Monday, September 26, 2016

27 September 2016: The evolution of India Stack and the Unified Payments Interface

Sanjay Jain
EkStep and iSPIRT

Abstract:
The Government of India’s Open API Policy (2015) stated that the Government envisaged making its services digitally accessible to citizens through multiple channels, such as web, mobile and common service delivery outlets. The JAM trinity - Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile phones makes it possible for digital services to reach every Indian.

The India Stack is a name used to collectively cover specific APIs that allow govts and businesses to utilise govt. services to deliver services to Indian residents. These APIs have been developed by various organizations over the last 7 years, starting with Aadhaar, which launched an authentication API in 2010. These APIs are owned by government departments, and other public organisations.

India Stack provides 4 distinct layers:

A presence-less layer where a universal biometric digital identity allows people to participate in any service from anywhere in the country;
A paper-less layer where digital records move with an individual's digital identity, eliminating the need for massive amount of paper collection and storage;
A cashless layer where a single interface to all the country's bank accounts and wallets democratizes payments; and
A consent layer which allows data to move freely and securely to democratize the market for data;

Each layer has a specific technology - Aadhaar authentication and eKYC, eSign and Digilocker, Unified Payments Interface, and consent architecture - with corresponding public APIs.

Date: September 27, 2016
Time: 04:30 P.M.

Venue:
Conference Hall, Ground Floor
R&T Building
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy,
18/2 Satsang Vihar Marg, Special Institutional Area,
New Delhi-110067(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
Those who are interested may please confirm your participation at bins.sebastian@nipfp.org.in

Monday, September 19, 2016

21 September 2016: Seminar on Quality of Services in Telecom and Data Services: Issues, Challenges and Solutions

Organised by:
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi

In collaboration with
CUTS International, Jaipur and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

[Agenda]

Abstract:
CUTS and IIT have recently published a report on QoS in mobile data services, which is available at: www.cuts-ccier.org/QOSII/pdf/Mobile_Internet_Services_in_India-Quality_of_Service.pdf.

Our aim is to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to generate a debate on the findings of the study. This will be followed by a broader discussion on the next steps towards achieving better QoS in telecom and data services.

Date: September 21, 2016
Time: 04:30 P.M.

Venue:
Conference Hall, Ground Floor
R&T Building
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy,
18/2 Satsang Vihar Marg, Special Institutional Area,
New Delhi-110067(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
Those who are interested may please confirm your participation at bins.sebastian@nipfp.org.in

Thursday, September 15, 2016

19 September 2016: Global Rise of Populism and Elite Distrust: Its Roots and Political Response

Bruce Stokes
Pew Research Center

Abstract:
A rising tide of populism is sweeping the globe.  Political ideologies that were earlier seen as fringe dogmas in the Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the UK and the US and even in Asia, are now very visible on the political landscape.  Mainstream politics in the UK and the US is arguably turning anti-global, and there is a growing distrust of elites, exemplified most strikingly in UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Date: September 19, 2016
Time: 11:15 P.M.

Venue:
Conference Hall
Centre for Policy Research,
Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi–110021(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
RSVP to president.cpr@cprindia.org

22nd September 2016: Misled and Mis-sold: Financial misbehaviour in retail banks?

Renuka Sane
ISI, New Delhi

Abstract:
We use an audit methodology where auditors ask for tax saving instruments from banks and document the disclosures made on product features at the time of sale. In private sector banks with high sales incentives, the high commission product is recommended. In public sector banks, where there are deposit mobilisation targets, fixed deposits are recommended. Banks rarely make voluntary disclosures on product features. When specifically requested, information provided is inaccurate or incomplete. Our results demonstrate the challenges of mandating disclosures when buyers have little understanding of the relevance of product characteristics, and distributors are themselves ignorant or influenced by incentives.

Date: September 22, 2016
Time: 03:00 P.M.

Venue:
Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics,
Delhi School of Economics,
New Delhi-110007(INDIA)

Location:

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19 September 2016: Drones for building land title databases

T. L. Satyaprakash, Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon

Abstract:
Property rights in India are unclear and badly recorded. Though the genesis of the problem lies in the colonial period, they have persisted for years due to consistent lack of effort and attention by successive Governments. Land titling, which involves keeping a record of land titles and ensuring that the records are always true and reliable is a cornerstone of land administration. It is one of the ways of eliminating problems around land ownership and marketability of land rights.

Developments in technology can help solve this massive administrative problem. Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are being used extensively in land surveying and solving problems of land titling around the world. In India, use of drones for this purpose will first require coordination among various departments of the Central Government in order to ensure that drones are permitted to be used for such purpose. State Governments will have the primary responsibility of ensuring this, as land administration is a state subject under the Indian Constitution. The legal and administrative issues surrounding the use of this technology need to be carefully evaluated and assessed.

Date: September 19, 2016
Time: 04:30 P.M.

Venue:
Conference Hall, Ground Floor
R&T Building
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy,
18/2 Satsang Vihar Marg, Special Institutional Area,
New Delhi-110067(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
Those who are interested may please confirm your participation at bins.sebastian@nipfp.org.in

16 September 2016: Human resources for health: “wicked” problems or misunderstood?

Kabir Sheikh
Public Health Foundation of India

Abstract:
India, like many other countries, struggles with governance of its human resources for health. It is common knowledge that there are too few qualified health workers, that they are too unequally distributed to serve population health goals, and that the quality of services they provide is troublingly inconsistent.  Inter-governmental bodies and national governments periodically rediscover these “wicked” problems and frequently advance previously attempted solutions - which often face failure, in repeating historical cycles of policy amnesia. 

With examples from the speaker’s research and experience of policy reforms of 15 years, this talk will outline the inadequacies of prevailing, largely instrumental approaches to governance of human resources for health, such as retention, substitution and assimilation. The talk will illustrate how deeper socio-political phenomena such as professional dominance, pluralism, parallel systems and regulatory capture have shaped the character and dynamics of the health workforce, rendering it resistant to common policy solutions.  The talk will conclude with instances of encouraging policy processes and political responses to health workforce problems, followed by a general discussion.

Date: September 16, 2016
Time: 03:30 P.M.

Venue:
Conference Room
Centre for Policy Research,
Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi–110021(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
RSVP to ndevaraj@accountabilityindia.org or rseth@accountabilityindia.org

Friday, September 9, 2016

15 September 2016: Cesses in the Indian tax regime: A historical analysis

Ashrita Prasad Kotha
Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University

Abstract:
The Constitution of India is quasi federal, a feature which is also apparent from the provisions regulating distribution of revenues between the union government and the various state governments. India’s “co-operative federalist” fiscal structure has historically empowered the union and state governments to raise revenue by levying taxes, fees, cesses, surcharges, etc. In the schedule to the Indian Constitution which delineates the legislative competence of the respective governments to impose taxes and fees, there is no mention of cess. That may be owing to the fact that a cess, as clarified by judicial precedents, is either a tax or a fee depending on the specific facts. The unique feature of a cess though is that it raises revenue for an earmarked purpose.

By virtue of a constitutional amendment in the year 2000 union cesses are not required to be shared with state governments. Recent enquiries into the usage of funds collected under the head of cess has revealed a lack of accountability. This has resulted in the Fourteenth Finance Commission cautioning against the frequent usage of cesses. Even so, the union government has only recently announced a new cess (Swachh Bharat Cess) to promote its cleanliness and sanitation drive. The following questions emerge for study: Where does the power to levy cesses emanate from? Has the power been exercised in consonance with the avowed object backing it? In the wake of the criticism that cesses have been met with, will history help us to defend the power to levy cesses? Or is it the end of the road?

Date: September 15, 2016
Time: 03:30 P.M.

Venue:
Auditorium, NIPFP, Ground Floor
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy,
18/2 Satsang Vihar Marg, Special Institutional Area,
New Delhi-110067(INDIA)

Location:

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Note:
For details: Please contact nipfp.seminar@nipfp.org.in