KSFH Organizes National Seminar on “Prioritizing Welfare in a Market Driven Economy”

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In a free-market economy characterized by profit maximization, the role of the state in protecting citizens’ inalienable rights becomes increasingly important. While the market economy has contributed significantly to employment opportunities, economic growth, increased GDP and revenue generation in India, its effectiveness in terms of poverty alleviation and equitable income distribution remains debatable. Thus, the concept of “public welfare” and “welfare policies” take on new meaning in India.

Against this backdrop, the KIIT School of Social Financial and Human Sciences (KSFH) organized a one-day seminar on 31st March, 2023, titled “Prioritizing Welfare in a Market-Driven Economy”. The seminar aimed to reflect on a critical question: Where should welfare be located in an economy driven solely by profit maximization?

In his welcome address, Prof. Jayanta Kumar Parida, Director, KSFH, emphasized the seminar’s relevance and highlighted the school’s rigorous teaching, learning, and research culture, which contributes to social science research.

Shri Panchanan Kanungo, Former Finance Minister, Govt. of Odisha, attended the event as the Chief Guest and discussed the various economic epochs India has experienced, with a focus on welfare activities during each epoch.

Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Vice-Chancellor, KIIT Deemed to be University, delivered the Presidential address, focusing on the importance of sustainable growth in every sector of the economy. She congratulated the School for organizing the seminar and extended her best wishes for its success.

Prof H K Pradhan, Professor, XLRI, Jamshedpur, and Prof. R K Singh, BHU, Varanasi, were the Guests of Honor. Professor Pradhan discussed the need for Access to Finance to create jobs and emphasized the right ecosystem for financial inclusion, which should be achieved through proper institutional development and policy making.

Prof. R.K.Singh questioned the free market economy’s framework and performance during the pandemic, stressing the importance of People, Profit, and Planet for sustainable development. Dr. Pinanki Nandan Patnaik, the seminar’s coordinator, discussed the historical trajectory of welfare in the Indian political economy. Dr. Debasis Pahi, the seminar’s coordinator, conveyed the vote of thanks.

The second part of the conference was a panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Mitali Chinnara from Utkal University, who invited panelists to suggest welfare measures in a market-driven economy. Prof. K C Samal, NCDS, Bhubaneswar, highlighted the market-driven economy’s role in increasing economic disparities and suggested a basic needs approach and social security approach for ensuring welfare. Prof S.N. Mishra, KSOM, KIIT-DU, emphasized the lack of regulatory mechanisms hindering welfare and highlighted that a country with a strong faith in a market economy is not necessarily anti-welfare. Rather, the problem lies in welfare measures being used for populism and political gain.

Prof T.K Pany, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, spoke about the philanthropic attitude of people and community involvement at the grassroots level. Prof Brahmananda Sathapathy, an eminent Professor of Political Science, KISS University, Bhubaneswar, enlightened the audience about neo-liberalism and political freebies. Prof P.K. Hota, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, opined that self-employment and entrepreneurship play key roles in ensuring welfare and suggested a shift in focus from a consumer-based economy to a producer-based economy.

The last leg of the Seminar featured research paper presentations by participants from various corners of the country.  More than 250 papers were received of which 84 were shortlisted. These papers were presented by participants across four technical sessions, running simultaneously in hybrid mode.

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