FLAME University hosted the fifth edition jointly with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
The three-day conference saw noteworthy personalities like Vallabh Bhanshali, Co-Founder of the ENAM and Governing Body Member of FLAME University; Raghunath Mashelkar, Former Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Justice (Retd.) Madan Lokur, Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India; Ambassador (Retd.) Gautam Bambawale, Former Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Pakistan, and China, amongst others
Pune, India – 8th December 2022: FLAME University, the pioneer of liberal education in India, hosted the 5th edition of the Law Economics Policy Conference (LEPC) on 28th, 29th, and 30th November 2022. In collaboration with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) based in New York, this year’s 3-day conference focused on the theme: “India: The Path to Sustained Growth over the Next Decade” and saw over 12 sessions that deep-dived into its diverse aspects.
Inaugurated in 2016 in Delhi, LEPC was the first conference that brought academics, policymakers, and practitioners under one roof to discuss real-world societal issues and challenges and coming up with solutions to them. Continuing with this legacy in its fifth year in 2022, the conference was held at the FLAME University’s campus in Pune under the direction of a well-established steering group comprising academics, influencers, and practitioners.
Sharing his views on the conference and its contribution, Prof. Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University, said, “The fifth edition of the Law Economics Policy Conference (LEPC) at FLAME University had several eminent leaders discussing issues and possibilities on India’s path to achieving sustained growth over the next decade. The conference is also a collaboration with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) of New York. Finding creative solutions for some of the most difficult issues always needs a collective effort with significant roles for academia, industry, government, and society at large. A collaboration between these stakeholders can contribute towards finding solutions and bringing forth innovative concepts and ideas that can solve present-day real-world issues and prepare us to be better equipped for the future. Through conferences such as LEPC, FLAME University endeavours to create the right kind of platforms for debating issues, presenting ideas, and seeking solutions, along with making an impact through its research progress and knowledge dissemination.”
This edition of LEPC, too, focused on the many contemporary problems of the world through the holistic lens of diverse disciplines. The three-day conference witnessed conversations held at the intersection of law, economics, and policy as well as between thinkers and practitioners.
On day 1, diverse panellists delved into discussions pertaining to the rule of law in India alongside the market for land, its misallocation, and contracts involving land rights. Meanwhile, day 2 saw discussions about labour and women as well as exploring sources of low state capacity for better functioning of the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive. The role of the state in a high-tech society, household finance, and mapping district-level statistics and cultures were also discussed. On the third day, the conference unpacked the uncertainties faced by private investors, low and shrinking employment rate, climate change, and building a decarbonized Indian economy, as well as economic growth in a tough global environment. Each session was a moderated discussion that included academics, policymakers, influencers, and practitioners.
Some of the notable speakers and panellists present at the conference included Vallabh Bhanshali, Co-Founder of the ENAM and Governing Body member of FLAME University; Raghunath Mashelkar, Former Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Rishikesha Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore; Justice (Retd.) Madan Lokur, Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India; Gautam Bambawale, Former Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Pakistan, and China; Anup Wadhawan, Former Commerce Secretary to Government of India; Misha Sharma, Head, Household Research, Dvara Research; Urvashi Aneja, Founding Director of Digital Futures Lab; Prithviraj Chavan, Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Ila Patnaik, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group; Ajay Shankar, Former Secretary, Minister of Power, Government of India; Amit Varma, Writer, Podcaster and Journalist; Amit Raje, COO, Mahindra Finance; Rajendra Mamgain, Professor & HOD of Economics, Doon University; Nitin Pai, Co-founder and Director of Takshashila Institution; Susan Thomas, Co-Founder of XKDR FORUM; and Renuka Sane, Associate Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), amongst many others.
Sharing her thoughts about the conference, Sunanda Nair-Bidkar, Director of Strategic Planning, South Asia – Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), said, “INET strives to advance ideas for a better society. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in New York City that develops new economic thinking and tries to create a more equal, prosperous, and just society. LEPC in India was envisioned to try and find creative solutions for some of the most difficult issues facing society. In the past five years, LEPC has seen some of the brightest minds think of complex questions and offer innovative answers that could have a real-world impact. We are thrilled this year to be able to partner with the renowned FLAME University and bring this conference to Pune.”
Speaking of the relevance of the Law Economics Policy Conference, particularly in contemporary India, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Former Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, said, “As most people talk about India at 100, I would like to mention Bharat at 100. The achievement of Bharat at 100 is necessary for the success of India at 100. Additionally, it’s essential to understand that India represents values such as “santulit,” which, in Hindi, means “balanced,” “sushashit,” which means “well governed,” “Suvidya,” which means “well-educated,” and so on. In order to make this happen, the government must be effective. But it also requires cultivating a society that is inclusive, tolerant, and balanced in terms of gender, the environment, ethics, and equity.”
He also mentioned, “This conference, in my opinion, was remarkable because it focused specifically on enhancing inclusive growth and development. If you approach this conference’s content from a holistic perspective, it is just excellent.”
Justice Madan Lokur, Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, commented, “A conference like the LEPC event, where experts from many fields with different disciplines gather and engage in conversation, should be encouraged. This will help students develop a more comprehensive viewpoint.”
When asked about sustainable growth for the next decade from a legal perspective, Justice Madan Lokur further shared, “We should pay particular attention to a few points. The most important issue is that we need the rule of law in the nation, not just for the purposes of the law but also for the economic, social, and cultural aspects of progress. All of these elements must be taken into account while attempting to broaden the scope of our business and industry. In addition, we must ensure that we adhere to the guidelines established by the legislation passed by the parliament. Only then would we be able to go forward.”
By bringing together a federation of people from various avenues who can debate, disagree, and learn from each other in a good-faith environment, the fifth edition of LPEC worked towards nurturing a community of thinkers. And this community, in turn, strived to explore comprehensive answers to some of the most pressing and challenging questions before the nation today over the course of three days.