Time for a New Social Contract
A huge fallout of one of the most challenging times, ever, to face humanity, in generations, is that things will change forever.
As it has become incumbent for economies, across the world to re-establish the contours of the new world. As a lead up to a global gathering of businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, governments and academics, we have started to build the narrative that facilitates the re-birth of an ecosystem where ideas, innovation, equality, opportunity and diversity thrives.
We designed the New Ideas’ Series to guide us into such a future. The first dialogue in the series, co-curated and designed by Former Member of the Planning Commission of India, Mr. Arun Maria brought together insights from a diverse group and helped us question the fundamentals- the real purpose of economic growth, the politics of innovation, knowledge and a social contract theory.
Mr. Maira set the context by underlining a deep-rooted inequality that has been embedded into our systems and socio-economic interactions, globally. He drew parallels between global wave of social unrest unleashed by Black Lives Matter and the anti-Dalit sentiment in India, where the white and the upper caste oppressors are no less than the big corporations use regulations to choke the growth of small and medium enterprises.
Padma Shri awardee and icon of women’s entrepreneurship and banking in India, Ms. Renana Jhabvala was quick to bring the plight of the informal enterprises and its vast workforce that often go un-noticed and remain ignored in policy conversations.
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector has been facing a severe credit crunch for some time and the pandemic has literally squeezed them financially. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are the largest provider of employment after agriculture in India. As per the latest National Sample Survey, of the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, the estimated number of workers in informal non-agriculture MSMEs in the country engaged in different economic activities are just over 11 crore who contribute 29 percent of India’s GDP. As part of its fiscal policy, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, the Indian Government, with a focus to revive the MSME sector, has mostly restricted itself to credit guarantee schemes.
To empower the philanthropic community and enable investment into the social enterprise sector, the Indian Government, under the aegis of the Finance Ministry, has recently developed a blueprint- ‘Social Stock Exchange (SSE)’. The objective is to ease funding and strengthen accountability of the organizations working in the social sector. As part of the 15-member working group, under the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), that developed this guiding document, a member of the group & Founder & Chairman of the Aavishkaar Group, Mr. Vineet Rai, shared the vision behind SSE.
But will a renewed focus on ‘social development’, by itself, significantly impact everyone equally in a free market? A civil society and public policy ideologue and a former leader of India’s financial sector, Luis Miranda, underlined the need to incorporate and institutionalise the idea of social impact indicators for businesses.
History is witness that at every civilisational transition or development, wealth of knowledge will have to be accumulated and applied, however as Mr. Maira beautifully concluded- in the current ideology of economics, knowledge has largely been a private property that is often monopolised to benefit a select few. And, the real purpose of designing a new economy, that is shared and valued by all should be the main driving force for all the stakeholders of development. And, at Sankalp we will work towards building an impact economy.
This webinar was not meant to be a single event, but a starting point for the work that must be done to mitigate this issue once and for all.
Please be sure to visit www.sankalpforum.com to receive updates on our upcoming summit in November and take the survey to register your interest here.
(You may also watch the entire discussion here)