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Clockwise from top: Prof. Ajay Chhibber,  Amb. Gautam Bambawale and Mr Abhay Vaidya at the PIC-CEBRI Lecture on ‘Towards the New Architecture for International Financial Institutions’. Report in Review of Programmes below

Dear PIC Member,

A scintillating lecture-cum-discussion on the restructuring of the Bretton Woods institutions; participation by senior Pune International Centre (PIC) Fellows and members in a G20 seminar on Urban Infrastructure; and a book discussion on braving the Covid-19 viral storm were amongst the highlights of the first month in the New Year.

January was also special as it marked the arrival of PIC’s second book, India’s Pathways to Success: Winning in the Next Decade, with essays by 12 members of the PIC family. The book has been edited by Dr Ganesh Natarajan and Dr Ejaz Ghani and has a foreword by Mr NR Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys.

During the month, the PIC secretariat was engaged in preparations for the forthcoming Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) 2023, to be held during February 23-25, while PIC’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change (EECC) team was busy in preparations for the YOUCAN Environment Fest and roundtable on February 11, in association with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

The PIC-CEBRI (Brazilian Centre for International Relations) lecture by Prof. Chhibber was an important event for PIC because it marked the first of our events under a collaboration with CEBRI, a leading international think tank. Amb. Gautam Bambawale, Trustee, PIC, and Prof. Feliciano de Sa Guimaraes, Academic Director at CEBRI, welcomed the speakers and the audience and spoke on the significance of the collaboration.

As in the previous months, the PIC secretariat has been busy with follow-up meetings on its campus development at Pashan and planning for future programmes.

We look forward to your participation in the events planned for February (mentioned below) and the AED 2023 at the end of the month.

As always, we look forward to your valuable feedback and suggestions!

Abhay Vaidya
Pune International Centre

                                                                                         Inside this Newsletter

  • G20 Seminar on Urban Infrastructure  
  • Book Discussion: Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story
  • PIC-CEBRI Lecture: Towards the New Architecture for International Financial Institutions

  • Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story, by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir

January 13: G20 Seminar on Urban Infrastructure

L to R: Dr. Ajit Ranade, Prof. Abhay Pethe and Prof. Gurudas Nulkar speaking at book discussion.

Prior to the two-day Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) meeting in Pune, Municipal Commissioners of around 50 civic bodies across India attended a one-day seminar on urban infrastructure. The panel discussions explored topics related to IWG’s flagship theme for 2023, that is, ‘Financing Cities of Tomorrow: Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable’.

Prof. Gurudas Nulkar, Senior Fellow, Pune International Centre (PIC), was a distinguished speaker at the panel discussion on ‘Vision for Future Cities’. Dr. Nulkar explained how the resilience of the city rests on both natural capital and human capital.

Prof. Abhay Pethe, Senior Fellow, PIC, was a distinguished speaker at the panel discussion on ‘Municipal Financing and Urban Infrastructure Development: Role of PPPs in Municipal Financing’. According to Prof. Pethe, while cities create surplus wealth, the tax system should be designed such that revenues are allocated properly.

Dr Ajit Ranade, Vice Chancellor of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) and Member, PIC, was a distinguished speaker at the panel discussion on ‘Resolving Bottlenecks in Financing Urban Infrastructure and Services by States and Urban Administrations’. Dr. Ranade explained that for the first time in India’s modern history, the number of villages is decreasing. However, there is an absence of new developments with regard to adequate urban infrastructure financing.


January 24: Book Discussion: Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story, by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir

L to R: Mr. Abhay Vaidya, Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar and Mr. Aashish Chandorkar at the event.

On 24 January 2023, Mr. Aashish Chandorkar, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of India to the WTO, and author, participated in a discussion at the PIC on his book, Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story. Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, former Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), chaired the session.

Mr. Aashish Chandorkar explained that the book focuses on three key A’s related to vaccines – Access to vaccines, availability of vaccines, and affordability of vaccines. Research for the book was conducted through primary interviews and records the choices made by policy makers during a unique session.

Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar commented that if one were to read the book with a keen eye, it is apparent that the authors have braved a storm of information overload to write a well-researched book without creating controversy. Dr.

Gangakhedkar also commented that the book is, “…a wonderful exposition of what happened…and will serve as a reference point for the next pandemic, which may not be far away”.

The session witnessed a lively round of Q & A.

Click here to watch the YouTube video.


January 27: PIC-CEBRI Lecture: Towards the New Architecture for International Financial Institutions, by Dr. Ajay Chhibber

Pune International Centre and the Brazilian Centre for International Relations (CEBRI) organised a lecture on ‘Towards the New Architecture for International Financial Institutions’. The event, held in hybrid mode at the Sumant Moolgaokar Auditorium in Pune and streamed online, was chaired by Mr Joshua Felman, former Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in India.

The keynote speaker was Prof. Ajay Chhibber, distinguished visiting scholar at the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University. The discussant was Prof. Rogerio Studart, Senior Fellow at CEBRI and former Executive Director of the World Bank Group's IFC, IDA and MIGA. Amb. Gautam Bambawale, Trustee, PIC, and former Indian Ambassador to China, Bhutan and Pakistan; and Prof. Feliciano de Sa Guimaraes, Academic Director at CEBRI and Professor at the Institute of International Relations at the University of São Paulo, gave the opening and closing remarks.

During the lecture, Prof. Chhibber discussed the need for reforms in the Bretton Woods institutions, including the IMF, World Bank (WB), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), in order to move the world towards financial stability and common prosperity in the future. He suggested that these institutions should shift their focus towards climate change and sustainability and use their capital more innovatively, such as through guarantees and insurance products.

He also suggested that the IMF and WB should work together with other multilateral institutions in a cascading system to support each other and that the base resources of these institutions should be expanded. He proposed that the financial and Bretton Woods institutions should work on creating global principles and rules of governance if they are to truly reform and represent all members fairly.

Prof. Studart discussed the need to urgently mobilise and leverage existing resources to fight issues relating to climate change and sustainability, and how that can be done through collaboration of developing and developed nations alike, through these financial institutions. Disagreeing with Prof. Chhibber, he said that the Bretton Woods institutions should not be the ones governing the global rules.

Instead, he suggested that the rules should be dictated by bold developing economies that are becoming powerful day by day, such as India and Brazil, through, for example, the medium of regional forums and institutions, in order to move past the north-south mentality about the global order.

The session concluded with a lively round of questions and answers, providing a platform for further discussions and debates.

Click here to watch the YouTube video.


Youth Manifesto Environment Fest & Youth Manifesto Round Table

The Energy, Environment and Climate Change (EECC) team of Pune International Centre is coming up with another ‘India’s Youth Manifesto’ event on February 11, 2023.

The main collaborators for the event will be PMC and the venue will be Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium, Ghole Road. Politicising the issue of climate change demands the continuous engagement of civil society. For that, popularising the Manifesto as a demand from the youth is especially crucial.

Roundtable Dialogue on ‘Mobilising Civil Society Support for Indian Youth Manifesto’ with Political representatives and government heads on the youth demands in the Manifesto. The event will have the participation and support of many other stakeholders of Pune, such as government departments, environmental NGOs, green businesses, and members of civil society. The proposed event flow for the programme is ready and will comprise multiple activities, including talks and debates.

The event will conclude with a decision by political parties to include the points from the Manifesto in all their forthcoming election manifestos.

Citizens’ Climate Action Priorities Questionnaire:
Team EECC has created a questionnaire for the Youth Manifesto to understand the citizens’ take on climate change and their demands to mitigate the impacts and make it a mainstream issue by including it in the political agenda. We are going to put forth these demands to the government agencies and politicians to demand rightful climate action.

The questionnaire is relevant to the upcoming Youth Manifesto programme slated for February 2023. The targeted questionnaire responses are 1,000 and we have acquired 534 responses as of now.

Click here to go to the questionnaire link. Do share the above link within your organisation and social circles for better outreach.

PMR Project:
The PMR project team of EECC is working on building the scope and design of the first pilot project out of the six, which is about installing renewable energy microgrids. Regarding this, we are also speaking to various experts in this domain. To develop this project, we are also looking for organisations and institutions that would want to be part of our project.

Since this newsletter is seen by Pune International Centre members and others, we would like to convey to readers to feel free to reach out to us for project related advice and collaboration.
Policy Paper:
EECC is also working on the policy paper, ‘Redesigning Urban Local Bodies for Climate Action’. The paper focuses on how power can be decentralised to urban local bodies, which will enable them to aid India reach its carbon-neutrality goals. It covers aspects like structural challenges, the state of finances, the need for decentralisation and other aspects related to the working of urban local bodies.

The paper is in the research process right now. We plan to publish it in the second week of February.
The New Year for the Social Innovation Lab started with the initiative of the Social Enterprise Mentoring Program 2023 [SEMP] from 9 January 2023. The current cohort of SEMP 2023 is of 13 social enterprises, who are among the finalists of the National Conference for Social Innovation (NCSI) 2022. To date, a total of 30 mentoring sessions have been organised.
Shared Service Centre – Social Enterprises [SSC-SE]
The Shared Service Centre is an initiative to support social enterprises with different services needed to foster entrepreneurship. For the past couple of years, SSC-SE has helped and fostered 100+ social enterprises by providing various services.
The services provided are:
Digital Marketing                                                
Export-Import Documentation
Legal Compliance                                                 
2D/3D Animation Video
Accounting & Audit                                                
Website Development/Revamp
Intellectual Property Rights                                    
HR Consulting
Facilitating Funding & Pitch Deck                 
Brand Building
Shared Service Centre restarted in January 2023, and currently we are in the process of connecting social innovators with the services providers.
Policy Paper
‘Women Entrepreneurs’ Empowerment’, a policy paper with recommendations for the Government of Maharashtra, is proposed and work on the same is in process. Dr Ejaz Ghani, Dr Sheela Bhide and Dr. Sangeeta Kale are the authors, along with Dr. Vishal Gaikwad and Mr. Mandar Joshi.
Masterclass 2023
PIC Social Innovation Lab will start the Masterclass Session for the social enterprises under SEMP 2023 cohort from February 2023, to give exposure to social innovators in fundamentals of various industry verticals.

Case Study on Women Social Innovators/Entrepreneurs
By: Dr. Vishal Gaikwad, Mr. Mandar Joshi, Ms. Malavika Khatavkar
Click here to read more.
India’s New Growth Model
By: Dr Ejaz Ghani, Sr. Fellow (Hon.), PIC
Click here to read more.


State actors and information warfare

We should recognise that many can play the game of manipulation targeting the Indian
information space.
Prof. Ajay Shah, Business Standard, 22 January 2023
Click here to read more.

Reshaping India’s Fiscal Policy

India is already a highly decentralised country, but it is not meeting its goal of promoting more inclusive growth.
Dr. Ejaz Ghani, Business World, 16 January 2023
Click here to read more.

Inequality, like pollution, must be reduced
This year’s Oxfam report says that in the past two years, the wealth of the top 1% has increased by $26 trillion, more than twice that of the bottom 99%.
Dr. Ajit Ranade, Deccan Herald, 23 January 2023
Click here to read more.

India needs to use its fiscal armoury to fight inequality

Higher social and productive spending, along with tapping tax opportunities, can help reduce yawning gaps.
Dr. Ajit Ranade, Mint, 24 January 2023
Click here to read more. 



Title: Braving a Viral Storm: India's Covid-19 Vaccine Story
Author:  Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir
Genre: Politics
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year of Publication: 2023
Price: Rs 495

Braving a Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story 
Book Summary by Mr Chandran Iyer

Reality is stranger than fiction. This old adage was again proved right when the entire world was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. What happened, in reality, had a chilling resemblance to what was depicted in the 2011 American medical thriller film Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

The plot of the movie Contagion, concerns the spread of a highly contagious virus transmitted by respiratory droplets and fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, and the loss of social order as the virus turns into a worldwide pandemic.

Braving A Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story, written by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir, gives a full account of how India dealt with the devastating pandemic. But unlike the movie Contagion, this book is not a work of fiction. It is the outcome of painstaking research chronicling India’s Covid-19 vaccine journey.

Ashish and Suraj have narrated the story of how India got two India-made vaccines — one fully developed in India— to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors have interviewed several individuals, whose unique insights have moulded the contents of the book. They included vaccine manufacturers, government officials, officials from the WHO and the WTO, scientists, scholars, social commentators, journalists and many others.

This book published by Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd shows that PM Modi had envisioned Cowin as early as May 2020. The book also explains how the Indian vaccine created a spirit of trust and collaboration, unlike in China. The authors have peppered the book with extensive information about different types of diseases that have caused mass destruction in the world including the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Bubonic plague of 1347, which took nearly 200 million lives, smallpox in 1520, which claimed 56 million victims, and other diseases.

The book details how our self-belief played a key role in bouncing back from the pandemic and put the nation on the path of aatmanirbharta, or self-dependence.


Date Time Programme/
Speaker/Moderator Venue
Feb. 2 (Thu.) 6pm to 8pm Book launch: India’s Pathways to Success: Winning in the Next Decade Chair: Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar
Chief Guest: Dr Abhay Firodia
BORI, Law College Rd, Pune
Feb. 5 (Sun.) 11am to 12pm Discussion on Union Budget 2023-24 Chair: Dr Ajit Ranade, VC, GIPE
Speakers: Prof. Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Dr Pradeep Apte, Dr R Kavita Rao, Prof. Partha Ray
Feb. 11 (Sat.) 9am onwards EECC  Youth Manifesto: Youth of the Nation Unite Politicians, academicians, bureaucrats and celebrities among invitees Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium, Ghole Rd, Pune
Feb. 23, 24, 25 (Thu., Fri., Sat.) Inaugural session at 4pm (Feb. 23);
10am (Feb. 24); 9am (Feb. 25); Valedictory: 12:45pm to 1:30pm
Asia Economic Dialogue (AED): Asia and the Emerging World Order 30 plus experts and speakers from around the world JW Marriott, SB Road, Pune

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Pune International Centre · Pune · Pune, 411007 · India