July 2, 2015 Print

Parth Shah, founding president of Atlas Network partner the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in New Delhi, shared with the Atlas Network team a sneak peek into his upcoming Trendsetters NYC talk on July 22 about eliminating threats to freedom in India. CCS advances social change in India through public policy, and its work in education, livelihood, and policy training promotes choice and accountability across the private and public sectors. Register here for Trendsetters NYC: Dr. Parth J. Shah.

Providing access to educational choice

CCS launched its flagship project, School Choice Campaign, in 2007. The campaign aims to reform education policy to make it more responsive to the needs of each student and give parents the choice to decide what is best for their child, whether it be a government, high-fee private or budget private school (BPS). The School Choice Campaign focuses on:

  • Protecting access to BPS and their quality improvements for low-income families, to ensure that parents have their choice of quality education at an affordable price.
  • Advocating greater autonomy for schools and principals, especially when hiring schoolteachers in government schools.
  • Encouraging more powerful School Management Committees (SMCs) and aiming to influence the adoption of a per-student budgeting and funding model for government schools.

The School Choice Campaign operates on the belief that regulatory frameworks should focus on learning outcomes. The campaign therefore pushes for amendments to the Right to Education Act of 2009, and for greater innovation and competition in the education space.

Increasing the ease of doing business

Regulatory hurdles make it difficult for India’s poor to become legal entrepreneurs, instead often maintaining unstable positions in informal markets. CCS launched its Jeevika: Law, Liberty & Livelihood campaign in 2009 in order achieve greater livelihood freedom for the rural and urban poor, as well as promoting choice and accountability in the area of skill development for India’s underprivileged youth. It aims to further public policy measures to clear the path for free enterprise by eradicating market entry and exit barriers for street entrepreneurs (i.e., street hawkers, cycle rickshaw pullers, small shop owners, etc.), and tribals, as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Repealing redundant laws

For the rule of law to operate, laws must be precise, principles-based, well written, and well coded, as well as standing the test of time. The Indian approach has often run counter to the fundamentals of good law-making. Our enthusiasm for legislation has left us with an estimated 3,000 central statues, several obsolete, redundant and repetitive. The result is an environment fraught with substantial legal uncertainty, an overburdened judicial system, and pernicious rent-seeking.

CCS had a successful Repeal 100 Laws project in 2014, and we will continue to put forward our analysis of laws that are redundant, or materially impede the lives of citizens, entrepreneurs, and the government. In the second phase, we will focus on state laws — 25 each from Delhi and Maharasthra.

Learn more about the CSS School Choice Campaign.

Learn more about the CCS Jeevika: Law, Liberty & Livelihood campaign.

Learn more about the CCS Repeal 100 Laws Project.