Round Table on India Sustainability

Hyderabad, 22nd October 2022: On their 20th anniversary, the Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD) hosted a Round Table on India Sustainability @75 at IMT Hyderabad, where a panel of experts from different fields was invited to share their perspectives on various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This conference's theme was "achievements, challenges, and prospects”. The chief guest for the conference was Mr. SK Joshi, IAS (R), and former Chief Secretary, Telangana.

The conference began with a welcome address by the event’s host, Dr. Srinivas, ED, CSD. He introduced the table to the distinguished guests and expressed his gratitude to IMT Hyderabad for hosting this event on their campus. Following the welcome address, the director of IMT, Hyderabad, Dr. K. Sriharsha Reddy, addressed the table and raised a crucial point about sustainability, namely, that we must practice it ourselves before asking others to do so, and that we must move from having good intentions to have good outcomes. Next came some words of wisdom from our chief guest, who elucidated the different criteria for judging the performance of different states and how the metrics of the world hunger index are faulty and there is a need to develop our own methodology as a country.

Prof Steven Raj, Associate Professor at IMT Hyderabad, provided the opening remarks for SDG 13: climate change. He discussed the current environmental trends in India, as well as how the concept of La Nina is causing unexpected rain patterns in the country. Dr. Ashok Kumar, Director of the Regional Program Asia ICRISAT, and Dr.G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, shared their insights about SDG 3 – Food Security and Nutrition. They discussed how, while India's food production has increased in the last decade, farmers have not reaped the benefits. Dr. Ambika, IIT Hyderabad faculty, and Dr. Vineetha Kumar, Dy. Director, National Institute for Agriculture Management, provided insightful remarks on agricultural waste and post-harvest management whereas Ms Nirmala Tamineni, a social activist, talked about the gap between the wants and needs of urban and poor people.

The host Dr. Srinivas then gave the keynote address for SDG 9: Sustainable Infrastructure. Dr. Alivelu Kasturi, the Dean of Graduate Studies at the Hyderabad-based CESS, and Neelam Janiah, Vice Chair and Managing Director of the TSREDCO discussed the difficulties that SSIs face in India, as well as the low level of R&D investment (less than 1%).

Ms. Bharathi Kode, GMR Foundation, and Sri. Kashinath Reddy Ekalavya Foundation took up the last SDG: Skills and Livelihood, expressing their dissatisfaction with the persisting problem of people not enrolling in more skill-related courses. This was followed by an interactive question and answer session wherein students voiced their opinions. The event concluded with remarks from the honourable Chief Guest, who mentioned that he found the entire discussion to be a rewarding experience. He mentioned the importance of giving people a choice to maintain sustainability. He also expressed his concerns about the scarcity of reliable data and pressed on the use of solar power generation.

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