Baithak: Conversations in Policy

Event Date: 15 Jun 2019; Time: 4 - 7 p.m.
Venue: A-69, Hauz Khas, New Delhi (CCS Office)


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 the speakers

Barun Mitra

Barun is the founder and director of the Liberty Institute, a non-profit, independent public policy research and advocacy organisation, based in New Delhi, India. Barun has also received the 2005 Julian L. Simon Award for his contribution in environmental policy debates from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Prashant Narang

Prashant Narang is a lawyer practising in the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court of India. As a doctoral candidate at Center for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, he is working on a critical study of Supreme Court judgments on the Fundamental Right to practise business, trade and profession in India.

Nikhil Mehra

Nikhil Mehra is an advocate practicing in New Delhi before various forums, particularly the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi. Nikhil graduated from the NLSIU, Bangalore and started his career with Mr. Harish Salve. He went on to complete his Masters in Law at the prestigious Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, USA. He worked as a Corporate Attorney in New York for many years with two of the top financial law firms before returning to India to set up his own Litigation practice. Nikhil was part of the talented team that assisted in drafting the JS Verma Report of 2013 on Reform of Criminal Laws.


The discussion will center around The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 and its implications on society 68 years on. The act was the first attempt to dilute right to property, and limit freedom of speech, as well as land acquisition and distribution. It was also a manifestation of the widespread political support for efforts to curb property rights in various forms. Whilst Barun will provide a broad overview of the act with emphasis on the political context of the time, Prashant is going to speak on Article 19(6)(ii) inserted through the First Amendment, focusing on how state monopolies were made immune from judicial review under the clause. Nikhil Mehra will shed light on Article 19(2) in particular, discussing restrictions on freedom of speech.


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?

Date: 15 June, 2019
Time: 4 - 7 p.m.
Venue: A-69, Hauz Khas, New Delhi (CCS Office)

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For details contact: Shivang Raina (Shivang Raina)

Baithak: Conversations in Policy

Event Date: 08 Jun 2019; Time: 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Venue: Shankar IAS, Anna Nagar, Chennai


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 Badri Seshadri

Badri Seshadri graduated with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1991 and a Ph.D from Cornell University in 1996. He co-founded Cricinfo, a cricket website along with several others, and was one of the founding Directors of Cricinfo Ltd. in 1996 when it was incorporated as a company. Badri managed Cricinfo in India during 1996-99, functioned as Chief Operations Officer in UK in 1999-2000, worked as Director Commercial in India in 2001 and as Managing Director of the India operations and Chief Technology Officer between 2002-04. During 2004-05 he managed the mobile strategy for Cricinfo. Badri is the Managing Director of New Horizon Media Private Limited. He maintains blogs in Tamil and English. He is a noted political commentator and articles in both Tamil and English for prominent newspapers and appears on political debates.


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: Politics of Voting with a focus on TN
Date: June 08, 2019
Time: 5 PM to 7 PM
Venue: Shankar IAS, Anna Nagar, Chennai

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For details contact: Rini Rafi (Rini Rafi)

Massive Open Online Course(MOOC) on Education Policy

Event Date: 11 May To 11 Jul 2019; Time: 10:00am - 06:00pm
Venue: Online

MOOC on Education Policy

About the Program

CCS' Massive Open Online Course on Education Policy is a course that aims to train students in research methods and the philosophical, economic, and political aspects of education policy. This course will provide a solid foundation in the theories that have influenced policy decisions over the decades and steps in the process of policy formulation, knowledge and skills necessary to analyze education policies and suggest reforms on the basis of successful pilot studies from across the world and emerging trends in the sector.

It is a 16 hours engagement (including a 1.5-hour assessment exam) which can be accessed anytime between the start of the course till July 11.

Program Highlights:

  • Offered entirely on a digital learning platform to reach development professionals working in the farthest ends of the country
  • Comprises of 4 modules with 20 topics covered through video lectures, animations, quizzes, simulation building
  • Discussion forum and technical query resolution forum
  • Eminent board of mentors and experienced faculty team

Course Availability: 11 May-11 July 2019

Application Deadline: 10 June 2019

Selection Process: The second batch of MOOC will comprise of 200 students only. Due to monitored enrollment, the candidates will be selected on First Come First Serve Basis.

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Course Outline

Module 1: Unpacking 'Education'

  • Distinction between Knowledge, Education, Schooling and Learning
  • Philosophy of Education: Key thinkers and Ideas
  • Diversity and Equity in Education
  • State, Civil Society, and Education: Gandhi, Tagore, Radhakrishnan, Krishnamurthy
  • Emergence of Curriculum: The National Curriculum Framework and SSA
  • Government in Education

Module 2: Economics of Education

  • The Landscape of Education in India
  • Demand, Supply, Exchange - How Markets Work in Education
  • Defining Schools: Public and Private Alternatives in India
  • Structure of School Financing in India
  • The Cost of Universal Schooling in India

Module 3: Regulatory Framework for Education in India

  • Analysis of Educational Administration in India
  • Reading Data in Education: Key Sources
  • Evolution of Education Policy in India
  • Understanding RTE
  • Advancing Social Justice

Module 4: Catalyzing Quality Education Delivery - Solving Puzzles in Education

  • Re-envisioning the Learning Space
  • Technology in Education
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Reforms in Education

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The online course conducted by CCS on the Education Policy of India helped me understand the current education situation in India. Previously, I had a very constricted view of the education sector but after completing the course and the externship, I feel there are several shortcomings in the education sector that needs to be addressed. This course helped me understand the importance and the role of Education in the development of a country and its citizens. Overall, it was an excellent experience.

This course has helped me to inculcate the theory and practice of community based research along with community partners which would not have been possible in a classroom setting alone.
It has also given me an idea and knowledge about financing and partnerships, with emphasis on local collaboration in the education sector.
This course has motivated me to think about the critical gaps  in the education space.
Further, it has also helped me to learn the strategies of consultation and collaboration to deal with various stakeholders and government agencies.

The course that we did on Education Policy was really helpful. I gathered a lot of useful information. This course wouldnt have possible it CCS wouldnt have been there.
I have learned so much from the course and I look forward to learning more. Thank you for being a remarkable teacher.
Thanks to CCS

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Dr. Parth J. Shah

Dr. Parth J Shah is the President of Centre for Civil Society (CCS), a public policy think tank advancing personal, economic and political freedoms. In a latest survey, CCS was ranked the number 1 think tank in India and 81 globally.

Dr. Shah's research and advocacy work focus on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach for the environment, and good governance.

Avani Kapur

Avani is a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Initiative and the Director of Accountability Initiative - a research group at CPR focusing on governance, state capacity and implementation of key social sector programmes. The focus of her work has been in building evidence for policy advocacy to strengthen transparency and accountability in public financial management for service delivery and ensure greater citizen engagement in governance systems. At AI, she has also been anchoring the publication of the annual budget brief series and implementation of fund tracking surveys on key social sector schemes including education, health, sanitation, nutrition. She is a Tech4Good Fellow and an Alumna of the London School of Economics and Smith College, Massachusetts.

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).

Geeta Gandhi Kingdon

Prof. Kingdon holds the Chair of 'Education Economics and International Development' at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. She has worked for 10 years as faculty at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford. Her research is based mostly on statistical analysis of education datasets. Based on this research, she advises governments and donor agencies such as the World Bank, European Union (EU) and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) on their education-related aid to developing countries.

She has frequently been a member of the Union Human Resource Development Ministry's 'Joint Review Missions' of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and of the Secondary education programme (the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan), a member of the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board (Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad), and also serves on the Government of UP's Advisory Committee on Basic Education.

In 2013, Professor Kingdon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Kingston University London for "her outstanding contributions to education and development".

Gurcharan Das

An Indian author, commentator and public intellectual. Gurcharan Das graduated with honours from Harvard University in Philosophy. He later attended Harvard Business School (AMP), where he is featured in three case studies. He was CEO of Procter & Gamble India and later managing director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide (Strategic Planning). In 1995, he took early retirement to become a full-time writer. He writes periodic pieces for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and Newsweek.

Sridhar Rajagopalan

Sridhar Rajagopalan is a co-founder of Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. (EI), a company that has helped change the way student learning outcomes are seen in India. EI offers ASSET, India's leading private school assessment and Mindspark, a personalised learning program that has featured as a Harvard Business Study case. Sridhar has been a member of various central and state government committees related to education including the committee for devising model rules for the Right to Education Act in Gujarat. He is currently based in the US and heads EI's US subsidiary.

Vimala Ramachandran

Vimala Ramachandran, has been working on elementary education, girls' education and women's empowerment. She conceptualized and launched Mahila Samakhya, a women's education program of Government of India program based in the Department of Education, MHRD. She was the Managing Trustee of HealthWatch – a network of researchers and activists engaged with women's health.

She established Educational Resource Unit in 1998 as a network of researchers and practitioners working on education and empowerment.

She has published extensively on education policy and practice, gender issues and women's empowerment.

Yamini Aiyar

Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive of CPR. Her research interests are in the field of social policy and development. In 2008, Yamini founded the Accountability Initiative at CPR. Under her leadership, the Accountability Initiative has produced significant research in the areas of governance, state capacity and social policy.

Yamini's own research on social accountability, elementary education, decentralisation and administrative reforms has received both academic and popular recognition.

Aiyar is an Alumna of the London School of Economics, St. Edmund's college Cambridge University, and St Stephen's College, Delhi University.

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Your slot would be reserved once you register and make the payment.

Applications open! Course Availability: 11 May - 11 July

Apply Now!

Indian Liberals Essay Contest 2019

Event Date: 01 Apr To 15 May 2019; Time: 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Venue: Online
"They are slaves who dare not be In the right with two or three." - Minoo Masani

An online repository of Indian liberal writings, was launched in 2015. The intent of the Indian Liberals archive which presently hosts up to 50,000 digitized pages is to offer exhaustive and comprehensive resources on the liberal discourse in India by ensuring high diversity of content. Indian Liberals portal is a platform for consolidating and curating Indian liberal literature, to document, preserve and disseminate the robust strands on liberalist thinking that have marked Indian history.

Eligibility: Open to youth throughout India. You must be at least 18 years and no older than 30 years of age.

Last Date for Submitting Your Essays (via email): 15th May 2019

Registration fee: The is NO registration fee for this event.

Language: Essays should be written in English. You are welcome to write in your native language, but it must be translated into english for submission.

Where to submit: All entries should be mailed to OR before the last date (15th May)

Along with the essay, you are required to send a photograph and a brief bio.


You can choose any one of the following topics

  • Diversity, Democracy, and Dissent
  • Liberalism in India - Then and Now
  • Encoding Privacy a Digital World
  • A Liberal Constitution for India
  • Manifesto for a Prosperous India
  • Vigilantism, Nationalism and Techno-Nationalism
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution - What it means for India?


  • First Prize: INR 9,000
  • Second Prize: INR 6,000
  • Third Prize: INR 3,000
  • Fourth and Fifth Prizes: INR 2,000


All the winners will receive a certificate of recognition from Centre for Civil Society.

  • Essays must be no fewer than 700 and no more than 2000 words. Spelling errors will count against the final grades.
  • Name your submission file as "firstname_ilessay2019". Mail your photograph and brief profile along with the submission.
  • Winning essays will be featured on our Indian Liberals website, alongside a brief profile and picture of the author.
  • One entry per participant.
  • All entries become the property of Centre for Civil Society and will not be returned.They may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing.
  • For any other queries, mail Hinan at


Event Date: 16 Mar To 17 Mar 2019; Time: 10:00am - 06:00pm
Venue: Hyderabad

 Politics of Development or POD | 2019

About the Program

Ever wondered why India remains poor, with the top 1% bagging more than 70% of the country's wealth? Why our political system not only falls short of the textbook ideal, but prioritizes communal politics, corruption, and cronyism?

The "Politics of Development" is a two-day immersive certificate course curated for a batch of 120 Policy Enthusiasts looking for the answers to these and many other grueling questions and striving to find solutions for the same. Our esteemed keynote speaker will take up discussions on Post-Reform Realities. Further discussions about the nuances of good governance and a deeper look into the crux of political corruption in India that are part of the program will be brought up as well.

PoD follows our philosophy for integrated learning and interactive discussions by including lectures by domain specialists, policymakers and policy enthusiasts, and supplementing them with games, movies and presentations to promote healthy group discussions.

Program Highlights:

  • Keynote speakers from industry leaders and policy domain influencers
  • 2-day intensive certificate course more than 100 policy enthusiasts to network with
  • Engaging in interactive and thought provoking exercises with the brightest minds of the industry

Selection Process: Since the seats are limited and the candidates will be selected on a rolling basis, those who apply earlier will have a higher chance of selection.

Apply Now!


DAY 1 | 16 March 2019 | POLITICS OF POVERTY

  • 08:30 - 09:00 | Registration & Speed Networking
  • 09:00 - 10:30 | Open hour with Mentors: Discussion on Pre-work
  • 10:30 - 11:00 | Tea/Cookies
  • 11:00 - 11:30 | Vision 2020 Activity
  • 11:30 - 13:00 | Is there Really a Culture of Poverty in India?
    This session explores how poverty is not a result of people being tardy or unambitious but rather the result of bad policies which attack their economic freedom and property rights.
  • 13:00 - 14:30 | Lunch
  • 14:30 - 15:45 | Breakout session and Activity with Mentors - 1
  • 15:45 - 17:15 | Regulate or Not to Regulate
    This session discusses how liberalisation opened the economy and lifted millions out of poverty but did not go far enough. Many quarters were left untouched and continue to suffer under the old system of state permits. At the same time, cronyism thrives in the state-controlled sectors of the economy and bad regulations continue to thwart our development.
  • 17:15 - 17:45 | Tea and Snacks Break
  • 17:45 - 19:00 | Breakout session and Activity with Mentors - 2


  • 09:00 - 10:00 | Recap and Activity
  • 10:00 - 12:00 | How Can We Disrupt the Political Marketplace?
    This sessions advances increasing political competition through federalism and bringing in campaign finance reform as two possible solutions to increase governmental accountability.
  • 12:00 - 12:30 | Tea/Coffee Break
  • 12:30 - 13:45 | How good a solution is Welfare?
    This session argues that given the widespread poverty and rising inequality, redistribution of wealth and government welfare schemes may seem to be the obvious short-term solutions. But limiting attention only to these policies is likely to undermine the very process that has lifted millions out of poverty.
  • 13:30 - 14:30 | Lunch
  • 14:30 - 15:40 | Lifting Barriers for Ease of Earning a Living
    This session debunks how India's big government is hardly a check on big business. Instead, rampant state regulation reduces competition and increases costs of compliance for entrepreneurs making it harder for them to earn a living.
  • 15: 45 -16:30 | Break
  • 16:30 - 17:30 | Breakout session and Activity (Vision 2020 Part II) with Mentors - 4
  • 17:30 - 18:45 | Wrap-Up and Graduation

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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.

Jayaprakash Narayan

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan is a physician by training who went into the Indian Administrative Service in the aftermath of the Emergency and failure of the Janata Experiment. He was a topper in the IAS exam. During the 16 years of distinguished public service in various capacities, he acquired a formidable reputation in the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh. His experience in government convinced him that faulty governance process was the biggest hurdle to India and Indians achieving greater success. And what India needs today is a fundamental change in the rules of the game and not a periodic change of players. In order to translate his vision into practical reality, he resigned from Service (IAS) in 1996 and worked with like-minded colleagues for the formation of Lok Satta. Lok Satta has now emerged as India's leading civil society initiative for governance reforms.

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Join the Two Day Certificate Course in Public Policy

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The program is NON RESIDENTIAL and the program fee covers food and course materials for the entire duration of the program.