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Union Budget 2016-17 has clearly come out with greater focus on quality of higher education in the country. Handful of new schemes, both for Higher Education and Skill Development, testify government’s commitment towards leveraging the demographic dividend of this country. With a meager increase of 1368 crores in school education budget, one may conclude that school education has received lesser attention in terms of new budgetary provisions or schemes in Budget 2016-17.

This paper presents case studies of two tribal villages - Mendha Lekha and Jamguda - successfully running forest-based bamboo businesses under the community forest rights provisions of Forest Rights Act (2006). We have documented the issues faced by the villagers in claiming community forest rights, issues faced in harvesting and sale of bamboo, and business practices adopted by both the villages.

With an aim to skill over 500 million Indians by 2022, #SkillIndia is avery ambitious project. What is the role of government in skilling the youth? Howdo we ensure that there is a match between the skills youth need, the demandsof the market, and the skill training being provided?

What are the core reasons for issues that exist in our school education system? Is it infrastructure? If it is infrastructure, why did we not see improvements in learning outcomes though the status of infrastructure has improved? Is it lack of motivated people? If that is the case, what is the reason for this lack of motivation: Are passionate people not entering the sector or are they losing their motivation after becoming part of the system? We held a tweetchat, hosted by Karthik Dinne (@dkarthik), author of UnpackED: The black box of Indian school education reform to discuss this critical question.

Lok Sabha TV made a special program on school admission in light of the decision by Delhi State Government to scrap management quota. The program was aired on 16 January 2016. The program documents the school admission process and the challenges therein. It also takes opinion from experts on whether Delhi Government's step would solve the challenges faced by parents or not.

The proponents of Free Basics say that it is a step to extend connectivity to the poor. Equally strong arguments from the opposing side say that it is a corporate ploy to compartmentalise the internet. Should we support Free Basics, and is it a step in the right direction? We hosted a tweetchat to understand the varying perspectives people have on this issue.

Centre for Civil Society (CCS) and National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) take great pleasure in inviting you to the 7th School Choice National Conference (SCNC) on 19th December 2015 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from 9:30am – 6:00pm.

Tabled by V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, in Lok Sabha in December 2011, The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 was a proposed Indian central legislation which lapsed due to dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. This paper enumerates the provisions of the Bill, its obligations and its organizational structure and further enlists areas of dichotomy or possible loopholes after a systematic review of the bill. A comparative analysis of provisions of the Act as implemented across the 19 states is then taken up to find out differences to the approach of the act in various states. The paper further examines how internal and external models have lacked due to incidents of absenteeism, corruption and outreach and assesses the challenges faced by the upcoming e-governance models.

Dr Shashi Tharoor to address the conference ‘Liberalism in India’ and pay tribute to the liberal giant, SV Raju. Surjit Bhalla, R Jagannathan, J P Narayan, Jaithirth Rao to present papers on reservations, religious freedom, decentralization.