New Delhi: Shivshankar Menon, Former National Security Advisor and Chair of Centre for China Studies at Ashoka University addressed the closing ceremony of the China India Visiting Fellowship (CIVS), which was held at India Habitat Centre recently. The fellows who worked on comparative studies between India and China presented their papers ranging on topics under the theme of Economics and Development including Climate Change, Urbanization, Labour and Economy, Housing Public Procurement, Fiscal Federalism and EdTech. The event was also graced by senior experts such as Ambassador Shyam Saran, Suhasini Haidar, Shailesh Pathak, and representatives from different think tanks, and academia.
According to Ambassador Shivshankar Menon, “The China India Visiting Scholarships are designed to give scholars an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of developments in their own field relating to China and India-China relations, and to make cross-cultural comparisons. I am delighted that the first cohort of scholars have used the scholarships so profitably, realising our hopes for CIVS, despite the trying and unique circumstances in the last year. They, and their mentors, deserve our congratulations and best wishes for the future. They have set a high standard that we hope to continue to meet in the future.”
The fellows, who represent reputed institutions such as IIM Calcutta, IIT Delhi, TERI, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Tata Sons, Institute of Chinese Studies and Jawaharlal Nehru University, among others, have expanded the body of quality scholarship on China in India. At a time when such collaboration and scholarship is ever more crucial, their research on priority areas of socio-economic development that are relevant to India’s growth aspirations will serve as a valuable and timely contribution.
“The CIVS fellowship gave me the opportunity to examine the gig economy within the context of a global pandemic in India and China and understand how algorithmic governance was used to scale up company revenues in both countries, while trapping delivery workers in a ‘sophisticated labour control system’. The insights from my research, I hope, will be used to direct effective public policies framed through meaningful interactions among delivery workers, government, platforms, and customers,” said Sowmiya Ashok, an independent journalist who was a part of the founding cohort.
Aditi Bhutoria, Assistant professor, IIM Calcutta recounted her journey of CIVS. She said “China and India have a growing influence on other developing economies through trade, investment, and ideas in a globalized world. The CIVS fellowship experience helps to delineate these influences and interactions between the countries through seminars, workshops, topic-specific interactions, mentorship, peer-reviews, and provision of structured learning materials that are carefully curated for evidence-based analysis. I had an enriching experience working on my research study to understand the opportunities and challenges around the access and adoption of Education Technology (EdTech) across China and India through the fellowship.”
On the other hand, the fellowship also had scholars who had prior knowledge of China and wished to deepen their research and network – “I had visited China earlier and had been wanting to study it in greater detail. The CIVS programme was very helpful in providing me with the resources to do that. The programme is designed to not just mentor those who are working on China-related issues, but also generate a much-needed interest in the regional research. In that sense, CIVS is playing an important role in advancing a diverse geo-political understanding of our own world,” said Yugank Goyal, Associate Professor, FLAME University.
The China India Visiting Scholars Fellowship was created in partnership with Asian Century Foundation with the intention of bringing together some of the best minds of the two countries to study issues of common and mutual benefit. It is an opportunity for academics, policy experts, and professionals to develop a deeper understanding of China’s development experience across various fields. The 9-month fellowship provides up to 15 fellows each year with a grant of INR 350,000 to collaborate with an International China Scholar and produce comparative work within the domain of Economics and Development. The second cohort of the fellowship begun earlier in August.