what goes into a public policy educational programme.
12:30 pm | Is the World Deglobalising? | Anupam Manur
In this session, Anupam Manur will discuss whether global trade is retreating and if the world is becoming increasingly protectionist in nature. As ideas of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, strategic autonomy, etc become increasingly popular, trade between countries is bound to suffer, which has economic repercussions for India.
1:30 pm | Unwrapping Form | Dr. Raj Ladher
3: 30 pm | Why Policy Education in a University Matters | Dr. Rinku Lamba & Dr. Aniket Nandan
5:00 pm | Defining the Public Interest: Sharing Philosophy in a Diverse Society | Prem Chandavarkar
The philosophy underpinning democratic society has long operated under the assumption that electoral politics will tend toward consensus on what constitutes the public interest. This thinking has a long history in political philosophy, starting with historical figures such as Plato and Rosseau, and echoed in more recent times by thinkers such as John Rawls and Jurgen Habermas who argue that once distortions of communication are resolved a common conviction based on rationality will follow.
There is another school of thought, epitomised by thinkers like Hannah Arendt, who argue for an inevitable pluralism, calling for a politics that starts with an acceptance of an intrinsic, yet healthy, diversity. In this school, diversity is essential to human rights, for it is easy to grant rights to someone like you, but that can become a form of tribalism. Rights achieve their potential when they are spontaneously granted to someone who is radically different. This raises the question of whether there is such a thing as the public interest or do we have competing private claims to define the public interest.
This question gains a heightened acuity given recent political claims in India that national unity requires a common culture and religion as well as a shared language. This challenge goes beyond minority rights and goes to the core of democratic politics and constitutional rights.
What are the key principles involved? How can diversity be healthy? Is diversity an impediment to governance? How can we shape public policy while mindful of diversity?
In collaboration with
Anupam Manur is an Assistant Professor at the Takshashila Institution. He was previously working as a Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore, after completing his Masters in International Business (Economics) from Lancaster University.
His research interests lie at the intersection of economics, technology, and public policy. He is currently working on platform economics, India’s ongoing jobs crisis, digital payments, and the New World Order. He is an Assistant Editor of Indian Public Policy Review, a peer-reviewed, open-access, bimonthly journal of economics, public policy and strategy. He has published several editorials in the Hindustan Times, Mint, Financial Express, The Hindu, NDTV, Scroll, Deccan Herald, Bloomberg Quint, Times of India and others. He has also edited three books under the Takshashila Institution Press.
Anupam teaches economic reasoning and macroeconomics in all of Takshashila’s public policy programmes and is responsible for designing the curriculum for the educational programmes.
Anushka Saxena is a Research Analyst with Takshashila’s Indo-Pacific Studies Programme. Her long-term project at Takshashila entails working on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and its reforms. She is also co-curating the weekly Newsletter, ‘Eye on China’.
Her research interests include Chinese elite politics, Chinese military and police, China-Taiwan Cross-Strait Relations, and maritime geopolitics. She has previously worked with think tanks such as the Observer Research Foundation, Institute of Chinese Studies, and Centre for Social and Economic Progress, and has written for reputed platforms such as MP-IDSA, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, and Vivekananda International Foundation.
She is currently in the final semester of her Masters degree in International Relations at the O.P Jindal Global University, Sonipat. She completed her Bachelors (Honours) degree in History from the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi, in 2021.
She tweets @SaxenaAnushka_.
Air Marshal Anil Khosla (retd) PVSM AVSM VM, is the former Vice Chief of Indian Air Force. He retired from the IAF after four decades of service. He has more than 4000 hours of accident-free flying on a fighter aircraft. Experienced in all the roles of air force, he specialises in maritime role. He has also worked extensively with the navy and army. He has dealt with various ministries, paramilitary, DPSUS, DRDO and other institutions. He holds two MPhil degrees and has vast instructional experience. He is currently pursuing a PhD on China and is doing research on defense and strategic matters.
Apoorva is a Research Fellow with Vidhi’s JALDI (Justice, Access and Lowering Delays in India) initiative. At JALDI, she is working in the areas of judicial reform and increasing access to justice. She previously worked with Mint as a legal writer where she wrote extensively about important legal developments and covered the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court and various other tribunals. She has also worked with Vidhi as an Associate Fellow on a project to study the implementation of the NDPS Act in Punjab. Her areas of interest include judicial reforms, constitutional law and animal law. Apoorva graduated with a B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) from National Law University, Delhi in 2014 and completed her LL.M. from Panjab University, Chandigarh in 2018. She loves to travel, is passionate about animals and spends her free time honing her skills at vegan cooking/baking.
Maj. Gen. Moni Chandi is a retired Indian army officer, who brings to the foundation skills of a soldier, an engineer, a counterterrorist commando, a un peacekeeper and a security professional. A former major general and inspector general of the elite national security guard, he is an enthusiastic analyst, an articulate speaker and a prolific writer.
Nisha is a Senior Resident Fellow and leads Vidhi’s work in the area of Education. She has completed her postgraduation from SOAS, University of London with an MSc in Development Economics, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Symbiosis School of Economics. Prior to Vidhi, she has worked as a project coordinator and research assistant at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, London and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, respectively on multiple projects relating to early childhood and elementary education, education policy, and gender. Some of these projects include working on understanding implementation of Right to Education, Act (specifically the provision under Section 12.1.c or the “25% mandate”) in Ahmedabad, parental preferences for private schools among low-income households, and the impact of a pre-school curriculum and pedagogical intervention in angwandis in rural Odisha. She regularly writes on topics of gender and education for media outlets such as The Wire, Ideas for India and The Quint, among others.
Prem Chandavarkar is the managing partner of CnT Architects: an award-winning and widely published architectural practice. He is a former Executive Director of Srishti School of Art Design & Technology in Bangalore, and is an academic advisor and guest faculty at Indian and international colleges of architecture. He was appointed as a member of the board of The Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum, USA.
Raj Ladher is a scientist at the National Centre for Developmental Biology in Bangalore. He is a Developmental Biologist interested in how form is generated as an embryo develops. He is also the Dean of Academics at NCBS, as well as Associate Editor of the journal Developmental Biology, and the secretary of the Indian Society for Developmental Biology.
Saurabh is a Research Analyst working with the High-Tech Geopolitics Programme at The Takshashila Institution. He tracks geopolitics of emerging technologies, especially in the field of biotechnology. His research interests also include export controls, WMD issues and the geostrategic dynamic between India, China, and the United States.
He has a Master’s Degree in Non-proliferation and Terrorism Studies from Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey, U.S. and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from University of California, Davis, U.S. He has previously worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey and as an intern at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. His work has been previously published by Observer Research Foundation, Centre for Air Power Studies, The Diplomat, and Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, among others.
Saurabh tweets at @saurabhtodi and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shambhavi Naik is the Head of Research at Takshashila and is the chairperson of the Advanced Biology programme.
Shambhavi has a Ph.D in Cancer Biology from University of Leicester, UK and over 3 years of experience as a PostDoctoral Fellow at NCBS and InStem, Bangalore. She has a PGP in Public Policy from the Takshashila Institution. Shambhavi’s research covers India’s policies in areas of emerging technologies, with a focus on healthcare and higher education.
Suman manages the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (GCPP) programme at Takshashila.
She has over twelve years of experience in the Corporate sector across recruitment, communications and process & quality management. As a recruitment professional, she worked on managing and scaling up recruitment functions at the corporate and unit level. She managed recruitment across multiple levels, geographies and areas of expertise. After a conscious career break, Suman consulted for a health and wellness company. With an experience spanning multiple functional domains, Suman has gained expertise in policy analysis, process design and communication with special interest in cross-functional processes and technology interventions.
Tobby has over thirty years of multi-disciplinary expertise in health care, pandemics, cyber security, aerospace, energy, supply chain risk management and strategic consulting. He has been an advisor to a number of international organizations including medicines sans frontier (nobel prize 2000), the world health organization, aedes the european union and the world congress on information and communication technology.
Tobby is a commissioner to the global commission on internet governance and a member of the tri lateral commission. His report on the deep and the dark web, co-authored with hon sec michael chertoff, the former us home land security chief was awarded as the 12th best policy report to governments by a think tank in 2016. He served for a number of years on the advisory board of the centre of new american security, the international council of the belfer centre for science and international affairs at the john f kennedy school of government at harvard university and the harris school of public policy at the university of chicago.
Tobby is a university topper and a special invitee of the Indian Prime Minister in 1998. He has a post graduate degree in management, a graduate of the Harvard business school and a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yashaswini works as Nyaaya’s Outreach Lead. Her primary responsibilities revolve around managing Nyaaya’s external communications and outreach campaigns including community engagements and developing strategic partnerships. She works closely with Nyaaya’s content team to ideate on new content based collaborations and on expanding Nyaaya’s volunteer networks. She graduated in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College For Women in 2014 and holds a masters in International and Comparative Law from SOAS, University of London.
Prior to joining Nyaaya, Yashaswini worked at centres of human rights advocacy like Internet Freedom Foundation and iProbono. She had also briefly worked as an associate fellow at Vidhi’s Delhi office in 2017. She enjoys dancing and is trained in Kathak. Reading has become a long lost love for her and she is taking baby steps to rekindle that affair!
Sathya Sankaran is the bicycle mayor of Bengaluru. He is the co-founder of the non-profit Citizens for Sustainability (CiFoS), and Urban Morph, a mobility and clean energy consulting company.
Shruthi Ramakrishnan is a Senior Legal Researcher with Enfold Proactive Health Trust in Bangalore working primarily in the area of child rights. She completed her BA.LLB. from Christ College of Law, Bangalore in 2011 and her LL.M. from Columbia University, New York in 2014 where she majored in Comparative Constitutional Law and International Human Rights. She has worked as a Research Associate in the Centre for Law and Policy Research (Bangalore) between 2011 and 2013, during which she worked in the areas of Constitutional Law, Disability Rights and Right to Education. She subsequently worked as Research Consultant at the Centre for Child and the Law (CCL), National Law School of India University, Bangalore until 2015, where she worked extensively on juvenile justice laws and the law related to child sexual abuse in India. During the course of her work with CCL, she co-authored two books: Frequently Asked Questions on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Rules, 2012 And the criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, [2nd ed., Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, 2015], and Law on Child Sexual Abuse in India – Ready Reckoner for Police, Medical Personnel, Magistrates, Judges and Child Welfare Committees, [Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, 2015]. In Enfold, she works in the areas relating to child sexual abuse, restorative justice and juvenile justice.
Dirk de Jager
As a Amsterdam district deputy mayor responsible for transport and urban development over a period of 16 years Dirk has a lot of knowledge and experience on bicycle policy and implementation. In addition Dirk brings experience and knowledge as an entrepreneur on the design of Bicycle masterplans in big cities in Iran, India and Turkey. He is specialist on complex assignments including multi stakeholders and working in different cultures. Dirk works with multi discipline teams including both international and local experts. In addition to de design of Bicycle Masterplans Dirk is also available for introductions, presentations and seminars.
Dr. Rinku Lamba has worked at the Centre for Political Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University for over 13 years. She has taught courses in contemporary political theory, and the history of political thought (Indian and Western), and also supervised research work of doctoral candidates in these areas. She previously held visiting faculty positions at Humboldt University, and University of Wurzburg in Germany, and served as an instructor at the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on state power, multiculturalism, secularism, and conceptions of religion in India, as well as on the political thought of Ranade, Phule, Ambedkar and Gandhi.
She was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, a Harold Coward Fellow at the University of Victoria, and held fellowships at the University of Sydney and at the Australian Catholic University, Sydney. More recently, she was a senior research fellow at the Multiple Secularities Research Centre in the University of Leipzig, and at the Justitia Amplificata Research Centre in the Goethe University in Frankfurt. She was also the Lansdowne Visiting Scholar in Religious Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada in 2019. In 2022, she received the Dalai Lama Fellowship for Nalanda Studies from the Foundation for Universal Responsibility. During this fellowship, she will be working on a monographic essay on Rabindranath Tagore’s Religion of Man.
Dr. Aniket Nandan is a sociologist by training and his research interests are focussed on socio-political investigations of associational life of caste groups which also display a fascinating intersection of caste, class, and religion. His present research aims to delineate the processes, shifts, transformations, and the convergences between the structure-agency while engaging with the questions of caste and religions’ influence on modern-secular democracy.