THE INDIA International Centre, New Delhi, has a reputation as a meeting point for prominent citizens from different walks of life to congregate and discuss current and emerging issues. Recognizing the need for a similar forum in Chennai, Lakshminarayanan of Cognizant, Gopal Srinivasan of TVS, M S Srinivasan, IAS (Retd) and several other prominent Chennai icons have promoted the Chennai International Centre (CIC).
CIC started with a bang, presenting Nandan Nilekani for its first lecture on 29 July. Two talks have been scheduled for August: T M Krishna in conversation with Gopalakrishna Gandhi and Dr. Mukund Rajan of Tata Sons. The Madras School of Economics, Kotturpuram provides the space for the CIC meetings.
Chennai is known for such intellectual discussions. Remember Lakshmipuram Young Men’s Association presenting scholars from different walks of life to address on topical issues? Chambers of Commerce, well endowed with resources, focus on servicing their members. The Rajaji Centre for Public Affairs, the Institute for Economic Education, the Triplicane Cultural Academy, etc. have been organizing such lectures as well but they suffer lack; of resources necessary to sustain these activities at a much higher level.
CIC, promoted by wealthy intellectuals, seems to have started on better auspices with handsome subscriptions and better prospects for raising resources. Srinivasan said 250 members have been enrolled and another 175 applications are under process. CIC plans to construct its own building within two years.
CIC has the potential to evolve as a think tank to provide inputs to policymakers on better and more efficient governance. IE wishes CIC to take roots quickly.