Never have banking and finance been discussed as keenly as today in the recent history of India. Demonetisation, non-performing assets, bank charges, Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI Bill), cash-less economy, digital payments, payment banks and a host of such economic decisions of the government incited these discussions. And, rightly so. While common people were the ones who were impacted negatively by these decisions, the debates were confined to and were only among the experts and bankers, economists and financial analysts, each one taking a position safeguarding their institutional interests, and never that of the common people.

Apart from being affected by the economic decisions of the government, a large number of people have been impacted by the rapid expansion of developmental projects, be in hydropower, thermal, ports, highways and other infrastructure projects. While in many locations these projects are being opposed for its erroneous social and environmental impact assessments, land acquisition, health hazards and many such, in most of such projects, the lenders to the projects are hardly held accountable.

While investments of National financial institutions – both commercial banks and others, bilateral agencies, multilateral development banks are significant in these sectors, there are a number of other financial mechanisms and tools by which these projects are financed. Hedge funds, bonds, mutual funds, venture capital, debt funding, debenture and many such. Having an understanding and building a perspective about them enable us to engage with them meaningfully.

Daunting technical terms like Speculative Financing, Public-Private Partnerships, Purchasing Power Parity, Growth-led Development Model, Financial Intermediaries, Development Policy Loans, mushrooming Multilateral Development Banks, Environmental Safeguards etc are frequently flooding news feeds across media spaces. The environment of global finance is changing, and yet little effort has been made in public, political and media discourse to understand, debate and deconstruct the intricate and complex relationships these have with political sovereignty, social and economic habitat and environmental concerns from a rights-based perspective.

About the Workshop:

Finance is usually left to the experts, and is looked into in a silo, without looking into the interconnections with various other aspects, which governs our lives. This workshop will introduce different aspects of finance – looking at the fundamental premises on which the world of finance is systematically built, understanding the role of financial institutions beyond lending/banking, addressing the contemporary issues related to finance in India and critically looking at the gaps in governance, transparency and accountability in finance / of financial institutions. The workshop will try and make finance palatable and highlight the integral nature of finance in all walks of our lives.

Specifically, the workshop will try addressing a few questions:

-What is the socio-political context in which the world of finance is thriving?
-What are the sources of finance?
-How does global finance work? Who are the key actors and institutions involved? What is their structure? Who owns them? What role do they play in countries like India? What strings are attached to investments? What are the impacts of global finance sponsored projects?
-What is the changing landscape of national finance? Who are the regulators, what role do they play?
-What are different attempts by people world over to hold banks accountable?
-And, what can we do?

And cover the following topics:

-Money, power & democratic rights
-Financialisation & commodification of services and natural resources
-Intersection of finance, environment, energy, law and governance
-Myths about Finance. How is finance relevant to our lives?
-Understanding sources of Development Finance
-Changing landscape of National Finance
-Making sense of the NPA crisis: the cause, spread & remedy
-Understanding International Financial Institutions as lender, knowledge bank and gatekeepers of development finance.
-Ease of Doing Business ranking as a tool of regression of rights
-Understanding Regulatory Mechanisms and Institutions In India: RBI, SEBI, CAG
-Need and opportunities to hold financial institutions accountable and transparent
-Case studies from different projects
-Group work

Methodology: The module takes an interdisciplinary approach and the sessions are non-technical. No prior training/reading in economics/finance is required. The sessions will be interactive in nature, and will be followed by Q&A and discussions. A set of readings will be provided in advance, reading it in advance will help students follow the sessions better.

Resource Persons:

  • Sucheta Dalal, MoneyLife Foundation, Mumbai
  • Prof Arun Kumar (TBC)
  • Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group, Bangalore
  • Soumya Dutta, India Climate Justice, New Delhi
  • Sreedhar Ramamurthy, Environics Trust New Delhi
  • Himanshu Upadhyaya, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University
  • Manshi Asher, Himdhara, Himachal Pradesh
  • Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  • Gaurau D, Priya D, Maju V, Rajesh Kumar, Anuradha M, Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi


A mix of English and Hindi. The mode of interaction shall involve lectures, group work, group discussions, film and documentary screening.

Program Contribution

We hope that participants would contribute an amount of Rs. 3500 for 4 days towards workshop expenses, inclusive of all onsite workshop costs: boarding, lodging, and all the materials used in the workshop.  Need based partial waivers are available; We have a very limited number of partial waivers so please apply for a waiver only if you really need it. Do remember that there may be others who need it more than you.

To read the full call for application and to apply, please click on this link

Other Details:
Dates and Venue: 11 to 14 September 2018.
Sambhaavnaa Institute, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

Contact: For more information please email:
Whatsapp or Call: Shashank – 889 422 7954

3 Comments, RSS

  • Marjorie Fernandes

    Dear Shashank,
    As I’m not able to get you on the phone, I’m writing this to find out more about the proposed workshop on ‘Demanding Financial Accountability: Kiski Poonji, Kiska Vikas’to be held at Sambhaavnaa Institute from 11th to 15th September 2018. Is this workshop going to be the same as the one you had organized last year? I find the some of the Resource Persons for this year’s workshop are different as compared to those last year and hence the coverage of the workshop is also likely to differ. In such a case, I would be interested in participating in the workshop and hope you’ll accept my application.
    I would be grateful if you’d reply to me soon so that I can finalize my plans for September.
    With kind regards and best wishes,
    M. Fernandes
    (Marjorie Fernandes)

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