Contemporary Odisha presents many interesting facets for the researchers. A credible growth rate, good track record as far as good governance strategy is concerned, successful strategy in tackling disasters are some of its biggest achievements. But at the same time, high growth rate is not matched with expectations on development. Still children are malnourished, distressed migration rate is very high and a defective mining and development policy have made people to wonder whether we have achieved anything in the last twenty years or so. There are many areas where we have not achieved in substantial terms. If we look at millennium development goals, Odisha is far behind many other states in India.

The purpose of this international conference is to explore and debate ideas and concepts that are going to shape next twenty years of Odisha. It may be recalled that Odisha became an independent linguistic state in the year 1936. So in hundred years what we have achieved is the question that the next generation will demand from us. 2017 is a good time to review all these aspects and prepare a road map for a bright and prosperous Odisha. The broad objective of this conference is to deliberate issues where we have scope for improvement and highlight issues where we have to tell the rest of the world to learn from us. It is not that we have not achieved anything. The way we have managed our disasters is something that the rest of the states have to learn from us. Similarly, there are many issues where we need to learn from others. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu are way ahead of us in terms of health, education and other human development indicators. This clearly suggests that Odisha needs clear strategy to prepare itself as a developed state by 2036. In terms of human development indicators, Odisha ranks around 22 out of 29 states. Child mortality rate is very high and more importantly education has become a low priority in the state. The above problems need special attention. The purpose of this conference is to bring scholars across the globe who are working on various themes relating to Odisha to deliberate and chalk out a clear-cut strategy to think about the future.

This conference proposes to discuss ideas regarding Odishas role in global trade and economy. Ancient Odisha was known for its flourishing maritime business. Its trade relationship with some of the nations like Bali, Sumatra, Indonesia are well documented. So in a expansive global economy where Odisha would like to stand? Can it get back its ancient glory? Can we think of an export based economy which will enhance Odishas credibility as a performing system? Handloom sector is still struggling in Odisha. Tourism sector has not developed as it should have been? These are the two key sectors where there are opportunities to interact with global audience. There are areas like migration, maternal health, malnutrition, large scale unemployment which we need to give special attention.

Apart from this important issue, the conference would also discuss how government and governance is being carried out, how they are addressing issues of corruption and quick delivery. Why a particular party is in power for more than seventeen years? Does it signify better governance strategy or better political leadership or is it something to do with lack of powerful opposition? Similarly, in last twenty years, the discontent among the tribal people and other marginalised groups have increased manifold and they are more frequently challenging the oppressive nature of state in Odisha. Whether this is an indication that growth and development in Odisha is one-dimensional and exclusive or they are just opposing for the sake of opposition. The nature of social movements have undergone changes and it is important to mention here that Odisha is one of the few states where social activism in Gandhian way has some success to their credit. But how it is going to shape in the next twenty years is a question which the conference would like to deliberate.

The conference would also like to deliberate how political ideas evolved in Odisha since 1936. The famous congress system has never worked here. The socialists and the erstwhile kings and their political outfit GanatantraParishad have initially dominated the political discourse in Odisha. So it is always interesting to study Odisha politics and how political ideas has evolved in Odisha since 1936. The conference would make a modest attempt to discuss this aspect of Odisha politics.