2013 has been a momentous year for CUTS, first is the celebration of 30 years of its existence. Our history is captured in a document: Walk the Talk (https://cuts-international.org/PDF/A_Brief_History_of_CUTS.pdf) and a film: 30 years of Social Change ( www.youtube.com/embed/rSXe134sHs4), and our desired future path is captured in a Vision Document: CUTS@50 (https://cuts-international.org/PDF/CUTS@50-A_VISION_DOCUMENT.pdf).
Foundations for our own Campus
Recognising CUTS contribution to economic policy discourse in India and internationally, particularly in various parts of the developing world, in 2013, the State Government of Rajasthan allocated a 5,000 Sq. Mt. area of land at a concessional rate to CUTS to build its own campus. It is being replenished by small donations by CUTS staff, donors and Friends of CUTS all over the world, and thus, creating a better ownership for the CUTS Campus. This campus will house all head office staff and those of three Programme Centres based in Jaipur. It will also house the CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition.
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CUTS@30: Better Governance for Inclusive Growth
To celebrate our 30th birthday CUTS has been organising a series of public lectures, by eminent friends around the world in cities where CUTS is well known. The lectures are contemporary issues related to its work agenda, such as trade, economic integration, consumer protection, competition etc. Lectures have been/will be organised in Kuala Lumpur, Jaipur, New Delhi, Geneva, London, Nairobi, Accra, Washington DC, New York, Islamabad, Kolkata, Canberra and Lusaka respectively. The aim of the lecture series is to address CUTS’ future interventions to promote inclusive growth from the point of view of their impact on consumer welfare in the light of contemporary policy discourse on trade, regulation and governance. CUTS aims to publish the lectures in a volume and produce a video tape of the same, at the mid-2014. For details, please visit: https://cuts-international.org/30th-anniversary-lectures/
A Credible Southern Voice on the High Level Panel on Defining the Future of Trade
The Panel on ‘Defining the Future of Trade’ constituted by Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General in December 2013, released its Report entitled ‘The Future of Trade: The Challenges of Convergence (www.wto.org/english/)’, which examined and analysed challenges faced by global trading system in 21st century. CUTS, represented by its Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta, was a credible pro-trade, pro-equity Southern NGO voice on this panel that contributed to its richness. CUTS submitted a Discussion Paper to this Panel which can be accessed at: www.cuts-international.org/PDF/Defining_the_Future_of_Trade.pdf
A Indian PAN-African NGO: CUTS@Accra
CUTS inaugurated the Accra Centre on August 26, 2013, under the graceful presence of Hannah Tetteh, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, Ghana. This will be third CUTS centre in Africa after Lusaka and Nairobi and the fifth overseas centre. This inauguration also coincided with CUTS’ 30th Anniversary lecture in Accra, on the topic “Regional Integration as a Tool for Poverty Reduction in West Africa”. Through this new centre, CUTS will continue its efforts towards accomplishing CUTS’ vision of ‘consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice and economic equality and environmental necessity, within and across borders.’ Details can be viewed at https://cuts-accra.org/
CLIMATE, FOOD, TRADE: Improving Policy Coherence in East Africa
Climate change is affecting the lives of people around the world in an unprecedented manner. Our project entitled, “Promoting Agriculture-Climate-Trade linkages in the EAC” (PACT EAC), supported by SIDA, has strived to help East African stakeholders better understand and address the need for coherent policies at the interplay between climate, food and trade issues. In 2013, an impact evaluation revealed that the project has already influenced a number of policy responses with linkages aspects now being reflected in the draft Kenya Environmental Policy, the new draft Agricultural Policy of Tanzania, and a potential review of the genetically modified organism (GMO) policy at the Vice Presidents’ Office in Tanzania. www.cuts-geneva.org/pacteac
Promoting Trade and Standardisation in Southeast Asia
Trade and standards are a hot topic in the global trading system. As a partner organisation specifically for the Southeast Asia region in the SIDA-supported “Trade Promotion through Standardisation in the South and Southeast Asia (SESA) regions” programme, CUTS Hanoi helped to link the main themes of the programme, which are standards and standardisation, to the broader policy levels of trade promotion, consumer protection, regional integration and sustainable development, by engaging stakeholders – which are CUTS core competencies.
Amongst the Top Think-Tanks in Zambia
CUTS International Lusaka was identified by Zambia Economic Advocacy Programme (ZEAP), a Department for International Development (DFID), UK run programme as one of the five top Think-Tanks in Zambia, using evidence-based policy advocacy on trade and economic issues. This has yielded support in the areas of capacity building and research on economic policy for CUTS International Lusaka. Going forward, this will strengthen our ability to conduct evidence-based policy advocacy and facilitate positive changes in Zambia.
Towards an Optimal Business Regulatory Framework of India
The Planning Commission, Government of India, for developing the 12th Plan, formed a Steering Committee on Industry to deliberate upon the ways and means of creating an enabling business ecosystem in the country. As a Knowledge Partner, CUTS convened the Working Group on Business Regulatory Framework, while Pradeep S Mehta headed the Task Force on National Competition Policy. CUTS provided inputs for preparation of the strategy for the 12th Plan to raise contribution of manufacturing in the GDP from a current level of 15 percent to 25 percent by 2025. Furthermore, the Planning Commission accepted the proposal to establish Better Regulatory Commission and also use tools, such as Regulatory Impact Assessment. One hopes that the recommendations will become a game changer and add to the economic growth in India.
Enhancing Knowledge, Strengthening Capacity
The flagship course of CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition in association with National Law University New Delhi (NLUD), diploma and certificate course in ‘Competition Policy & Law’ has been a popular course choice among the students. The first convocation for the said course was held on December 21, 2013 at NLUD Campus. Another pioneering initiative of CIRC was to launch online courses on ‘Competition Act, 2002’and ‘Law and Practice of PPPs in India’ for inter-disciplinary professionals and students. These courses aim to strengthen executive education in the areas of Competition Policy and Law, Regulatory issues with facilitating classroom free, self-paced and interactive learning environment. www.circ.in
Making Jaipur a World Class City
CUTS intervened to improve the services of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation by emphasising the importance of local government and strengthen the roots of local self-governance by taking power to the people in the spirit of 74th Constitutional amendment in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The intervention could achieve several outcomes including enhanced level of awareness and civic sense among citizens, engagement of service providers/elected representatives resulting in to improved services and resolved grievances and vigilant media. The project also built the capacity of local community based organisations and citizen action groups who continued working as a linkage between citizens and service providers. Building on the success of the phase I of the intervention, it had moved to the second phase. https://cuts-cart.org/mycity-phase-ii/
Improved Child Protection in Chittorgarh District of Rajasthan, India
CUTS Centre for Human Development is implementing a project for excluded children and their rights in Chittorgarh block of Rajasthan with the support of Save the Children (India). CHD has been successful in forming and orienting child protection committees (CPCs) at the Gram Panchayat level (288 gram panchayats), Block level (11 blocks) and up to the District level under Integrated Child Protection Scheme of the Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Rajasthan. The Centre has been nominated as resource agency to facilitate and provide technical support in the formation, capacity building and monitoring of CPCs. CUTS CHD also published a monograph entitled ‘Stronger Voice to the Excluded Children: Stories we have lived and learned about child rights development’ capturing all these achievements. https://cuts-chd.org/stronger-voice-to-excluded-children-in-government-ngo-policies-and-programmes-ipap/
Insights into Indian States
Some Indian states in India are able to achieve better public policy outcomes manifested through better concomitant quality of economic growth and governance while others continue to languish. The 12th Five Year Plan only resonates and harps on inter-state synergies to enhance the quality of outcomes. The ‘Insight into Indian States’ (I3S) is an innovative initiative of CUTS aiming to create a user friendly and an interactive web portal presenting comparative and impartial view of successful and not so successful policies and practices across the quasi-federal structure of the country. Comparative analysis of development initiatives in the area of Non-farm Livelihood across Assam, Odisha, Rajasthan and Karnataka marks the onset of the portal. This list of states will expand just as focus on areas like Electricity Regulation, Water Utilities, Road Safety, Public Service Delivery and Public Service Distribution to name just a few. www.i3s.net.in
Top moments from other Centres
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