ISAS Conference Proceedings

The 21st Century Indian City
Developing an Agenda for Urbanization in India

March 23-25, 2011
India International Center,
New Delhi, India

The 21st century will be an Asian century. But it will also be an urban century with much of this urbanization taking place in Asian cities, especially in India and China. Such urbanization carries with it tremendous potential for economic prosperity, the consolidation of middle-class aspirational lifestyles, growth of civil society and experiments with local democracy. But such urbanization also presents significant challenges including the degradation of urban poverty and inequality, the inadequacy of infrastructure, and the ecological impact of stifling pollution and increasing carbon footprints. India’s rapid urban growth thus presents a call to scholars, policy-makers, planners, and civil society activists to engage with these various potentialities and challenges. This conference series recognizes the urgency of these issues and takes up the challenge.

The goal of the first conference in this series, Developing an Agenda for Urbanization, was to develope an agenda for research and policy such that the Indian city and its transformations can be better understood and better managed, and to introduce a new repertoire of analytic concepts, research methodologies and policy prescriptions attentive to the Indian urban condition.

For a list of participants and papers presented please see the conference website

Report from the first conference
 

Democracy 2

 

The 2nd FDRI/Berkeley Seminar on Indian Democracy
Justice & the Law
A conference on the role of law in Indian democracy
September 26~27, 2008

Without mechanisms in place to ensure safety, justice and certainty, a democracy cannot survive. India has had an independent judiciary for decades, but how effectively does it function and is able to truly deliver impartial justice to its citizens? How do other state actors like the police and army function to uphold the law? What recourse is available when these instruments of the state themselves break the law? Civil society, like citizens groups and even the private sector, are often involved in promoting justice and just practices. How does civil society work with the average citizen when he or she does not feel that justice has been served? What alternate forms of dispute resolution mechanisms are available? What lessons can we learn from successful examples of effective and democratic legal environments? Luminaries from government, the judiciary, civil society, the media, academia, and the corporate world will be invited to address these and other vital questions through a series of panel presentations, breakout sessions, and keynote lectures.

For a list of participants and papers presented please see the conference website

Report from the second conference

  
Democracy 1
The 1st FDRI/Berkeley Seminar on Indian Democracy
Governance & Empowerment
A conference on the role of local governance & civil societies in Indian democracy
May 24-25, 2007

The first in a series of annual seminars on Indian democracy was held at Berkeley on May 24-25, 2007 and attended by a host of Indian dignitaries, including Union ministers, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jaipal Reddy, former Chief Minister of MP Digvijay Singh, Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac, Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan, well-known media personalities Chandan Mitra and Kalpana Sharma, NGO activists Arvind Kejriwal, Ramesh Ramanathan and Jayaprakash Narayan, constitutional lawyer Rajiv Dhavan, as well as prominent Berkeley academics. In addition to noting the sheer magnitude of what India had managed to achieve and sustain regarding development of democratic institutions, local governance and empowerment, the conference highlighted the obstacles that stood in the way of achieving higher levels of accountability, lower levels of corruption and more effective governance, as well as broader challenges facing Indian democracy. In particular, the role of Center-state relations and fiscal constraints on devolution, as well as the strains brought about by increasing inequality, were noted by participants.

For a list of participants and papers presented please see the conference website

Report from the first conference