The inaugural IDFC Institute Dialogues was held in Goa in March 2016 in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This private, off-the-record event featured Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India; Nandan Nilekani, Co-Founder, Infosys, and Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India; and Rajiv Lall, Managing Director & CEO, IDFC Bank as co-chairs.
Attendees included Shashi Tharoor (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha), Rajiv Mehrishi (Home Secretary, India), Shekhar Gupta (Journalist), T N Ninan (Journalist), Tathagatha Satpathy (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha), Ashutosh Varshney (Professor, Brown University), Lant Pritchett (Professor, Harvard Kennedy School), Ila Patnaik (Senior Economic Advisor, Govt of India), Nirav Shah (OSD, Prime Minister’s Office) and Raghav Bahl (Media tycoon).
The topics for the hackathon were curated with the help of Prime Minister’s Office and included key reform issues such as:
a. Reforming the tax system
b. Criminal justice reform
c. Public sector staffing
d. Fiscal competitive federalism
e. Managing state assets
f. Additional uses for Aadhar
h. Formalising the economy
i. Reforming parliament
Working groups were created around each issue and chaired by an expert. For instance, the group involved in formalising the Indian economy was chaired by Manish Sabharwal (Chairman and co-founder, TeamLease), the group on public sector staffing was chaired by K P Krishnan (Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Government of India), and the group on managing state assets was chaired by Chinta Bhagat (Country Head of India and Global Head of Healthcare, Khazanah Nasional). Specific recommendations from the hackathon were compiled and shared with the Prime Minister’s Office.
Tangible outcomes from the hackathon, sleeper cells effectively, include the Index of Land Governance, the safety and security (SATARC) survey, the City Prosperity Index, the special governance zones model, and the City GDP project. This is in addition to informal collaborations that have ensued outside of IDFC Institute.