IIM Bangalore’s Centre for Public Policy conducts ‘Water & Sustainability Conference’ as a part of Golden Jubilee Year celebrations

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Expert talks, panel discussions and presentations marked the theme ‘Measurable Impact, Delivered with Confidence’ in the conference

September 3, Bengaluru: The Centre for Public Policy (CPP) of IIM Bangalore concluded a two-day ‘Water and Sustainability Conference’ in association with IIT-IIT (IITians for Influencing India Transformation – iit-iit.org) today at the IIMB campus. The conference is an initiative of IIM Bangalore’s Golden Jubilee Year celebrations and aims at bringing water scarcity and its social impact to the forefront. 

The first day of the conference saw various industry leaders delving on water rejuvenation initiatives and the role played by NGO’s, philanthropists, academicians and CSR initiatives led by corporates.On the second day, the sessions took a closer look at the impact of water scarcity on farmers operating in various segments. The eminent speakers and industry catalysts also deliberated on CSR initiatives and on-ground projects initiated by corporates and NGOs in  providing solutions to the water crisis. 

Speaking about Paani Foundation’s efforts in solving farmers’ water crisis in Maharashtra, Mr. Satyajith Bhatkal, CEO of Paani Foundation said, “Paani Foundation’s initiatives towards raising awareness and providing watershed management training has led to the remarkable transformation of communities affected by water scarcity. In the ongoing battle against drought, our focus on both demand and supply-side solutions remains crucial and demands a systematic intervention. We’re also proud to announce the initiation of our program which is aimed at nurturing farmer-entrepreneurs within family groups. It is a key step towards boosting agricultural yield and enhancing the profitability of our farmers, ensuring a sustainable future for rural communities.”

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The conference shed light on the exemplary on-ground case studies for water transformation and highlighted the learnings from Ambuja Cement Foundation’s  Better Cotton project, Asian Paints’ Mysore Watermark project, ITC’s Water Stewardship and Caring Friends and Consortium of Foundation’s Beed District project. 

Speaking on, “Assurance of Income in B2B market” Prof Trilochan Shastry, Professor of Decision Science, Former Dean of IIM Bangalore and Founder of Centre for Collective Development said, “To establish a successful B2B marketplace and optimize sales while ensuring a seamless supply chain, a tiered organization setup is indispensable and water management is an essential aspect of it. This structure allows for efficient coordination, timely fulfillment of quality and quantity requirements, and enhanced collaboration with retail corporates. In today’s dynamic business landscape, capabilities such as social mobilization, a seamless supply chain, and a sterile environment are pivotal for remarkable success.”

Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures and Co-founder of Infosys, delivered a compelling valedictory address at the Water and Sustainability Conference. He highlighted the remarkable journey of tribal farmers in Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh, whose lives were transformed through the innovative Arakunomics model, championed by the Naandi Foundation. 

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He said, “In the midst of India’s economic transition, addressing the per capita income of our farmers is paramount. The next generation, children of farmers, hesitates to embrace agriculture due to financial concerns. It is imperative to equip our youth with the right skills and opportunities in agribusiness. A collaborative effort between the public and government is essential to enhance farmer productivity and income. Leveraging technology and embracing evolving agricultural practices is crucial for nation-building. India’s pivotal role in agriculture is clear; while we dominate in rice production, we must strive to expand the cultivation of diverse crops.”

Panelists of the two-day conference included Sanjiv Phansalkar, Director, Vikas Anvesh Foundation; Ravi Mariwala, Founder and Managing Director, Smaart Water; Deepti Kommera, Independent Advisor and Consultant, Water Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture; Anuj Sharma, CEO, Arghyam; Sharachchandra Lele, Distinguished Fellow, Environmental Policy and Governance; Amit Singh, Associate VP & Group Head Corporate Affairs & CSR, Asian Paints, Vijay Vardhan, General Manager, Social Investments, ITC and Ajith Radhakrishnan, Senior Specialist, World Bank, Babu Joseph, Ex Executive Trustee and CEO, Axis Bank Foundation and Ramchandra Vemuri, Ex GM Reliance Retail Consultant. 

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