Various Media | 21 November 2016
Leading think-tank Centre for Civil Society in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom launched a Festschrift titled 'Liberalism in India: Past, Present and Future' in honour of Late S. V. Raju, a politician and one of India's strongest liberal voices.
The book launch was preceded by a day-long conference featuring prominent Indian economists and public intellectuals such as author and public intellectual Gurcharan Das; founder and chairman, Central Square Foundation Ashish Dhawan; eminent economist Deepak Lal; Lok Satta Party founder J.P. Narayan; Founder & Former CEO, MphasiS Jaithirth Rao among others.
Liberalism in India: Past, Present and Future features fifteen essays from eminent sector experts, and policy advisors, and is a key document for visualising the future of liberal movement in India, said a press statement issued by Centre for Civil Society.
Editor of the book Parth J. Shah, president, Centre for Civil Society, highlighted the evolution of the project, which was conceptualised as a roadmap for liberal policy-making, and touches upon enduring and emerging social issues as religious freedom, social security, reservations, decentralization, and security in radically networked societies.
Affirming the roots of Indian liberal thought, contributor to the volume, Sengupta noted, "Liberalism and plurality is in our history, and it is our future." He stressed the "need to think outside of echo chambers which include people like us."
Arguing for decentralisation, contributor to the volume Jayaprakash Narayan said, "Pragmatism demands we devolve power to local levels to sustain a common market" and that "we have created over-structured, underpowered, and irrelevant local governments."
Deepak Lal noted that "the most important thing for India is economic liberalism, which would be in support of Panchayati Raj".
Some of the interesting ideas and solutions proposed during the conference included revoking the welfare state and to end bureaucracy.
Enumerating solutions for unemployment and self-reliance, sustenance and selfhood, Parth J. Shah ideated about providing moral and spiritual support to the unemployed, apart from material assistance. He proposed a new model for direct citizen tax allocations, where each individual could segregate a portion of his tax dues to causes and organisations she believes in.