Centre for Civil Society
Social Change Through Public Policy
Individual Rights: Every individual should be free to pursue her own dreams and
interests so long as she does not harm the person or property of
Freedom of Exchange: All individuals must be free to associate by mutual consent and to
trade ideas, goods and services on mutually agreeable terms.
Rule of Law: All individuals, persons and government submit to, obey and are
regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group
Limited Government: Governments should protect individual rights, enforce rule of law, and
provide public goods and services that individuals and associations
cannot provide themselves.
Centre for Civil Society (CCS) was founded on India’s golden anniversary, 15 August 1997, by Dr.
Parth J Shah, who was troubled by a sytemic problem that enervated India’s political governance.
Despite her political independence from an alien state, India still lacked economic freedom.
India was throttled by the license-permit-quota raj and ill-informed public policies that curtailed
entrepreneurship, restricted opportunities, and stunted economic development.
CCS, one of India’s ﬁrst liberal think-tanks dedicated to advancing social change through public
policy, was the outcome our deep belief in the individuality and dignity of all persons, and their
right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We are driven by the dream of a free society,
where political, social, and economic freedom reign.
ABOUT Centre for Civil Society
All kind of people make the world...
But it takes a civil society to make it like this.
Centre for Civil Society is a public policy think tank advancing personal, social, economic and
political freedoms. We aim to usher in an intellectual revolution that encourages people to look
beyond the obvious, think beyond good intentions and act beyond activism.
We seek to promote choice, competition and community based policy reforms. Through research,
advocacy and outreach, the Centre is reinvigorating civil society and rightsizing political society.
Through evidence-based research, stakeholder engagement, and outreach to current and future
leaders we advocate for effective public policy reform. Our focus areas are:
Increasing access to affordable quality education
Ensuring livelihood freedom for the enterprising poor
School Choice Campaign (SCC) is an award winning program for improving
the education system in India, where all children receive quality education
of their choice.
The campaign aims to bring about much-needed reforms in the
education system in India today using the three pronged approach of
education vouchers, regulatory reforms and encouraging edupreneurs.
The Campaign promotes two key reform measures:
Efﬁcient Use of Public Funds
School vouchers, conditional cash transfers and other
Convert all state funding to per student basis
Pedagogical and operational autonomy to government schools
Give failing state schools on learning contract
Link principal and teacher pay to student performance
Equity and Quality through Liberalisation
Delicensing of entry and decentralisation of curricula, textbooks, exams and school management
Support for budget private schools through a credible afﬁliation board, independent
performance assessment, and microﬁnance
Legalisation of for-proﬁt schools
Research: We study learning outcomes, parameters of parental choice, and public and private
expenditure and performance in education.
Mass Mobilisation: We launched mass campaigns in 7 states to introduce
the concept of school choice to parents, and build pressure on state
governments for reform.
Proofs of Concept: We run pilot projects on vouchers and social audit tools to demonstrate ﬁeld
implementation of innovative ideas.
Policy Advocacy: Through policy meets, workshops, seminars and one-to-
one meetings we work closely with policy makers from central, state and
local governments to help them craft sound policies.
Stakeholder Engagement: Through publications like Student First Magazine,
Dialogue series, and online resource centres like www.righttoeducation.in,
we keep our audience abreast with the latest in education policy.
Legal Action: We ﬁle Public Interest Litigations (PILs) to seek the judiciary’s intervention to ensure
access and equity in education for all sections of society.
Support to Budget Private Schools: We launched the National Independent
Schools Alliance (NISA), India’s ﬁrst national platform ﬁghting for low-fee
and budget private schools.
AREAS of Work
School Choice Campaign
R T EI n d i a
School vouchers are a policy reform tool to empower
parents and challenge education providers to
improve the quality of teaching and education.
CCS researched the international experience with
vouchers, and adapted lessons to pilot India’s ﬁrst
school voucher projects (Delhi Voucher Project, and
School Vouchers for Girls), allowing 800 students
from economically weaker families to exercise choice
and attend private schools.
School Vouchers for Girls (SVG) is a pilot project for minority girl students of 32 state-run schools,
between the ages of 6 to 14 who have graduated Class I. Each year, SVG provides an annual stipend
of Rs. 4,000 to cover tuition fees for one academic year.
Our assessment studies show improvement in two areas:
Fund Students, Not Schools!
Impact on Children Parental Response
Increased proficiency in English
Increased learning outcomes in English, Hindi
Increased reporting of weekly and monthly tests
Increased reporting from children that learning
More students were promoted to the next class
following 1 year of study in private school
Increased parent aspiration for their children
Increased satisfaction with learning progress
and discipline of wards and, teacher
Increased parent teacher interactions and
Increased willingness to spend more on
She is 10 years old and studies near the Welcome Colony in the Selampur
Area of East Delhi. Muskan wants to become a teacher. Luckily, she
has been given the opportunity to study in an English medium private
school through the School Vouchers for Girls (SVG) project.
Muskan is among the millions of poor children in this country whose
parents have taken it upon themselves to provide the best education
they can afford for their children.
Today Muskan’s parents feel liberated and express a sense of
empowerment because SVG gave them school choice. Her parents are
among the hundreds of parents who now have greater aspirations for their children to pursue
higher education, and perhaps even have a professional career of their choice. Vouchers for
them is the beginning to a better life.
Giving Parents Hope for a BRIGHTER FUTURE for their Children
“I have 5 children, 2 girls and 3 boys. Both my girls are studying in the Private school and my sons
are in the Government School. Though the boys receive mid day meals and free education and
we get money from the Schools to keep them there, I am worried that they can barely even write
their names in English. Muskan who is the second youngest in the family gives tuition to her elder
brothers in the house. I hope the School Voucher Project becomes a scheme through which I can
teach my sons in these schools too.” – Shakeel, Father
“I think education vouchers are a very good way of giving poor people an opportunity to educate
their children in better schools. It is a new idea for us but we completely support this campaign.”
—Mansi Sharma, Mother
Our Voucher Girl with a DREAM!
Jeevika is an award winning effort aimed to eradicate market entry and exit barriers to promote
individual livelihood freedom for street entrepreneurs (i.e. street hawkers, cycle rickshaw pullers, small
shop owners etc.) Through research, publications, advocacy and innovative outreach programs on
the ground, CCS campaigns for the review, revision and removal of regulatory barriers that condemn
the enterprising poor to undue harassment, extortion and lifelong illegality and poverty.
The campaign focus is on street vending and artisanship in Bihar and street vending and cycle
rickshaw pulling in Rajasthan.
In Rajasthan: Working on state policy reform to improve implementation of inclusive urban
reforms recognising the role of informal sector entrepreneurs.
In Bihar: Facilitating educational workshops with program beneﬁciaries and policymakers on
the effects of current policy on informal sector entreprenewrs.
Jeevika Campaign envisions achieving legal recognition for informal sector entrepreneurs so that
they can focus on their livelihood activities.
Jeevika: Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival
To extend our advocacy efforts, CCS organises the annual Jeevika: Asia Livelihood Documentary
Festival to capture the livelihood challenges faced by the rural and urban poor. The festival brings
to light policies and social, religious and cultural practices which prevent people from earning an
honest living. By encouraging documentary makers to ﬁnd interest in livelihood issues, the festival
provides a platform toward strengthening the Freedom Struggle of the Poor, for liberalisation and
deregulation for inclusive and sustainable development.
Over the years, the festival has won the support from celebrities like Subhash Ghai, Adoor
Gopalakrishnan, Nandita Das, Rahul Bose and Shabana Azmi.
| Law, Liberty & Livelihood
Winner of the Templeton Freedom Awards in 2003 and 2011
for our ìpolicy courses
“I personally feel that prior to my Researching Reality Internship experience, I was not aware
of many realities of my country. My internship experience was transformational—it not only
sharpened my focus, but made me a more informed citizen. The internship infuses a spirit in
the youth to investigate the strengths and weaknesses in current policy and governance, and
bring about the necessary policy change for economic growth and social development.”
–Priyanka Maheshwari, 2012 Internship Graduate
ìpolicy for LAMP Fellows, with Gurcharan Das
Researching Reality Internship, Class 2012 ìpolicy for Young Leaders, Balancing Act
CCS Academy conducts educational and outreach programs of Centre for Civil Society. Our unique participatory
programs for young leaders, journalists, young professionals, ﬁlmmakers and development leaders teach sound
principles for market and community-based solutions to critical problems plaguing India.
Our mission is the inspire future leaders and change agents to pursue the vision of a free society by championing
a liberal approach to public policy.
ìpolicy—Residential certiﬁcate courses on public policy within a liberal classical framework that make you look
deeper to ﬁnd out the root causes of India’s problems and their relation to government policies.
Researching Reality Internship—Summer and non-summer internships for college students and researchers to
apply social and economic principles to real-life problems through in-depth research projects.
Colloquium—Residential programs focused on the understanding and analysis of a theme, either in economics,
history, law, political thought or philosophy.
the ‘big questions’ about the individual liberty, good society,
Besides these programs, CCS Academy organises several
educational fests, lectures and competitions, and manages India’s
ﬁrst Hindi online liberal portal, Azadi.me (www.azadi.me) and the
Asia Centre for Enterprise, an angel investor for liberal minded entrepreneurs in Asia.
“Liberty & Society Seminar has been one
of the most informative and interesting
seminars I have experienced in the last
—Neeraj Gupta, Urban Planning
Department, Government of Rajasthan
| New Ideas, New Leaders
Implementation of Street Vendors Bill in
Rajasthan, ensuring livelihood freedom for
street vendor entrepreneurs
Launched RTE Online Portal
ASAR Policy Win: Introduction of Common Admission
Schedule to pre-primary classes in private recognised
schools of Delhi - bringing standardisation in admission
schedule to Delhi
Launched School Voucher for Girls (SVG), bringing quality
education to 408 girl students from economically poor
Launched India’s ﬁrst national platform ﬁghting
for the voice of budget private schools in India
— National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA)
R T EI n d i a
Hindi Liberal Portal
Construction of vending zones in 29 districts in Bihar
brings legal recognition and protection of street
vendors in both states for the ﬁrst time
CCS ranked amongst top 35 Public Policy Think
Tanks globally by University of Pennsylvania
Liberty and Society Seminar
CCS ranks No 8 in the Top 25
Think Tanks in Asia
Partnering with Government of
initiatives (Gyanodaya and
Shikshak ka Apna Vidyalaya)
“Centre for Civil Society is playing an important role in guiding policy reforms in the ﬁeld of education. I particularly
appreciate their concept of ‘Fund Students, Not Schools’ which holds great potential for ensuring quality education
for India’s children.”
— Arvinder Singh Lovely, Former Delhi Education Minister
Parth J Shah inducted in Steering
Committee of the Central
Education Minister of Delhi,
Arvinder Singh Lovely removes
cap on licenses given by the
Centre to open schools
Inaugurated 1st Jeevika:
Asia Livelihood Documentary
Launched School Choice Mass Campaign
across 7 states with 27 lakh parent
petitioning for school choice for their
Centre for Civil Society organised ﬁrst
conference on alternative education
and school vouchers in South Asia
Shahana Sheikh researching
reality internship paper on
Public toilets in Delhi read by
the MCD as per a Delhi High
CCS is focused to bring efﬁciency and effectiveness to government
meets, research and publications. Our policy assessment primarily
addresses New Public Management (NPM), Ward Level Management
(NPM), right to information and public governance.
Markets and Community:
and prevent effective use and administration of natural resources.
The Centre offers localised community ownership and management
solutions to overcome prevalent environmental problems.
Conferences, W orkshops & Events Publications
NISA School Leaders Summit Morality of Capitalism
Asia Liberty Forum Friedman on India
School Choice National Conference State Citizen Handbooks
Leaders in Education Action and Policy (LEAP) Handbook on New Public Governance
Friedman on India Economic Freedom of the World
Winter School on Public Policy Research Methods Voluntary City
Board of Trustees
Ashish Dhawan, Senior MD of ChrysCapital Investment Advisors, Chairman of the Board
Ajay Shah, Professor at the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy in Delhi
Amit Kaushik, Former Director in the Ministry of Human Resource Development
Gurcharan Das, Former CEO of Procter & Gamble India
O P Vaish, Founder of Vaish Associates
Parth J Shah, President and Founding Trustee of Centre for Civil Society
Premila Nazareth, Independent governance and research consultant
Board of Advisors
Luis Miranda, Former Chairman of IDFC Private Equity, Chairman of the Board
Ankur Shah, Interim India Director for Acumen Fund
Donald Warmbier, Tax Attorney
Iris Madeira, COO of Madhavi Desai Consulting
John Blundell, Ralph Harris Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs
Nitai Mehta, Founder and Managing Trustee of Praja Foundation
Praveen Chakravarty, Eisenhower Fellow and CEO at Anand Rathi Financial Services
Rakesh Wadhwa, Executive Director of The Everest Hotel, Kathmandu
Reuben Abraham, Assistant Professor at the Indian School of Business
Siddharth Shriram, Former Chairman of SIEL Industries
Vinay Bharat, Chairman and Managing Director of DCM Limited
Fighting for India’s Second Freedom Movement!
Centre for Civil Society
A-69, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016
Tel: +91 11 2653 7456, 2652 1882