16 Dec 2020 20:43 IST

IFMR symposium discusses rebuilding economy on a sustainable footing

Academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs from the US, the UK, and so on participated in the virtual event

IFMR Graduate School of Business (GSB) at Krea University organised a virtual research symposium, focusedon inclusion and sustainability. The event had a line-up of speakers, researchers and practitioners from India and across the globe, sharing their research and findings throug seminars, distinguished lectures, and showcase events. Experts from the US, Singapore, London, UK, New Zealand, Switzerland, and other parts of the world, brought multiple perspectives to the discussion, exchanging ideas and sharing their point of view and ways to move forward. 

IFMR GSB’s Research Symposium 2020 touched upon a wide range of topical issues and themes such as financial inclusion, sustainable finance, fintech, and digital inclusion. Students, faculty, researchers, and several attendees witnessed presentations and evidence-based research that answered burning questions on inclusion and sustainable development in our societies.

Contemporary relevance

Dr Shobha Das, Dean-IFMR Graduate School of Business, in her welcome address, highlighted the three meanings of inclusion that the symposium aims to define — social, financial, and digital inclusion. “During the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen and learnt about the problems that may arise when there is exclusion and unsustainable practices. Therefore, in IFMR GSB’s Research Symposium 2020, we have chosen two topics — inclusion and sustainability.”

Academics from reputed Indian institutions, entrepreneurs and representatives of the Indian government including Prof Karthik Muralidharan, Tata Chancellor’s Professor of Economics from the University of California, San Diego; Rama Devi Lanka - Director, Emerging Technologies, Officer on Special Duty, ITE and Communications Dept, Government of Telangana; Dr Avik Sarkar from the Indian School of Business; Prof Lore Vandewalle from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - Geneva; Prof. Alex Edmans from the Centre for Corporate Governance - London Business School; Dr Charity Troyer Moore from MacMillan Center - Yale University; Suniti Nanda - Fintech Officer, Government of Maharashtra discussed on a range of topics.

‘Hard heads and soft hearts’

Vice-Chancellor of Krea University, Dr Sunder Ramaswamy shared in his opening message about the relevance of hosting symposiums in today’s world and how it helps take the discussion forward. “The mission of Krea is to prepare humanity for an unpredictable world. When we designed it, we had no idea that 2020 would really test that mission statement. We’re in the midst of three crises — a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a social justice crisis. I think all of us are just waiting for 2020 to get behind us so that we can start the new year on a different note. But these issues will be there in the next year as well and we need to work out ways to effectively address them. Conferences and symposiums like this are critical in terms of finding solutions to the various facets of exclusion and the impact these facets have on sustainability,” he shared, ending his message with the philosophy of renowned American economist Alan Blinder on ‘hard heads and soft hearts.’

Prof Karthik Muralidharan, Tata Chancellor’s Professor of Economics from the University of California, San Diego, was the keynote speaker of the symposium. His keynote address focused on an inclusive growth dividend, shedding light on the role of income transfers in India’s development strategy. “It’s a great honour to be a part of a conference of such an important and timely theme. The economic impacts of the pandemic have been highly unequal and it’s unambiguously clear that the working class have been, by far, terribly affected. Rebuilding the economy on a sustainable footing will require attention to both growth and inclusion, he shared, where he moved on to explain conceptual issues, design scopes and classes of policies that can promote both equity and efficiency.