Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Vice President of India
I am delighted to note that CUTS is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in the year 2003. My first interaction with CUTS was way back in 1984, when Shri Pradeep Mehta and Shri Tripuresh Sharma came to me with a campaign on the severe coin shortage in the country, asking legislators to sign on. This was perhaps the first campaign of its kind by the first consumer group of Rajasthan, which impressed me a lot. I signed on it, as one of the 44 legislators of Rajasthan. The campaign was successful, as I saw in the press.
Whether I was the Leader of the Opposition in Vidhan Sabha (State Assembly) or the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, CUTS staff have always been in touch with me on different issues pertaining to consumer’s interest every time. I have been seeing the organisation growing at an amazing pace. CUTS is one of the very few consumer organisations in the country working from the grass roots to international level. It has brought a number of issues concerning consumer’s interest to limelight.
When I was asked by the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2000 to draft the party’s input for the National Agriculture Policy, I had to look around for guidance and inputs on WTO’s impact on Indian agriculture. Few persons informed me that one does not have to look beyond Jaipur, when CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment can assist me. Indeed their expert comments and inputs helped me to draft the policy paper.
I have been seeing a variety of CUTS’ publications, especially the one which is in the form of a wall newspaper called the “Gram Gadar”. This wall paper has been helping our rural folk in a big way by its regular columns, such as on women’s rights. CUTS has rapidly diversified its work areas and the need of the future is that it should set goals according to the needs of a common man, maintaining its identity.
I congratulate Shri Pradeep Mehta and his team at CUTS for their great efforts and wish them good luck for a very bright future.
I also congratulate CUTS for completing 20 years and wish every success in meeting its endeavours.