Workshop on 'Governing India'

7th-8th May 2017

Venue: Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg

India presents a laboratory for comparisons where narratives of successful and failed governance can reveal the conditions under which citizen centered governance is likely to occur. This workshop invited policy-makers, public intellectuals, technocrats and scholars who have engaged with governance in India to reflect and discuss on how India executes its governance. The workshop provided a ringside view of interactions between the political executive, technocracy (bureaucracy) and civil society groups that engenders possibilities for citizen well-being in India. 


Our speakers


Aruna Roy is an Indian social activist who co-founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), a social and grassroots organization for the empowerment of workers and peasants. She is a former civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). She quit the IAS to dedicate herself fully to social and political campaigns.



Santhosh Mathew is a political economist with extensive experience as a civil servant within the IAS. He is currently Joint Secretary (IT & Skills) at the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. He was previously Professor at India’s civil service college in Mussoorie (1994-2000) and was National Program Director (2000-03) of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) program in India.


K Raju is a retired bureaucrat of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) . He is currently the chairman of the Scheduled Caste (SC) Division of the Congress party. During his tenure in Andhra Pradesh, he played an instrumental role in setting up the implementation architecture for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.


Shankar Singh is a social activist and the co-founder of MKSS. He played an instrumental role in the minimum wage struggle, securing employment guarantee to the rural poor and access to information movement in Rajasthan and at the national level.



M.P. Parameswaran is a nuclear engineer and an educationist. He was instrumental in broad-basing a popular science movement in Kerala known as Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP). He later played a key role in launching a national level education movement in form of Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha.


Sowmya Kidambi is director of Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency (SSAAT), Department of rural development, in Andhra Pradesh, India. Kidambi has led the introduction of social audits throughout India, which review how public-sector funds have been spent on the ground. The audits help to improve governance and reinforce public trust in the state.


Nikhil Dey is one of the founder members of the MKSS. He has been a part of the organisation’s decision making collective and its numerous struggles of the poor for land, the payment of minimum wages, justice, and equality. Dey was a member of the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC) and of the State Employment Guarantee Council of Rajasthan.


Subrata.K.Mitra is Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore; and Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Universität Heidelberg. He is one of the world’s foremost scholars on governance and politics in India, having published a number of books and scholarly journal articles.



Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is currently Editor of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW-leading social science journal in India). His work experience, spanning almost 40 years, cuts across different media: print, radio, television and documentary cinema.


Surjya Kant Mishra is the opposition leader in the state of West Bengal and belongs to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was the minister of Health and Minister in-charge of Land & Land Reforms, Panchayats & Rural Development when the CPI(M) was in power in the state.


Pradip Baijal is a retired bureaucrat from Indian Administrative Service and was chief of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. He is credited for telecom reforms in India by pushing for unified licensing,



Swapan Dasgupta is a senior Indian journalist and Member of Parliament, being a Presidential Nominee to the Rajya Sabha (Council of States, or India's Upper House of Parliament). He has held senior editorial posts at The Statesman, The Daily Telegraph, The Times of India, The Indian Express and India Today.


K.C.Suri is a professor at the Department of Political Science at University of Hyderabad. He has published many book chapters and papers in national and international journals on different themes pertaining to politics and policies in India. Presently he is the Managing Editor of Studies in Indian Politics, a bi-annual Political Science journal published in India .


Wajahat Habibullah is a former bureaucrat from the Indian Administrative Services. He held senior positions in the government administration and was secretary to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (local self-government). After retirement, he served as the first information commissioner of the Central Information Commission of India, a central body tasked to implement Right to Information (RTI) law.




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