living treasure as has been called by Professor Jagdish
Bhagwati - Pradeep Mehta, the founder Secretary General of
CUTS International and one of the stalwarts of civil society
movement, was honoured yesterday evening in New Delhi for
his lifetime contribution to consumer welfare in India and
around the globe.
The honour was formally bestowed
by the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, and Civil
Aviation, Suresh Prabhu through a video message at a book
release and panel discussion event organised by CUTS
Prabhu, who was away to South
Africa, said Pradeep Mehta’s guidance on issues of economic
policy to him and others have been extremely valuable in
shaping public policy.
A book, aptly titled – ‘Putting
Consumers first - Essays in Honour of Pradeep Mehta’ and
edited by the noted political economist Sanjaya Baru with
Abhishek Kumar from CUTS International was released in his
Over 45 experts on Trade,
Governance and Regulation from around the world contributed
essays on these topics to mark Mehta’s contribution in these
Some of the prominent authors
who have contributed to this rich book of knowledge include
WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, Shashi Tharoor,
Sanjaya Baru, Kishore Mahubani, Peter Varghese, Mohan Kumar,
C Rangarajan and Secretary General of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi.
While noted economist, Jagdish
Bhagwati has written the adulatory foreword, former Railways
Minister and consumer activist, Dinesh Trivedi, MP has
crafted a wonderful preface.
The book release was followed by
a panel discussion on the Future of Trade Multilateralism
in the era of Unilateralism. Chaired by Nitin Desai,
former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, the
panel reposed faith in the WTO despite the challenges being
faced by the global trade body in the wake of bilateralism
The star studded panel included
Sanjaya Baru, Ambassador Mohan Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman,
Shakti Sinha and Pradeep Mehta.
Unanimously, the panel felt that
the attacks on WTO will not sustain as the body has in built
resilience and is an imperative in global goverance. It will
have to reform some of its regimes such as the dispute
settlement system and incorporate the development dimensions
keeping the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 agenda in
mind to improve its wider acceptance.
Among the participants were
experts from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and
Myanmar. The occasion also came at a time when Pradeep Mehta
turned 70 and CUTS International, the global advocacy group
and think tank that he founded completes 35 glorious years.
Under Pradeep Mehta’s leadership
the think tank launched its sixth overseas centre in
Washington DC in April 2018, thus making CUTS International
the first ever Indian think tank to have presence in the US.
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