Date: 25th August 2018
Venue: Centre for Civil Society, Hauz Khas , New Delhi
We launched our first Baithak, on 25th August, with Gurcharan Das speaking on the ideas of desire, individual freedom, and the duty to one’s self. Conceptualised as a space for open dialogue and exchange of ideas, Baithak: Conversations in Policy is our newest initiative that aims to foster continued learning for and conversation with our growing network of alumni around the country. Our first Baithak brought together 25 alumni, engaging with Mr Das.
On this August 15th, we completed 21 years of advancing social change through policy! In these past years, we have been able to successfully reform policy, influence public debates, and build a cadre of young leaders committed to better governance in and for India.
To mark our 21st anniversary, and to celebrate our journey, we brought together our close friends and fellow champions of liberty for an evening of engaging conversations, and some great food! We mapped our 21 year journey through 21 of our most impactful projects on social media, reaching out to over 14,000 people.
Our impactful 21 years - of learning and growing, have only further reinforced our commitment to furthering individual freedom and institutional accountability.
CCS has successfully campaigned for the legitimisation and protection of street vendors through the effective implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. The Act effectively legalizes street vending, demarcates vending zones and makes decentralised Town Vending Committees central to arbitration on vending zones and the eviction of street vendors. In 2017, we also published the first edition of the Street Vendors Act Compliance Index assessing the status of compliance with the Street Vendors Act of 2014 across 23 states.
In a big win for us, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is set to form a 30-member Town Vending Committee (TVC) to identify sites and spaces for vending and hawking in Lutyens' Zone, which will include one member each from the health department, the PWD, the police and the traffic police, two from the revenue department, and six nominated members. The Committee will also have 12 street vendors along with one member from market traders association and three NGO representatives and one Resident Welfare Association (RWA) member.
Download the Street Vendors Act Compliance(SVAC) Index 2017 here.
To know more about our Law, Liberty and Livelihood Campaign, visit www.jeevika.org.
In a landmark decision, the Kerala High Court held that the State Government could not stipulate educational need in a region as a condition for granting ecognition to private schools affiliated to the CBSE or ICSE board. The ruling comes as a respite to private schools, and as a win for our work promoting access to education, especially among low-income communities. Prior to the ruling, even the schools established before the implementation of the RTE (Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009) were denied recognition. The Court stated that while the State government can issue guidelines to implement the statutory provisions of the RTE Act, it has no right under RTE to make rules pertaining to assessment of educational need as a precondition to granting recognition.
CCS has consistently advocated for the review and annulment of arbitrary rules and regulations thwarting access to and undermining the quality of education in India. Through the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), we have successfully built a nationwide platform to bring together budget private schools (BPS) from across the country giving them a unified voice to address their concerns about legislations and bye-laws which apply to them and to facilitate quality improvement in these schools. NISA represents over 55,400 schools, from 20 state associations, which cater to the needs of about 9.35 million children.
To know more about the landscape of budget private schools in India, see our latest report Faces of Budget Private Schools.
This July we took the ipolicy to three cities. 127 participants graduated from the four trainings conducted in partnership with National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and Symbiosis Law School(SLS) Noida and in Pune.
Our faculty included eminent policy experts, practitioners and academicians such as Mohit Satyanand, Member, Board of Advisors, Centre for Civil Society; Parth J Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society; Prashant Narang, Advocate, Supreme Court; Subhashish Gangopadhyay, Research Director, India Development Foundation; Apurv Mishra, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University and Bhargavi Zaveri, Senior Research Associate, IGIDR among others.
Our interactive sessions addressed the themes of 'Making India Rich', ' Public Choice: Benefits and Costs of Collective Action', 'Law and Ethics', 'Rule of Law', 'Politics Without Romance', and 'Free Trade and Comparative Advantage' bringing the principles of sound public policy to the young learners.
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The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) partnered with the Confederation of IndianIndustry (CII), to host the 2018 School Summit – NISA's President Mr Kulbhushan Sharma and Secretary Dr Parth J Shah participated in a panel discussion on the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Education. The Summit was attended by 46 NISA school leaders from 8 different states, and saw a diverse audience bringing together all stakeholders in education, from across the country. Drawing from the discussion on the scope of CSR in transforming education in India, Dr Parth Shah and Mr Kulbhushan Sharma also highlighted the enduring regulatory challenges faced by budget private schools, despite their growing scope and role in improving the access to and quality of education in India.
Read our annual Report on Budget Private Schools in India here.
As a part of the July edition of our monthly policy dialogue with media professionals, we hosted 12 journalists representing prominent regional and national publications like Rashtriya Sahara, Lok Sabha TV, Amar Ujala, and Dainik Jagran among others.The discussion was anchored around the screening of 'The Court' – a marathi legal drama that brings into the spotlight the people who comprise the judicial system, the people who run this system and the structural and human failings in the system.
Drawing from the film, the participants discussed unfriendly or impractical nature and functioning of some public institutions, which are followed by snail speed proceedings and the implications of such delays on the various stakeholders.
The discussion session was steered by Avinash Chandra, Editor Azadi.me and Sanjay Garg, Creator, Centre for Policy Solution.
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Recognising the significance of parental voice in steering policy decisions in education, and its marginal influence in the extant policy-making process in India, the Parents Forum for School Education (PFSE) was established by the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in November 2017. The forum has been conceptualised as a national platform to bring together the parents of students in private schools to advocate for systemic reforms in education.
This July, we conducted nine meetings across five states, reaching out to over 340 parents and engaging them on the concerns of school-level and systemic reforms for quality education. With 340 new members joining the PFSE in July, we now have a membership of 370 parent-leaders. Through trainings and capacity-building for effective advocacy, the forum will mainstream parental voice in education, and nurture the parent-leaders to steer policy reforms that may foster better schools and better learning for their children.
To stay updated about the forum, like our Facebook page!
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This June we took iPolicy - our flagship certificate course in public policy to Bangalore and Mumbai. Conducted from 22-24 June in Bangalore and 29 June-1 July in Mumbai, the two programs were attended by 52 young leaders, who explored the public policy landscape in India with our esteemed faculty. iPolicy aims to introduce young leaders to liberal perspectives in public policy, and equip them with the necessary tools to examine the effectiveness of government policies and regulations.
Our programs offered interactive sessions on a range of themes including the 'Policy landscape in India', 'Decentralisation and Separation of Powers', 'Politics of Public Policy', 'Stakeholder Mapping and RTE Analysis', 'Spontaneous Order and Prices', 'Rule of Law' and more. Our eminent faculty this month included Prasanna Vishwanathan, CEO, Swarajya Magazine; JP Narayan, Founder, Lok Satta Party; Bhargavi Zaveri, Senior Research Associate, IGIDR; Makarand Bakore, Lawyer, Bombay High Court; Shagata Mukherjee, Professor, Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics among others.
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