16 September 2020—Accessing Knowledge in Times of Covid
CVV-ians spent a fruitful afternoon on 16 September 2020, taking a closer look at the treasure trove of knowledge that is Ubhaya Bharati, the aptly named library of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth. For those who had been missing the shelves lined with volumes waiting to be picked up, the Wednesday Webinar by Dr. P. M. Manoharan Pillai, Assistant Librarian of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, came as a respite.
In a talk aptly titled ‘Optimum use of E- resources available at the CVV Library’, the speaker provided exhaustive information on: 1. Online e-resources at the CVV library; 2. Hard resources at the CVV library; and 3. Open access e-resources. He also demonstrated how to access each of these and elaborated upon the salient features of some of them.
The discussion that followed touched upon a few pertinent questions, especially on open-access journals. The list of resources compiled was also shared with everyone for reference. In these times, when all our academic activities are taking place entirely online, the session was an opportunity for students to learn to access knowledge even in these times of restricted access to most other things.
23 September 2020—Efficiency of Scheduled Commercial Banks in India
The Wednesday Webinar on 23 September 2020 found CVV-ians making the most of an opportunity to learn a little more about the banking system in India, as they listened to Dr. Vinod R. R., Assistant Professor at CVV’s School of Contemporary Knowledge Systems, elaborate on the ‘Efficiency of Scheduled Commercial Banks in India’.
The speaker began with an explanation that over the last three decades, the world over, the banking industry has been undergoing a slew of reforms. The nineties saw a transition in the Indian financial system, from being a centralised social banking system to a more market-oriented banking system. Deregulations of interest rates, licensing of private banks, etc. were all aimed to enhance the efficiency of the banking system by increasing competition and operational autonomy. Now, they are gearing up for its next wave of reforms. The regulator (Reserve Bank of India) has started granting licenses to private players to operate as payment banks, small finance banks, etc. However, the following questions remain unattended: (i) Does higher competition per se, lead to higher efficiency? (ii) If not, what are the environmental imperatives to sustain the competition efficiency relation?
The speaker then proceeded to answer these two questions through a study he had conducted. As in prior literature, this study follows a two-stage approach. In the first stage, efficiencies are measured following the DEA approach. In the second stage, the stated efficiency measures are regressed on a set of internal and external determinants using System GMM. The sample consisted of 38 Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs). The study period was from 1999- 2016, wherein 1999-2004 was termed as ‘Pre-reforms period’ and 2007-2016 as ‘Post-reforms period’. Dr. Vinod presented the results which report that reforms seem to have had a negative impact on efficiency. He concluded that the study finds that no further addition of players can result in enhancing the efficiency of Indian SCBs unless two sunspots (i) investor and (ii) borrower repression (i.e. lack of choice for investors and borrowers) are addressed. Based on the findings, Dr. Vinod recommended that policymakers must focus on creating an ecosystem for banks to offer innovative products and services (to address the investor repression) and also have a vibrant debt market (to address the borrower repression).
The talk was followed by many a participant raising hands-on Zoom to ask follow-up questions. The discussion was lively and added to the listener’s understanding of the issue in focus.
30 September 2020—Law, State, and International Law: Conceptions from Rajasastra
The Wednesday Webinar on 30 September 2020 saw Shri Nithin Ramakrishnan, Assistant Professor of the School of EGCS, at Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, present his ongoing interdisciplinary Ph.D. research being pursued from the Department of Bharatiya Dharshan, Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University. He spoke about his work titled ‘Law, State, and International Law: Conceptions from Rajasastra’, attempted under the guidance of Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi, (Vice Chancellor, KKSU) and Prof. Bismi Gopalakrishnan (HoD, School of Legal thought, M G University).
The researcher began with the first question raised as part of his research on the way we conceptualise global democracy. Positioning himself firmly as an Indian student of International Law, Shri Nithin proposed the use of a method expounded by Patanjali to test the concept and to identify alternative concepts, especially in the Indian context. Thus, the research problem was phrased as—What are the early Indian conceptions of Law, State and International Law before the dawn of European dominion over a large part of the world? What does the Rajasastra speak about these concepts?
The talk then took the listeners through the relevance and need of the study, a review of related Literature to anchor the work in, the points of deviation from the standpoints of scholars who have attempted to theorise Dharma and Niti, the justification for choosing Shanti Parva as the central text, the methodology adopted, the assumptions and hypotheses, the expected outcomes, the working models, and lastly, the tentative structure and flow of the thesis. Two notable points of discussions were—1. How do we conceptualise a system of law and governance in ancient polity which is mentioned in Shanti Parva? 2. ‘Law’ is essentially different from the concepts of Dharma, Niyama, Niti, and Nyaya and these concepts operating in conjunction may lead us to a conception of ‘Law’ conceivable from the text Shanti Parva.
The presentation was followed by an engaging discussion which was almost as long, with many interesting observations, constructive feedback, and pertinent questions. This latter part of the session was also immensely beneficial for those at various stages of their Ph.D. research.