39th Skoch Summit - From Dole to Development, 
20th - 21st March 2015, Hotel Le Meridien, Janpath, New Delhi


The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that run the country for two successive five-year terms up until May 2014 focused on “entitlement-based” politics. During the 10 year rule, the government spent a whopping nearly Rs 11 trillion on doles toward fuel, fertilizer and food. A major portion of it was spent on subsidies on petroleum products, mostly used by the middle-class. This subsidy burnt a fiscal hole in the government finances and stoked inflation, leading to a mess in the economy.

A huge amount of money was spent on subsidies and doles through the programmes like employment guarantee and food security schemes. Nearly Rs 2.3 trillion was spent on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. A major portion of it was wasted in leakages and hardly any durable national asset was created. Agriculture production suffered due to artificial scarcity of labour force.

The latest national election outcome that saw a landslide victory for Mr. Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) signifies that people are not necessarily looking for dole-outs. The aspiring India that voted for Mr. Modi is looking for opportunities. They want jobs. They want better infrastructure and governance and chance of self-advancement rather than welfare handouts.

The government must work for the poor. There cannot be a disagreement on this. But the critical part is the ways and means to do so. One option is to continue with the subsidy approach. This can only be a temporary relief measure and not a substitute for more substantive reforms. The other, and more effective approach would be to use resources to build bridges that will bring the poor into the mainstream. There is need for convergence of the social welfare schemes that would help curb leakages.

The Summit brings together different stakeholders, including government functionaries, corporate leaders, civil society, academia, policy practitioners and representatives from the grassroots to deliberate on issue. Focus topics of deliberations will be:


Financial Inclusion: Mainstreaming the Marginalised

Digital India Developed India

  • Marginalised and Differentiated Banking
  • Credit Linkage and Livelihood
  • Constructing Supply Chains for the Marginalised
  • e-Commerce and the Marginalised
  • Arthik Vikas Mahilaon Ke Saath
  • Harnessing the Power of Global Innovations
  • Services, Opportunities and Transformation through Digital India