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Baithak: Conversations in Policy

Event Date: 31 Aug To 15 Dec 2019; Time: 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Venue: Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad

Register now for Baithak: Conversations in Policy


Last year at CCS Academy, we curated a platform for CCS alumni, young students and professionals to engage in themes and discussions around public policy; now popularly called Baithak: Conversations in Policy. Baithaks follow an open group discussion format where the speaker is also the moderator of the debate, the principal guide and the facilitator of free flow of information among all the participants.


The idea of Baithak is to give a platform to all CCS graduates and potential course participants to come together for a discussion on contemporary socio-cultural and economic issues in the presence of prominent voices from the liberal movement in India. Its objective is to create a knowledge ecosystem, impacting the policy space in India at large.

Topic Program Date Venue, City  
India's State Capacity 31 August 2019 A-69, Hauz Khas, New Delhi (CCS Office)
The Role of Markets in Environmental Conservation 01 September 2019 Dialogues Cafe, J P Nagar, Bengaluru
Ruling and Contested Imaginations of Data Sovereignty in India 15 September 2019 Dialogues Cafe, J P Nagar, Bengaluru

For details contact: Shivang Raina (Shivang Raina)

Law and Liberty Conference, 2019

Event Date: 19 Aug To 20 Aug 2019; Time: 10:00 AM onwards
Venue: Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics

About the Program

Each year, the Law and Liberty Conference highlights emerging concerns in the domain of individual liberty, and the legal and regulatory frameworks which enable the flourishing of a liberal society.

Centre for Civil Society hosted its first Law and Liberty Conference in partnership with the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies in 2015 and held its second edition in 2017. The conferences aim to provide a platform for liberal perspectives on legal concerns, develop a liberal critique of the extant juridical discourse and to build a network of legal practitioners, scholars and students to promote the cause of liberty.

This year, the LLC is based on the overarching theme of 'Legal Foundations of a Free Society'. The conference aims to explore the importance of government regulations in enabling societal growth and progress, and the importance of economic freedom in creating a free society.

Program Highlights:

  • Four panels covering spheres economic, civil, and personal liberties
  • Expert speakers providing a variety of perspectives, from academia, governance, and legal practice.
  • Join over 70 of the best law students in the country in a constructive legal discourse

Hosted by the Centre for Civil Society in association with Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

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Shruti Rajagopalan (Keynote Speaker)

Shruti Rajagopalan is an Assistant Professor of Economics at State University of New York, Purchase College and a Fellow at the Classical Liberal Institute at the New York University School of Law.

She earned her Ph.D. in economics in 2013 from George Mason University. She has a BA (Hons) Economics and LL.B. from University of Delhi; and an LL.M. from the European Masters in Law and Economics Program at University of Hamburg, Ghent University, and University of Bologna.

Shruti's broad area of interest is the economic analysis of comparative legal and political systems. Her research interests specifically include law and economics, public choice theory, and constitutional economics. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, law reviews, and books. She also enjoys writing in the popular press and has a fortnightly column called The Impartial Spectator in the Indian financial paper Mint and has also published opinion editorials on Indian political economy in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Wire, The Hindu: Business Line, and The Indian Express.

Panel 1 - Competition Law and IP: Welfare, but for Whom?

Dr. Geeta Gouri

Dr. Geeta Gouri, former Member of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), is an economist with 15 years of experience working as a Regulatory Economist. She served as Member (Economics) at the CCI for 5 years and prior to that as Director (Tariffs) at the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission. This unique experience gives her the privilege of being perhaps the only economist in India to be associated with the premiering of the two commissions, which ushered competition and markets reforms in the economy. Dr. Gouri has published extensively and delivered lectures on a wide range of subjects; "Pricing for Welfare; Petroleum Products in India"; "Privatization and Public Enterprise: The Asia-Pacific Experience" (edited); "Towards Equity: New Economic Policy and Equity" (edited).

Dr. Rahul Singh

Rahul Singh is currently (senior) Associate Professor of Law & Director of the Institute of Competition Law and Economics at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU). Professor Singh teaches competition law-and-economics, regulation, WTO and jurisprudence. As a visiting professor, he has lectured at Harvard Law School (USA), University of California at Berkeley (USA), University of Florida Levin College of Law (USA), University of Oxford (UK), Deakin University (Australia) and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (India).

Professor Singh has been nominated by the Chief Justice of the Singapore Supreme Court to serve as a member of the governing board of the Asian Business Law Institute, Singapore Academy of Law. He is a member of the Competition Commission of India's Advisory Committee on Regulation. Professor Singh's law review articles on competition law are available on Westlaw and have been cited by the Chief Justice of the Australian apex court. He is also a consultant for several law firms, state owned entities and corporate houses.

Prof. Sajid Sheikh

Sajid Sheikh is an Assistant Professor (Law) and Assistant Registrar (Academic) at the Mumbai National Law University. He obtained his LL.M. (Hons.) specializing in Intellectual Property Rights from National Law University, Jodhpur and is pursuing his Ph.D. from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. He has numerous contributions to various domestic and international law journals on various aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. He has also conducted workshops on Intellectual Property Rights at various institutions including but not limited to the Department of Science & Technology, Jammu & Kashmir Government, and NLSIU Bangalore.

Panel 2 - Society in the Internet age: Balancing Security vis-a-vis Privacy Rights

Nikhil Pahwa

Nikhil Pahwa is the Founder and Editor of MediaNama, a leading publication chronicling the growth of India's digital ecosystem. He is a TED Fellow, and co-founded the campaign for Net Neutrality in India, which was the largest grassroots campaign in the history of India, with over a million people participating. He was also the co-founder and Chairman of the Internet Freedom Foundation, which focuses on advocacy for an open Internet in India. Nikhil has been a part of initiatives which helped declare unconstitutional, Section 66A of India's IT Act, which had led to people being jailed for what comments on Facebook; and the watering down of Section 79A, which had led to censorship of speech online.

At present, Nikhil is a part of initiatives to fix Aadhaar, the world's largest biometric identity database, covering over 1.19 billion Indians, in a manner that protects privacy and agency for Indians. He is also working on initiatives that help simplify complex tech policy discussions for citizens, and believes that active citizen participation is necessary for driving meaningful and inclusive change.

Semanti Choudhury

Professor Choudhury had completed her graduation in B.A. LLB. (Hons.) from West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata in 2009. Between 2009 and 2013, she had worked at two leading law firms at their Mumbai office, where she was involved in the regulatory practice team as well as project finance transactions during the brief stint at the firms.

In 2013, she shifted gears with an inclination to join academics. She had completed her LLM with specialization in Corporate and Commercial Laws from National Law University Odisha, Cuttack in 2014, and was the gold medalist of her batch. After clearing UGC- NET in 2014, Professor Choudhury joined as Assistant Professor at Symbiosis Law School, Pune from March, 2015. At Symbiosis, Professor Choudhury teaches various subjects including Jurisprudence, Contract Law, International Trade Law, Corporate Law, Investment Law to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. In addition, her areas of research include international trade, consumer protection, competition law, securities law and health law. Professor Choudhury was also instrumental in drafting the application for empanelment of SLS, Pune under the CCI Advocacy programme for which she had analyzed the effect of certain provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 on competition in the relevant market.

Apar Gupta

Mr. Apar Gupta, is a lawyer and the executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF). He completed his post-graduate studies from the Columbia University School of Law and has practised for more than a decade. From 2015, he has been working extensively on public interest issues which include strategic litigation and organisation of campaigns and collectives. In courts, his work as a lawyer includes key digital rights cases on privacy and censorship. Beyond court work he has worked extensively with activists and government institutions in public campaigns to advance net neutrality, reform defamation laws, fight against internet shutdowns and introduce a strong privacy statute.

Murali Neelakantan

Mr. Murali Neelakantan is a dual qualified (English solicitor and Indian advocate) with over 2 decades of experience in advising on international transactions in a wide variety of sectors. He was previously a senior equity partner at Ashurst in London and subsequently a senior partner at Khaitan & Co. He joined Cipla in 2013 as its first Global General Counsel and subsequently was Executive Director and Global General Counsel at Glenmark. He is currently Principal at Amicus where he provides legal and policy advice, and an independent director on the board of TTK Prestige, India's largest kitchen appliances company. He has recently written series of articles on the national health Stack, DNA Bill and healthcare policy for BloombergQuint.

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Application Fees: 1,000/- (which shall cover food and course materials for the entire duration of the program.) [Limited merit-based scholarships are avaliable]
Application Deadline: 21st July 2019
Conference Dates: 19-20 August, 2019

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For details contact: Utkarsh Khare ( or Sourya Banerjee ( | 91 8174901422/ 91 9848281402.

Politics of Development | New Delhi

Event Date: 19 Jul To 21 Jul 2019; Time: 10AM - 6PM
Venue: GD Goenka University

 Politics of Development or POD | 2019

About the Program

India has proved its ability to break through the global economy by joining the ranks of the fastest growing economies in the world. Yet, despite 71 years of political independence our nation still faces major concerns and challenges such as endemic poverty and sporadic development. Politics of Development (PoD) is a three-day residential certificate course that explains the root causes of such issues and explores solutions for the same. At PoD, participants will get a chance to explore what it means to 'do development differently' and what role public policy can play in solving social and economic issues plaguing our nation.

The course involves a variety of interactive learning methods, including dynamic games and role plays, lectures, documentary screening, discussions and personal reflections to provide participants with opportunities to explore and share ideas in an open space.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Recognize how institutions determine outcomes through influencing behavior of rational actors by structuring their incentives
  • Evaluate how institutional arrangements that promote competition in both political and economic markets lead to better outcomes for citizens
  • Understand that public policy is the most effective means of achieving sustainable social change

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Course Schedule

DAY 0 | 19 July 2019

  • 14:30 - 15:00 | Registration
  • 15:00 - 16:00 | Welcome and Introduction
  • 16:00 - 17:30 | Social Change and Public Policy
  • 17:30 - 18:00 | Break
  • 18:00 - 20:00 | Public Choice: Benefits & Costs of Collective Action
  • 20:00 - 21:00 | Dinner

DAY 1 | 20 July 2019

  • 09:00 - 11:00 | New Education Policy: Choice and Competition in Education
  • 11:00 - 11:30 | Break
  • 11:30 - 13:00 | State of India's Agriculture: A Case for a New Farmer's Manifesto
  • 13:00 - 14:00 | Lunch
  • 14:00 - 15:30 | Socratic Reading: The Terracotta vs. Green Vision
  • 15:30 - 16:00 | Break
  • 16:00 - 17:30 | The Jobs Crisis in India
  • 17:30 - 18:15 | Break
  • 18:15 - 19:30 | Not a Zero-Sum Game: Activity
  • 20:30 - 21:30 | Dinner

DAY 2 | 21 July 2019 | Politics of Prosperity

  • 09:00 – 11:30 | Socratic Reading: Doing Development Differently & Activity
  • 11:30 - 12:00 | Break
  • 12:00 - 13:30 | Reform Agenda for Modi 2.0
  • 13:30 - 15:00 | Lunch & Check Out
  • 15:00 - 16:30 | Decentralization: Solving Local Problems Locally
  • 16:30 - 17:30 | Feedback & The Way Forward
  • 17:00 - 18:00 | Closing & Graduation

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Who Can Apply?

We are looking to engage with a diverse group of students and young professionals, therefore applicants only need to meet an age criterion of falling in the age group of 18-35 years.

Selection Process & Fees

  • Interested candidates will have to fill a short application form and will be shortlisted based on the quality of their application.
  • Applicants will be shortlisted on a rolling basis so applying sooner will increase chances as seats are limited
  • The fee covers accommodation, food and program material for three days. The fee would also involve shuttle services from Huda City Centre and GD Goenka School, Vasant Kunj to the venue and back on the first and last day.

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Swaminathan Aiyar (Keynote Speaker)

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar is an Indian journalist and columnist. He is a consulting editor for the Economic Times and was formerly Editor of two of India's biggest economic dailies, Financial Express from 1988-90 and The Economic Times from 1992-94. He is also a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and the elder brother of Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is a senior Congress leader.

Barun Mitra

Barun is the founder and director of the Liberty Institute,, a nonprofit, independent public policy research and advocacy organization, based in New Delhi, India. Liberty Institute is dedicated to enhancing individual freedom in economic and political domains. Among the recognition the Institute has received was the Templeton Award for social entrepreneurship in 2003. Barun Mitra also received the 2005 Julian L. Simon Award for his contribution in environmental policy debates from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Amit Kaushik

Amit Kaushik was a civil servant for 20 years, joining the Indian Railway Accounts Service in 1987. During his time in the service, he held a variety of challenging assignments, including as Director in the Ministry of HRD, Government of India, where he was associated with the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), as well as the drafting of the Right to Education Act. He has consulted widely, with multilateral agencies like UNESCO and UNICEF, and has extensive experience of educational planning in India and other developing countries.

Since leaving government, he has worked with organisations like SRF, the NGO Pratham, Educomp Schools and IPE Global. He is currently the CEO at the Australian Council for Educational Research (India).

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Grad Says

Archita Das, works at NCERT

"PoD has been an enriching experience. It has encouraged me to look at things from a liberal and rational point of view. Instead of looking at the state as a provider of everything, the course has encouraged me to look at every human as a self-interest maximising individual and how incentives in the free market can help achieve the optimal outcome."

Mohammed Iqbal Omar, UG Pol Science, University of Essex

It has helped me rethink incentives and using them to achieve the required outcomes. It has also helped me rethink the role of a State and the need for libertarian values in the same.

Aakriti Kandoi, UG Pol Science, DU

I was more of a person who spoke about the problem but could never give a solution. This course helped me challenge that and work towards finding solutions. It also helped me think critically about those problems

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Early Bird Deadline: 30th June 2019
(Program Fee: Rs 3,500/-)

Final Application deadline: 07th July 2019
(Program Fee: Rs 4,000/-)

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Fee includes food, accommodation, transport from Huda City Centre to the venue on first and last day, and learning material.

Liberty and Society Seminar 2019

Event Date: 11 Jul To 14 Jul 2019; Time: 10:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Venue: Goa

About the Program

At CCS Academy, we are pleased to announce the roll-out of the Liberty and Society Seminar (LSS) for all CCS graduates from the 11th to the 14th of July, 2019.

This advanced course is a four day immersive residential program, strictly aimed at those who have attended one or more of our programs in the past, the ones who are sympathetic toward and curious about the ideas of liberty, choice and accountability. The program will engage students and young professionals in vital issues of public policy, involving them in creating a new vision for India, and ultimately helping them become more aware and responsible citizens.

Why should you apply?

LSS is for you if you wish to deepen your understanding of public policy and classical liberal ideas, and their application in today's world. As a participant, you will also get to share your journey as a CCS graduate among other open minded, enthusiastic and concerned youth to become active change agents, and interact with prominent voices from the policy space in India.

When and where will it be held?

Date - 11-14 July, 2019
Venue - Goa

Are you eligible for the program?

You are eligible to apply for the program if you have attended one or more of our programs (Liberty & Society Seminar, I, Society and Public Policy, ìpolicy, RR Internship, Colloquium, Credit Course, Politics of Development, and Lex Policy) or have been/are a Students For Liberty Leader.

  • Step 1
    • There is a written application form you will need to fill. The last date of submission is 23rd June, 2019.
  • Step 2
    • Basis the merit of your application form, we will schedule an in-person/telephonic interview with you.
  • Step 3
    • All participants will be informed on a rolling basis about the status of their application. Please note that only selected participants will be informed about the future of their candidacy.

How much will it cost?

INR 4,000*

*Limited scholarships available based on the merit of the application.

The program fee covers accommodation, food, and course materials for the entire duration of the program.

Course Vision

The program will provide participants with a greater understanding of the larger world - society, economy, and culture - within a liberal framework, which emphasizes limited government, individual rights, rule of law, free trade and competitive markets.

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For details contact: Shivang Raina (

Course Schedule

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

  • 19:00 | History of communism, 'The Soviet Story' | Documentary

Thursday, July 11, 2019 | The foundations of liberalism

  • 08:00 | Breakfast
  • 09:00 | What is good in the world today?
  • 09:30 | Liberalism in India | Parth Shah
  • 11:00 | Break
  • 11:30 | Property and rule of law | Baladevan Rangaraju
  • 12:30 | Lunch
  • 14:00 | Socratic Seminar
  • 15:30 | Break
  • 16:30 | Economic Reasoning for Public Policy | Anupam Manur
    Freeing our farmers | Parth Shah
  • 18:00 | Break
  • 18:30 | Socialism kills: The human cost of delayed reform | Swaminathan Aiyar

Friday, July 12, 2019 | Development challenges

  • 08:00 | Breakfast
  • 09:00 | The jobs crisis | Anupam Manur
  • 10:30 | Break
  • 11:00 | Right to Education: One step forward, two steps back | Baladevan Rangaraju (Activity based)
    Caste | Swaminathan Aiyar
  • 13:00 | Lunch
  • 14:30 | Sex drugs and rock n roll | Bhuvana
  • 16:00 | Break
  • 16:30 | Market friendly financial regulation | Renuka Sane
  • 18:00 | Break
  • 18:30 | Open Spaces - I

Saturday, July 13, 2019 | The market society

  • 08:00 | Breakfast
  • 09:00 | How is wealth created? Trade is Not A Zero Sum Game | Bhuvana Anand
  • 10:30 | Break
  • 11:00 | Open borders: the under-rated antidote to global poverty | Neeraj Kaushal
    Pension Reform | Renuka Sane
  • 12:30 | Lunch
  • 14:00 | Socratic seminar
  • 15:30 | Break
  • 16:30 | The morality of capitalism | Swaminathan Aiyar
  • 18:00 | Break

Sunday, July 14, 2019 | Reflection

  • 08:00 | Breakfast
  • 09:00 | Agents of change | Miniya Chatterjee
  • 10:30 | Break
  • 11:00 | Policy Debate
  • 13:00 | Lunch
  • 14:00 | Open Spaces - II
  • 15:30 | Social change through ideas | Bhuvana
  • 17:00 | Departure

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Meet the Speakers

Parth Shah

Parth's research and advocacy work focus on the themes of economic freedom (law, liberty and livelihood campaign), choice and competition in education (fund students, not schools), property rights approach for the environment (terracotta vision of stewardship), and good governance (new public management and the duty to publish). He has published extensively in international and Indian journals, on various topics from currency regulation to education policy. He holds a PhD in Economics from Auburn University, and taught at the University of Michigan.

Baladevan Rangaraju

Baladevan Rangaraju is the Founder Director of India Institute. He is a social entrepreneur with extensive experience in research, advocacy, community engagement, campaigns, organization building and education leadership. He is the author of The Private School Revolution in Bihar: Findings from a survey in Patna Urban (with James Tooley and Pauline Dixon), India's first landscape study of the school market in a city. His pioneering use of GPS technology to measure private school popularity provided new information on school distribution and enrollment patterns – data that helped the state review its regulatory policies. The study won the global Templeton Freedom Award in 2012.

Renuka Sane

Renuka Sane is an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). Her research interests are in household finance, especially on household choice in financial instruments such as credit, pensions, insurance and equity markets, as well as consumer protection in finance. She is also interested in research and policy on the criminal justice system in India.

Bhuvana Anand

Bhuvana Anand is a governance and public policy specialist. She has worked with various donors and civil society organisations in Sudan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India and the United States, in policy advocacy, managing multi-pronged programs and research. She previously worked with the United Nations, the British Government's Department for International Development, and MIT's Poverty Action Lab.

Anupam Manur

Anupam Manur is an Assistant Professor at the Takshashila Institution. He was previously working as a Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore, after completing his Masters in International Business (Economics) from Lancaster University.

His research interests lie at the intersection of economics, technology, and public policy. He is currently working on platform economics, India's ongoing jobs crisis, digital payments, and the New World Order. He has published several editorials in the Mint, Financial Express, The Hindu, NDTV, Scroll, Deccan Herald, Bloomberg Quint, AsiaGlobal Online and others. He has also edited three books under the Takshashila Institution Press.

Anupam teaches economic reasoning and macroeconomics in all of Takshashila's public policy programmes and is responsible for designing the curriculum for the educational programmes.

Swaminathan Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar is an Indian journalist and columnist. He is consulting editor for the Economic Times and writes regularly for the Economic Times and The Times of India. He is also a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute

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Baithak: Conversations in Policy

Event Date: 30 Jun 2019; Time: 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Venue: Shoonya - Centre for Art and Somatic Practices, 4th Floor, Rear Wing, Brahmananda Court #37, Lalbagh Road Bangalore 560027



Last year at CCS Academy, we curated a platform for CCS alumni, young students and professionals to engage in themes and discussions around public policy; now popularly called Baithak: Conversations in Policy. Baithaks follow an open group discussion format where the speaker is also the moderator of the debate, the principal guide and the facilitator of free flow of information among all the participants.

About Dr. Ashwin Mahesh

Dr.Ashwin Mahesh is a social technologist, environmentalist and urbanist. After a 15-year career in science, during which he was an astronomer and an Antarctic climate scientist, he switched to social enterprises, focused on urban development and governance. He is a founder of the technology lab, Mapunity, which builds urban social networking platforms and tools for citizens, public administrators and businesses. He is also a co-founder of Lithium, which operates the largest fleet of electric cars in India. He is a co-founder and editor of the national public affairs magazine, India Together. He was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurs in 2009.


The idea of Baithak is to give a platform to all CCS graduates and potential course participants to come together for a discussion on contemporary socio-cultural and economic issues in the presence of prominent voices from the liberal movement in India. Its objective is to create a knowledge ecosystem, impacting the policy space in India at large.

When and where?

Topic: Federalism: A standalone idea or part of something larger?
Date: June 30, 2019
Time: 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Venue: Shoonya - Centre for Art and Somatic Practices,
4th Floor, Rear Wing, Brahmananda Court
#37, Lalbagh Road
Bangalore 560027

Register Now

For details contact: Manasa Pidatala (Manasa Pidatala)