THE PLANNING FORUM ORIENTATION
The Planning Forum’s orientation on August 24, 2023, inaugurated a new year of events for the society by acquainting individuals passionate about Public Policy and Policy-making with the core essence of the society. It started with the introduction of the various events that the Forum holds, like the Alumni Talks, Policy Conclave, Policy Arena, SMUN, Chatrashala, and the like, to familiarise them with the society and its events.
They were introduced to the Stephanian Forum, a Planning Forum initiative that offers a creative space and platform for individuals who are eager to express their thoughts and find a voice. Finally, the entertaining trivia round at the end heightened the overall enjoyment as the first years answered questions about the college for a chance to win the chocolate sticks.
LECTURE SESSION BY SHRUTI LAKHTAKIA
In the digital realm, within the virtual auditorium of the internet, an online lecture emerged as a beacon of knowledge and inspiration. The speaker, Shruti Lakhtakia, an economist at the World Bank and a DPhil in Public policy candidate at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, materialised on screens like a digital sage, ready to embark on a journey of enlightenment. The event aptly themed Academia and Policy: a two-way exchange transported attendees into a fairy tale. As the lecture began, the pixels on the screen danced in harmony with the speaker’s words, casting a spell that transcended the boundaries of physical space. The event commenced with a keynote address of invitee by Yakov George, a member of the Economics Society of St.Stephen’s College. The lecture talk by the speaker emphasised the crucial role of academia in providing evidence-based research to inform policy decisions. She also discussed how academia plays a pivotal role in offering comprehensive research, data and expert opinions to guide effective policy-making. Examples were shared of successful collaborations where academic research influenced policy decisions at local, national and international levels. Collaborations with IDB and IMF were presented. The speaker’s voice, a river of wisdom, flowed with the cadence of a seasoned storyteller, drawing in the virtual audience. With each word, she painted vivid mental landscapes, forging connections across the digital expense. Numerous questions were asked on the diversity of academia and the equitability of crime research in academia. As the lecture reached its zenith, the screen seemed to expand, enveloping the audience in a digital crescendo of inspiration. The knowledge imparted was not confined to the virtual world; it ignited a spark within each participant. The lecture ended with a thank you note by Drishty of the Economics Society who described the lecture as enriching and thought-provoking. And as the lecture concluded, the digital sage bid farewell leaving a trail of luminous insights in their wake. The online lecture, a digital symphony of intellect and imagination, had transformed the screens into gateways to enlightenment, a testament to the boundless power of human curiosity in the digital age
THE INAUGURAL LECTURE
To raise the bar of excellence of a country even higher the economy contributes a major role and what connects them all strongly is Globalisation. The global economy is innately tied to trade; it allows countries around the world to obtain any resource they may want, whether or not it is produced on the home front. This availability of resources is facilitated through trade. During times of peace, it is beneficial in a global economy, to see other nations succeed. On the other hand, during times of unrest, dependence on outside nations, in a global economy, may seem scary. Due to globalisation and other factors, it is impossible for large industrialised nations to exit the global economy unscathed. Addressing these major issues, the Planning forum at St Stephen's College hosted an interactive session on the 13th of October, 2023 with Mr Auguste Tano kouamé who briefed the audience on the topic "Navigating troubled waters: The Global Economy and India" and gave invaluable insights through his achievements and experiences. He is the World Bank’s Country Director for India and a national of Côte d’Ivoire. He most recently served as the World Bank’s Country Director for the Republic of Türkiye and a Director in the World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group. He also held positions as a Practice Manager in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Practice of the World Bank, first in Latin America and Caribbean countries and then in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Mr Kouame talked about the substantial decrease in growth of economies in the world and drew a clear picture of the global economy and how it was affected by the pandemic but despite the headwind, India sailed its ship rather smoothly and persevered in the run of development and growth. These enriching thoughts and ideas made the audience more cognizant about the contributions they need to put into making India reach heights unimaginable
THE TREASURE HUNT
On the sunny afternoon of September 21ST, 2023, Planning Forum Treasure Hunt unfolded on the sprawling SCR lawns. This unique event combined the thrill of a treasure hunt with exploring policy-related themes. Participants eagerly embraced the challenge, demonstrating their enthusiasm for learning and community engagement.
Treasure hunts have a timeless appeal, fostering creativity, teamwork, and an innate sense of adventure. The Planning Forum Treasure Hunt sought to channel this spirit, offering participants a day of fun. Through this Treasure Hunt, we aimed to challenge participants with a series of mind-bending puzzles and riddles and to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.
The college grounds offered a perfect setting for exploration and adventure, with various nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered. The Treasure Hunt saw participation from students across courses. This diversity added a rich layer to the event, fostering interdisciplinary interactions and creating lasting memories for all involved.
The Hunt was a resounding success, achieving its objectives and leaving a lasting impact on the college community. Participants bonded over shared challenges, fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging, which is what matters at the end of the day.
Held on Sunday, the 3rd of December, Chatrashala proved to be an exceptionally heartwarming occasion. The Planning Forum warmly welcomed children onto the campus to spend a day engaging with and educating them. During self-introductions, we encountered young individuals like Abhinav, expressing the desire to become a chef as they grow older. Abhinav shared tales of crafting chai for grandparents and revealed a steadfast refusal to cook for sisters deemed too mean. This blend of passion in the kitchen and resilience against injustice promises to shape dynamic personalities during their early educational years.
Encountering young girls aspiring to become sportspersons underscored the evolving dynamics of youth education, irrespective of gender. The ability of children to dream diversely and ambitiously, unencumbered by limitations, marks a positive shift in youth education. Among the myriad ambitions expressed, from engineers to teachers to doctors, a notable enthusiasm for cricket emerged among many, boys and girls alike. This was attributed to the formation of a cricket team inspiring pride in its multiple victories.
Engaging in various games with the children revealed the spirited and energetic nature inherent to kids. Laughter echoed as we participated in activities such as barf aur panni, football, and the hanky game, turning into a nostalgic journey through our own childhood memories. The drawing session, where children and volunteers gathered enthusiastically to depict everything from Doraemon to grape vines and amusing incidents from the event, was a heartwarming reminder of our childhood artistic endeavours.
The drawings, each reflecting the unique and vibrant aspects of the children's personalities, contributed to an innocent and heartening atmosphere. As everyone immersed themselves in the art, the session became a showcase of creativity eagerly shared to please.At the end, all children received certificates and chocolates, expressing gratitude for the delightful time they provided and acknowledging their endearing qualities. We remain appreciative of their lively presence, offering a welcome distraction from impending exams and creating one of our most memorable days.