What is Global Development Centre (GDC)?
Global Development Centre (GDC) launched by RIS aims to take the Indian development experience to other countries. RIS is a New Delhi–based autonomous policy research institute specialised in issues related to international economic development, trade, investment and technology.
The Centre will contribute towards evolving an alternative development paradigm anchored on the virtues of inclusiveness and sustainability. It strives to promote indigenous alternative development programmes/flagship missions advocated by India for their possible replication among its partner countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
GDC envisages institutionalising knowledge on India’s development transformations and external cooperation. The Centre shall support India’s efforts in creation of global public goods and help in establishing global relevance of India’s development efforts. It will also help India learn from the experiences and development initiatives of other countries.
How did the idea of GDC come up?
India’s development experiences incubating systemic changes in economic transformation, improvements in the ease of doing business and sectoral and institutional connections alongside traditional approaches to new institutional mechanisms have attracted wide global attention.
The government departments and public institutions are developing new policies and programmes for implementation. In such a scenario, a simultaneous effort is needed to analyse the implications of new sectoral trajectories having macro level development perspective known to national and global audiences.
This effort requires a new ecosystem of institutions including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to establish a linkage between private and public actors in different sectors in the global space. Global Development Centre will leverage such a platform for exchange of knowledge and development experiences through joint research studies and symposia. The Centre will be aligned with a spectrum of partnering institutions like government bodies, academia, CSOs, parastatal agencies etc. The core competences and specific sectoral strengths of the partnering institutions will foster the projection of national experience to local and global actors.
Goals of GDC
Creation of Global Public Goods
Establishing global relevance of India’s development efforts
Achievement of SDGs
Evolving effective growth strategy
Objectives of GDC
To share India’s development experiences
To promote inclusive development
To expand entrepreneurial base
To focus on low carbon footprint and renewable energy
Why a GDC is relevant and needed?
Three important factors underline the necessity for such a Centre.
Development process in any country today can no longer be seen through an economic lens alone. It also has relevance in social, political, cultural and institutional factors for determining the dynamics of holistic development. The Centre will understand and articulate development process within a macro framework consciously and decisively crossing disciplinary boundaries.
Development has to be a result of cooperation among nations. The emphasis on SGDs will be a clear pointer to such a realization. Thus the Centre will look through the lens going beyond regional economic growth to developing a global perspective in equity, sustainability and inclusivity. The development road map would be guided by both its domestic and external policies.
The Centre will adopt an inherent multi-disciplinary, multi-functional approach and embrace pragmatic and flexible management process.
How does GDC function?
GDC concentrates on knowledge gathering and dissemination, facilitating realisation of Agenda 2030. The important SDGs brought under the scope of the Centre are Agriculture (SDG 2), Health (SDG 3), Capacity Building, Skill Development, Youth and Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Development Cooperation (SDG 17).
Centring on Agenda 2030, GDC will leverage the development compact in articulating the role played by trade in development.
GDC is backed by an effective institutional mechanism:
Thematic Research Centres:
The Centre will collaborate with key national, regional and international institutions and civil society organisations having specialisation in specific areas. The engagements with these entities are dynamic in nature, taking into account, the principles of financial prudence and value for money for their contribution to Centre.
Annual Development Dialogue and Annual Conference on South-South and Triangular Cooperation:
The Centre conducts India-UK dialogue on International Global Cooperation to deal with contemporary, regional and national developments. There is also an extended scope to invite other global actors, as and when needed. The collaborative model named as ‘Delhi Process’ involves partner countries and global actors.
What are the target countries of GDC?
In the first phase, GDC plans to target 14 countries from Africa and Asia namely,
Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal.
Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda.
The Centre plans to escalate its reach to new geographies in the phase II.
What are the thematic niches of GDC?
The provision of an affordable and appropriate healthcare is a key component of global development (SDG 3). Compared to the situation prevalent half a century ago, India has successfully resolved many of its health challenges and has forged ahead. India has certain good experiences to share with others, while learning the best practices from others.
Production of low cost generic medicines
After considerable discussion and deliberations, India opted for the Patents Act 1970, replacing the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. Coupled with industrial and health policies, it led to the development of a robust Indian generic medicine industry which provides till today most of the low cost medicines to the world, and India is earning the sobriquet of ‘the pharmacy of the world’.
Institutionalisation of access to vaccine
Another major component for universal healthcare is ensuring access and delivery of vaccines. During the last few decades, India has been able to address this issue with relative success. A large market was created as domestic firms made vaccines accessible to local populations and also emerged as a key supplier to WHO. India is one of the major suppliers of vaccines to UNICEF; which in turn, supplies about 40 percent of total vaccine demand for vaccinating children in more than 100 countries.
Promoting healthcare biopharmaceuticals
The Indian biotechnology industry has registered tremendous progress during the last two decades, supported by a number of enabling regulations. There has been active government intervention in setting up of research institutions with funding schemes and regulatory legislations. This has promoted strong collaborations among research institutes, biotech firms and universities.
Traditional medicine for healthcare
Well developed Indian Systems of Medicine (ISMs), i.e. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga has provided much needed alternative in healthcare due to their efficacy and accessibility. Recent policy initiatives have given further push towards integration of these systems in the mainstream healthcare delivery. Several developing countries may like to replicate some of these measures for their own domestic sector development.
STI & Digital Technologies
Initiatives like ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, and ‘Start Up India’ contribute in scaling up of nascent inventions and transform them into cost effective innovations. Under ‘Digital India’, multiple innovative programmes have been taken up to offer enormous opportunities towards financial and economic inclusion.
The Digital India programme stands on two premises, the first being optical fibre connectivity to all villages through Bharat Net programme; and the second is to facilitate digital interface and connect services like Aadhaar enabled services, e-KYC, cashless payments, digilocker etc. These interventions are ensuring improved delivery of subsidies, greater transparency and fiscal prudence by plugging leakages. India is keen to support initiatives in the areas of ICT and digital services (infrastructure) globally to fulfill the targets under the SDGs.
This underlines the scope of scaling-up and emulating India’s ICT and knowledge driven initiatives for inclusive development. The Centre intends to play an effective research/advocacy role to give substance and direction to policy in India and partner countries.
GDC will cater to discussions, around the issue of food security including the sub-sectoral level within broad agricultural domain. It will advocate modalities to enhance food productivity and accessibility and in a way ensure food and nutrient security for the majority of the population as a step towards meeting SDG 2.
Expanding entrepreneurial and research base
The intent is to strengthen and expand R&D base to help entrepreneurs, industries and farmers. This in return will help them in accessing and in letting produce high-quality seeds furthering a productive value chain in domestic agriculture production.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and standards
Developing countries are lacking in capacity to carry out Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and do testing. This has retarded global trade aspirations of these countries as it acts as a potential non-tax barrier in many instances. Institution building for confirming to the international standards is extremely important for consumption and expansion of trade through commercialization of agri-produce.
Finance and credit facilitation system
Financing of agricultural projects, particularly for small and marginal farmers, to allow access to better inputs is extremely important. The credit system along with insurance schemes will go a long way in enabling farmers adapt modern technologies, techniques and tools, which will eventually lead to higher agricultural productivity and higher income. In these lines to provide farmers with comprehensive risk coverage India has renewed focus on crop insurance schemes.
Development Practices and New Frameworks
a. Youth and Professional Skills/Education
India can leverage its experience and expertise in skill development and capacity building to provide training in vocational education for a larger proportion of Youth population. This will enable creation of centres of excellence and pre-employment training institutes in targeted geographies. Urgent efforts are required for closing skill gaps to avoid technologically driven labour market disruptions in African countries. The centre will devise relevant policy tools for partner countries, which will provide access to new technologies and capacities to deal with new settings and increase their productive performance. It will also help fill the missing links in this ecosystem and provide an umbrella mechanism to address pervasive skill gaps in the developing world.
Gender equality and empowerment is identified as a standalone pillar under SDG 5. The need for women led entrepreneurship and economic development has assumed greater significance taking into consideration the contribution of women to economy and society at large. Microfinance through Self Help Groups (SHGs) has enabled promotion of small scale women enterprises in India. Inclusion of these enterprises in the supply chains can help enhancing their markets to a great extent. Creation of such network of women economic groups in targeted countries of GDC, based on Indian and other similar experiences will ensure institutional strengthening and financial inclusion.
c. Quality Infrastructure
Quality/sustainable infrastructure is increasingly recognized for addressing the concerns for social, environmental and economic sustainability. Recourse to low-carbon energy forms, disaster-resilient constructions, proper rehabilitation and resettlement plans are some of the key parameters needing prompt action. India’s thrust on renewable energy is a welcome step in this regard where industrial policies are encouraged to adopt green technologies to minimize carbon footprints and integrate environment friendly production technologies and consumption habits. The centre can collaborate with similarly oriented institutions in developing rich literature and do advocacy around this theme.
d. Global Governance
India in recent times has steadfastly promoted global agenda where development is an international responsibility and sustainability challenges are universal. India forges development cooperation through strengthening multilateral partnerships by engaging instruments of joint action on global challenges. The country has offered new solutions and visions and taken the effort in supporting fellow developing countries through resource & technical know-how sharing and capacity building. The centre will therefore leverage this experience and evolve in to an overarching platform of knowledge cooperation to strengthen multilateral global governance and development partnerships.