Date: 2-3 February 2019
We piloted the first edition of our certificate course in the Politics of Development (POD) in Gurgaon on 2-3rd February with 75 students and young professionals. Politics of Development or POD is conceptualised as a two-day immersive, residential program focusing on the political challenges to goals of economic development. It explores the intersections of politics and policy and their implications for the nation's development.
The course encouraged participants to question and debate the nature of the State and politics in India through sessions like 'Is there Really a Culture of Poverty in India?', 'To Regulate or Not to Regulate', and 'How Can We Disrupt the Political Marketplace?' among others. Our faculty included policy and development experts such as Barun Mitra, Founder and Director, Liberty Institute; Swaminathan Aiyar, Columnist and Economist, Fellow, Cato Institute; Laveesh Bhandari, Director, Indicus Foundation; Ajay Shah, Professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy; Mohit Satyanand, entrepreneur and Member, Board of Advisors, Centre for Civil Society; JP Narayan, Founder, Lok Satta Party; and Geeta Gouri, Former Member, Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Date: 7th February 2019
Venue: Constitution Club of India
On 7th February the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) organized a Policy Roundtable for parliamentarians on education policy reforms at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. Moderated by Prof Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Chair of Education and International Development, University College London, seven Members of Parliament from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh participated in the roundtable.
The roundtable addressed the relevance of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) as a means of restoring efficiency and transparency in education financing and improving quality, policy frameworks for ensuring student safety in schools and the need for the separate policy for budget private schools (BPS) taking into account the distinct conditions and challenges with which they operate.
Following the roundtable, NISA has been invited to submit a draft of policy recommendations and solutions to the enduring concerns of BPS in India.
Date: 19th February 2019
Venue: Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
On 19th February representatives from the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) met with the Ministry of Human Resource Development to discuss guidelines to secure accountability from school management in the matter of student safety. As the principal voice of Budget Private Schools (BPS) in India, the NISA delegation flagged the concerns faced by BPS vis-a-vis implementation of the guidelines, making a strong case for consulting stakeholders in preparing guidelines so that feasible and implementable solutions can be designed to ensure student safety in schools.
The meeting was chaired by Ms Reena Ray, Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development and attended by other co-petitioners.
In 2018, NISA had submitted a Charter of Demands to the MHRD, voicing the concerns of budget private schools in India.
We successfully piloted our first Massive Online Open Course on Education Policy in partnership with the OP Jindal Global University with 49 students, who graduated in the month of February. The four-week online course on Education Policy was launched to address the enduring lack of comprehensive and accessible training in education policy in India. The course aims to train students in research methods, along with the philosophical, economic, and political aspects of education policy in the Indian context.
The course is designed as a comprehensive training addressing the historical and extant education policy landscape in India, the economics of education, regulatory frameworks and interventions and innovations to catalyse education quality. Our faculty consists of eminent experts and academicians , including Amit Kaushik, CEO, Australian Council for Educational Research (India); Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of Centre for Policy Research; Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society and Gurcharan Das, Author and Former CEO, P&G India, among others.
Date: 13th February 2019
Venue: IIT Madras
On 13th February we conducted Baithak, our monthly policy dialogue at IIT Madras. Dr Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, facilitated the discussion addressing India's job crisis, equating it to an enduring 'entrepreneurship crisis'. Dr Shah also highlighted the role of poor quality of schooling and higher education, and the un-ease of doing business in India, in exacerbating the country's job crisis.
Drawing on CCS' on-going work for the rights and recognition of street vendors, the discussion explored various policy roadblocks thwarting entrepreneurship. For instance, street vendors carry out their trade in public spaces, but since they do not exercise any rights over the land that they carry out their trade in, it makes it difficult for them to expand their businesses'. This lack of property rights for street vendors is symptomatic of the larger roadblock in ease of doing business in India.
To know more about the status of street vendors in India, read our Progress Report: Implementing The Street Vendors Act 2014 here.
Date: 24th February 2019
Venue: Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi
We hosted our annual alumni brunch at Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi on 24th February. 13 alumni participated in the brunch, sharing and learning, with a vibrant discussion on contemporary affairs, the possibilities of liberalism in India and their own trajectories furthering the ideas of freedom.
The brunch is an initiative to stay connected with our liberal champions, the graduates of the various public policy courses organised by CCS over the years. In this informal meet, the graduates discussed their work and interests and how they align with CCS. The alumni were also informed about the new and upcoming programs being launched by CCS, which is in the constant pursuit of spreading liberal ideas by customising our courses to the needs and requirements of different audiences.
Event: Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) National Workshop
Date: 18th January 2019
The workshop, organised by the Deendayal Antyoyadaya-National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) component of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs was a platform to bring relevant state authorities together and to acquaint them with the status of implementation of the Street Vendors Act 2014 in their respective states as per the findings of our Street Vendors Act compliance Index 2018. It was chaired by the Mr Sanjay Kumar, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The State Mission Directors of the 'Support to Urban Street Vendors' group operating under DAY-NULM were present along with delegates from each state.
We presented the findings from our research of compliance of states with the Street Vendors (Protection of Rights and Regulation of Livelihood) Act, 2014. The data received from NULM was used to calculate an index and rank states according to their compliance status for our annual research publication Street Vendors Act Compliance (SVAC) Index which covered 28 states and 2 union territories. Mr Kumar shared his inputs regarding the research methodology and the current status of implementation of the Street Vendors Act across the states.
Our first edition of the Street Vendors Act Compliance Index Report was published in 2017, ranking 23 states on their compliance with the Act. The full report can be found here.
Date: 10th January 2019
A delegation representing the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) met Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister to urge the government to release the reimbursements committed under Section 12 (1) (C) of the Right to Education Act to enable schools to ensure continued learning for students from economically weaker and disadvantaged communities. They also contested the low bar for tax exemption, set at 1 crore for "Not for profit" education societies since it makes the functioning of the budget private schools unviable.
Shri Kulbhushan Sharma, President, NISA; supported by Members of Parliament Shri B Vinod Kumar, Kareemnagar Constituency, Telangana; and Shri Jitender, MP, Andhra Pradesh presented the concerns and enduring challenges faced by private school owners, particularly those of budget private schools that remain dependent on timely reimbursements.
Date: 28th January 2019
We met with Dr Alka Bhargava, Director, National Bamboo Mission and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, on 28th January to understand the enduring gaps in the regulation of bamboo cultivation and trade in India and the impact of the recent 2017 amendment to the Forest Rights Act that declared bamboo to be a grass, not a tree. Dr Bhargava highlighted the immense potential of the sector to transform livelihood opportunities for forest-dwelling marginalised communities and the lack of awareness among both, cultivators and investors as the fundamental factor deterring investments in the sector.
The 2017 amendment has been a big win for our ongoing efforts to free up the regulatory regime for furthering bamboo-based livelihoods in the country. Through our 'Bamboo is not a Tree' campaign, we had advocated for a change in the classification of bamboo from a 'tree' to a 'grass' recognising that the classification of bamboo as a tree had made the resource inaccessible. We have also published a comprehensive study on the state of bamboo regulation in India. Through our continuing advocacy efforts, we seek to showcase human interest stories of change and improved livelihoods made possible by the amendment.
Read more about our work for easing regulatory barriers to bamboo-based livelihoods here.