51st SKOCH Summit - State of Inclusion, 
10th March 2018, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi



The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a report saying that the global obsession with short-term growth has led to historically high levels of income inequality and a growing gap between the old and young people. The findings were based on its annual Inclusive Development Index (IDI) that ranked India at 62nd place among 74 emerging economies, much below China’s 26th position and Pakistan’s 47th. More importantly, it has resurrected the debate of what inclusion entails on an economic level. Is the WEF definition sufficient or is its lens warped by utopian economic standards?

The IDI takes into account the “living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness.” It urges the leaders to urgently move to a new model of inclusive growth and development, saying reliance on GDP as a measure of economic achievement is fuelling short-termism and inequality.

It all sounds good but the Indian challenges are clearly different.

It is time that the parameters of inclusion are defined in keeping with Indian realities. The SKOCH State of Inclusion Summit seeks to develop a cohesive definition that incorporates infrastructural advances like rural roads, highways, electrification, water management, human development, healthcare, employment and income growth, amongst others.

Global trends have shown that in order to achieve inclusive development and growth, the expansion of financial services to all sections of society is of utmost importance. A key input to improved livelihoods is access to credit.

SKOCH Research Reports have had a very pronounced policy impact over the years. In September 2017, SKOCH Report on Employment Generation under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) was released. It has been widely appreciated and accepted across spectrum.

An update on the PMMY report including the performance on NPA front shall be released during the Summit.

SKOCH Report on Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and its impact will also be released. Work is underway on SKOCH impact assessment of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as well as work done under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH). A sneak preview may be possible during the Summit.

We need to recognise that inclusion is a wide term and in a society as diverse as ours, each step forward is a step in the right direction. Designing solutions with a broader problem statement will only help develop better policy. Can we, perhaps, reframe the problems that we solve on a daily basis?

It would not be farfetched to say that the IDI exemplifies all that is wrong with western economists trying to study development. We need to take stock of inclusion on the ground and identify areas that need greater effort. Further, take course correctives both in terms of policy and implementation.

The SKOCH Summit on State of Inclusion aims to develop such a policy agenda. In attendance for this critical discussion will be policy makers, economists, civil society, bankers, media and so on.

All this makes the 51st Edition of SKOCH Summit on STATE OF INCLUSION a must attend and must support for all stakeholders in Inclusive Growth of India.