Funding: The World Bank
The World Bank has identified COEPPG as the key knowledge partner and decided to support as a Regional Centre of Excellence for Environment Management capacity building program in South Asia. Initial funding for Rs 4.00 Crores will be available in two phases starting from June 2014. The program will launch a set of special electives on environment management under the PGP and conduct short training programs and thematic workshops for the stakeholders both from public and private sectors.
Hilly regions of Uttarakhand are disaster-prone and have lacked development when compared to the plain regions. Except the state, civil society and the media have vital roles to play as far as this issue is concerned. Hence, it became important for Indian Institute of Management Kashipur (IIM Kashipur), to commence work in this vital area of study. Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) has recently sponsored a special project entitled, “Mitigating Disasters and Promoting Development in Uttarakhand: A Participatory Model for the State, Civil Society and Media” at the cost of Rs 12.00 Lacs. The aim of the project is to look at the relations between disasters and development at one hand and roles and responses of the state, civil society and media on the other. It also aims to explore the possible people participated, environment friendly and sustainable development model in the hilly districts of Uttarakhand.
Funding: Ministry Of Urban Development
The Institute of Urban Transport (IUT) was set up by Ministry of Urban Development in 1997 to advise the government on urban transport planning, development, operation, education, research and management. IUT has now identified different IITs, NITs and other national institutions to set up regional chapters in various states. COEPPG at IIM Kashipur has been identified as the designated Chapter for Uttarakhand. The chapter will feed into the national urban transport policy, conduct regular training for transport professionals and officials and act as the capacity building arm of the IUT in the region.
Management of information and communication technology (ICT) based communication systems, especially with the advent of web-based platforms like social media and micro-blogs, has come to the center of attention in the recent years. The fact that any information can be instantly disseminated to tens of thousands of people, and further have the same information spread exponentially by them, makes digital media a very powerful tool. Hence, governments, corporate houses and the academia are expressing the need for a well-grounded research study in this area that can offer strategic, tactical assistance and recommendations covering the domains of Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Media Management.
With this in mind, Center’s visiting scholar and country’s prominent cyber security expert Mr Subimal Bhattacherjee has undertaken this study in collaboration with the internal faculty at IIM Kashipur, on India’s Cyberspace Security, Social Network Monitoring, Government Communication and Public Relation issues. The report of the study will be present in coming months to the Government of India and other stakeholders.
From Tahrir Square to Gezi Park
Nirbhaya, the 23 year old medical student who was gang-raped and murdered in a bus in Delhi, the national capital of India 16 December 2012, generated large scale public protests across the country. Facebook and Twitter played a vital role in not only expressing the collective anger of the public, it virtually became the melting pot for expressing the cumulative anger, frustration and outrage against the failure of the government in effectively responding to the incident. The demand for justice in the Delhi gang rape case was intensified many fold and joined by netizens from other smaller cities across India, after the government tried to block public gatherings that started since 21 December 2012 in various places like India Gate. The unnamed victim was given several names in social media as 'Damini' or 'Nirbhaya', and targeted campaigns like 'The Black Dot of Shame' gained momentum within days of the incident.
Days of protest followed and the victim eventually died in Singapore on 28 December 2012. In the meantime, a judicial committee headed by J. S. Verma, a former Chief Justice of India, was appointed by the central government to submit a report, within 30 days, to suggest amendments to criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases. The committee invited input from the public in general, lawyers, jurists, NGOs, women's groups and civil society with respect to possible changes in criminal and other relevant laws to provide for quicker justice in such cases. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by the President of India on 3 February 2013 which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.
While political protests social and political protest movements and the facilitating role of social media has been debated, studied and discussed in various countries and contexts, the contribution of a social media mediated protest and its impact on changes in national policy and law has not been examined critically in the present case. This paper, therefore, presents a comprehensive analysis of existing legal provisions and constitutional safeguards that exists in India, the regulatory mechanisms that prevails upon the social networks and goes beyond the catalytic role of the social networks in such protests in order to examine the impact of social networks in legal and policy change processes.
Through a detailed discussion on the existing laws on fundamental rights including freedom of speech and right to life, the paper goes on to track the role of social networks in generating the protests against ‘weak’ laws against rape in India, through comparative analysis of texts and photographs added to various social networks, especially the Facebook and Twitter. The study concludes with the post-protest impact that propelled the government to bring harsher punishment and changes in criminal laws and highlights the role of social networks in that policy changes process. In a nutshell, this paper presents a curious case on ‘cycle of change’ that starts with protest in social networks but eventually leads to policy/legal changes without going to the extent of regime change as happened elsewhere.
Dr K M Baharul Islam, Chair, CoEPPG and Mr Bidu Bhusan Dash, the then Academic Associate (Communications) lead the study. The result of the study formed a part of the forthcoming book entitled “From Tahrir Square to Gezi Park: Social Networks as Facilitators of Social Movements” edited by Prof Juliet Dee, Department of Communication, University of Delaware (USA).
The understanding of player involvement is inextricably linked to the way the game interacts with the player and the player interacts with the game through the ludic interface. Video games as situated cultures have become an intrinsic part of the way the digital universe is permeating the real world, thereby influencing and reconstructing our ideas of culture and society.
Roger Caillois’ defines mimicry as ‘becoming an illusory character oneself, and of so behaving. One is thus confronted with a series of manifestations, of which the common element is that the subject makes believe that he is someone other than himself’. The idea of make believe is etymologically linked to the idea of play. The word illusion is derived from Latin illusio, meaning deceit. Illusio comes from the Latin phrase illudere, meaning 'in play'. Play and illusion are units of différance, operating from within the centre of the structure and deferring meaning and ‘truth’ forever. Immersion is rendered a problematic term since it refers to a complete identification, to a union of consciousnesses whereas the player can only form supplements in play. The ludic interface operates as a tool of creating différance. And it is the combination of the ludic interface and the narrative element in play which creates illusion in the game world. Neither, on its own, can create a powerful magic circle, creating kairos out of chronos.
The Indian classical idea of the Sutradhar binds the concepts of interface and narrative. It looks at how the physical interface between the puppets and the puppeteer becomes, literally, the strings which hold the narrative together. The literal sutradhar is said to have preceded the symbolic sutradhar. The sutradhar is also a performer. Each rendition of a story, be it an oral narrative or an authored text, is different at the hands of the sutradhar, who becomes part author of the narrative. The use of the interface is particular to each sutradhar, thereby making each performance different from the previous one. The videogame player as a participant in the game with AI is a performer. In multiplayer environments, the gamer is an interacting performer, improvising and rendering the game differently as both participant and audience.
The present project on “New Media” is a new area of research in society and communication that will examine the changing nature of player involvement in videogames with respect to existing and emerging technologies of gameplay and the synergies which exist between the ludic interface and narrative structure of videogames. The element of performativity in gaming is also crucial to our understanding of how a game unfolds, both in terms of its ludic specificities and narrative qualities. The idea of the puppeteer is all the more relevant now, with video game consoles of the eighth generation introducing gameplay where the player herself becomes the ludic interface. Games like these demand a new understanding of interfaces, narratives and player involvement. The 3D environment moulds the player's action and thereby makes the player's choices a crucial part of the game narrative itself. The gamer is both a puppeteer and a narrator, wielding the joystick and controlling the narrative in a bid to finish the game.
Center’s then appointed Visiting Scholar Ms Nandita Roy who is at present a professor in Communication area at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow conducted the research in an attempt to better understand human interactions with virtual space and the cultural exchanges between the digital and the real. It tried to answer the question: How does human interaction with ludic interface and narrative impact player involvement?
A research project funded by Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India under the Plan Scheme for Action Research and Studies on Judicial Reforms to promote research and studies on the issues related to the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms (2015-17) was undertaken. This action research (evaluation / monitoring studies, organizing seminars conferences / workshops, capacity building for research and monitoring activities, publication of report/material promotion of innovative programmes / activities in the areas el Justice Delivery, Legal Research and Judicial Reforms) aimed to promote research and studies on the issues related to the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms being implemented by the Department of Justice.
According to a recent Grant Thornton study (Women in business: New perspectives on risk and reward, March 2017), the proportion of senior management roles held by women in India is among the lowest in the world. It is found that women have reluctance to raise their hands to take up the challenges and rigours that a top management job brings considering the social-cultural limitations and expectation requirements take their toll on women managers. A study (Catalyst) found that nearly 50 per cent of Indian women drop out of the corporate employment pipeline between junior and mid-levels, compared with 29 per cent across Asia. The best way to bite the bullet, say human resources experts, is to build on gender diversity across the organisation and create a supply chain of well qualified women managers from our business schools.
The issue of missing women in our corporate boardrooms therefore also relates to the gender dimensions of our management classrooms. In spite of a pro-women admission policy adopted by top management schools in India like Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) whereby an affirmative bonus points are awarded to the women applicants, the number of women participants in management classrooms are strikingly low. The number of female students in the country’s top B-schools has decreased despite ongoing efforts of these institutes to shore up gender diversity in classrooms. Only around 649 women are part of the 2016-18 batch at the top six IIMs of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Indore - an almost 19% drop from the 2013 high when close to 800 women were admitted in these institutes (The Economic Times, 27 Aug 2016). While diversity levels have improved since 2012, what is worrying is that despite no lack of effort, overall gender diversity percentages at these six IIMs have been on a downward slide since 2013: from 32% then to 28% in 2014, 27% in 2015 and around 26% this year. Same scenario also seems to prevail in other new IIMs also as the percentage of women applicants for admission to IIMs has remained more or less the same. IIM Lucknow has seen the representation of women plunge from 46% in 2014 to 32% in 2015 and 25% in 2016. IIM Kozhikode, once the flag bearer of the gender diversity push with 54% female students in 2013, the institute got just 26% women in 2016 batch down from 35% in 2014 and 27% in 2015. Apparently the top management institutes are struggling for an answer to this disappointing trend.
Considering the Canada Scenario, way back in 2011, a study found that the women's progress in reaching senior management teams of business was stagnant over the previous two decades. Men are found to have two or three times higher chances to reach the boardrooms. As of 2014, nearly 20.8% of corporate board positions at Canadian stock index companies are held by women in Canada. (Catalyst, October 2014). According to another report, women held 21.6% of board seats in 2016. That is almost double from 10.9% in 2001. According to a more recent study, women held 34.8% of all management positions and 37.1% of all senior management positions in 2017. At the same time, Canada has a national mission to have 30% women at the board level by 2019. The Government of Canada announced, through Economic Action Plan 2015, its intention to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act to promote gender diversity among public companies, using the “comply or explain” model of disclosure. The Global Gender Gap report (2017) of the World Economic Forum found that while women worldwide are closing the gap in critical areas such as health and education, significant gender inequality persists in the workforce and in politics. Given current rates of change, this year’s Global Gender Gap Report estimates it will be another 217 years before we achieve gender parity. In the global context, it is found that the average representation for women at top 20 US MBA programs is currently at 38%. The top 10 schools have 41% women and schools ranked within 10-20 have 32% women. Schools are pushing for greater representation by encouraging more women candidates (The Economic Times, 8 July 2016). The Grant Thornton study on women in leadership roles in businesses found that in emerging Asia Pacific countries while 29% of senior roles are held by women, 26% of businesses have no women in senior roles. China remains above the global average, with a spot in the top ten economies worldwide at 31% of senior roles held by women while India (17%) continues to rank in the bottom ten countries (Women in Business, 2017).
Today, women are almost as likely as men to fill the seats of medical school and law school classrooms. Yet the share of women enrolled in MBA programs hasn’t risen above 37.2 percent in the past decade, according to the more than 100 schools providing full-time MBA enrolment figures in surveys by AACSB International (Natalie Kitroeff, Bloomberg, 17 March 2016). According to Forbes women leaders represent only 25% of senior roles globally. At S&P 500 companies approximately 5.8% of CEO positions are held by women and 19.9% of board seats are filled by women. This means that men hold the power relative to talent and succession (Cindy Wahler, Forbes, 17 Oct 2017). As part of its workforce gap analysis based on LinkedIn data, the World Economic Forum found that the proportion of women hired has remained relatively flat over the past decade. It raises another important question that if the proportion of women in leadership is growing too slowly, and these leadership positions are important for closing the overall economic opportunity gap, it is clear that we need to increase and accelerate female representation at the highest level. The study found a b correlation between the representation of women in leadership positions in a given industry and hiring rates for additional women leaders. The Global Gender Gap Report clearly indicates that though significant progress has been made over the past decade, we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to economic participation of women. Encouraging more female leadership is one of the levers for increasing gender equality in the workforce.
The presence of women in top management of businesses is obviously more encouraging in Canada than in India. The challenge therefore is to study this phenomenon in depth from three angles: comparative national policies on women and education, corporate response to gender diversity and the presence women students in top management schools in the country. The underlying questions might be: Are women attracted by different things or choosing different pathways? In India it is a matter of great concern that at a time when the government is trying to take steps to include more women in corporate boards, the number of women at B-schools is actually going down. Can our business schools work with companies to build a pipeline of highly qualified women through specific academia-industry partnerships? A comparative study of the policies and initiatives in India and Canada with respect to increasing the number of women in management of businesses and the way the issue is addressed at policy level and in the academia will have very important lessons to learn for both for ensuring gender diversity in corporate world.
Against this backdrop an India-Canada collaborative research project has been undertaken with the following objectives:
a. To understand the trends in enrolment of women students in top management schools in India and Canada.
b. To examine the challenges and issues concerning lack of gender diversity in management classrooms as seen through the stakeholders.
c. To understand the corporate sector’s attitude and response in both the countries towards women in top management roles though a survey of industry.
d. To undertake a review of various gender related policies of the governments in India and Canada with reference to women, corporate management and higher education.
e. To make specific policy recommendations for the consideration of the governments, educational administrators and corporate sector to increase the number of women in top management
Prof K M Baharul Islam (Professor and Chairperson, Center for Public Policy & Government, Indian Institute of Management Kashipur) is leading the project along with Prof Rupa Banerjee (Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. Ted Rogers School of Business Management, Ryerson University).