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Indo-US forum on economic reforms

The Stanford Center for International Development has long standing collaborations with Indian organisations, writes Shalini Narang.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 12:10 IST

To debate issues related to state level economic reforms and for the successful implementation of the reforms of the infrastructural (focusing on power), education, health and agricultural sectors including a broad discussion on the overall nature of economic reforms, several scholars of the Stanford Center for International Development (SCID), Imperial College, UK and Indian economists and policy makers will get together in Chandigarh and Jaipur from March 26 to 28 and March 30 to 31 respectively.

The Stanford Center for International Development is a centre within the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research focusing on international trade and development via research on issues pertaining to economic policy reform in developing economies and economies in transition.

"The Chandigarh conference will be preceded by a meeting with several state government secretaries designing policy in our areas of expertise. We will discuss our research and the design of policies. In Rajasthan also, the discussant for each of our papers is the concerned secretary from the state Government. Our research will be heard by those most responsible for the execution of programs at the state level," says Dr Anjini Kochar, India programme Co coordinator at Stanford Center for International Development.

In the previous year meets organised in partnership with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), state government officials and local chapters of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), several proposals for research on the effectiveness of education policy, effective deployment of resources to the social sector and the impact of small credit programs in raising the incomes of the poor have been submitted by the Stanford researchers. Among specific contributions through the India Programme, the centre's research has affected policy change in small-scale reservation and in telecommunications.

In answer to a query on implementation of past year proposals, Anjini Kochar says: "Our goal in these conferences is to provoke debate amongst policy makers on how to reform the sectors under study and though we present the results of our researches to key policy makers, whether it is taken into account in policy making is, unfortunately, something we cannot control."

The primary activities of the India programme at the Stanford Center includes research on myriad issues including health, infrastructural development, telecom, poverty, education and overall economic growth of India and organisation of mirror conferences, one at Stanford and the other in India to disseminate the research to politicians, bureaucrats, members of the business and social communities in India.

The main aim of the conferences is to involve researchers and policy makers to heighten the debate on effective policies for economic growth and development of India. Dr Anjini Kochar of Stanford and Professor TN Srinivasan, a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center direct the program for International Development.

Some of the papers being presented at the upcoming conferences by the Stanford faculty include Power Sector Reform, Assessing Economic Reforms in India and Their Implications For Centre-State Relations, and Agricultural Reform In the States and Reforming Social Sectors in Punjab and Rajasthan.

The outreach programme to the state governments in the past has resulted in collaborative research projects between Stanford Center for International Development and several Indian organisations like Dr Kochar's collaboration with Dr Verghese Jacob and Dr Suresh Reddy of the Byrraju Foundation on evaluation of computer education in village schools, the ability to improve the quality of government schools and its effect on the community of Andhra Pradesh and a collaboration with researchers at the Center for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) on the effectiveness of fiscal decentralisation in the state of Punjab and its effect on poverty programmes.

Similarly, other members of the institute also have long standing collaborations with members of premier Indian organisations like National Council of Applied Economic Research and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 12:09 IST