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Centre for Public Affairs (CPA) was established in 1993 as a society registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 of the Union Territory of Delhi.


CPA came into being at a critical juncture when the models of development were being revisited across the world.  The presumed relationship between state, market and society were being redefined.  The emerging interrogation in social, political, economic and intellectual spheres was stirring a lively and contested discourse.  The CPA adopted the analysis of this emerging environment as its task.


To make strategic interventions in the debate, which is bound to constantly transcend boundaries, CPA conducts seminars and research studies and commission working papers with specific foci on relevant themes.  Its priority areas are: institutions, governance (both unit-based and multi-level), pluralism and sectarianism, education and human resource development, social development and voluntary sector, norms and ethics in public life, intra- and inter-country migrations, peace and conflict resolution, and regional and global security.


CPA’s objective is to develop a body of knowledge to make ideational interventions in order to provide policy choices on issues of public affairs.  Its understanding of public affairs encompasses a whole gamut of concerns around which the state and public interact, cooperate, bargain and at times even come in conflict with each other.  These concerns include public policies and societal pressures that go into their making, as well as citizens’ initiatives that are either developed as inputs to, or as outputs of, those policies.  CPA assigns particular importance to citizens’ initiatives in the expansion of civil society initiatives.  This dimension of public affairs has lately assumed greater salience because of people’s growing awareness about their rights and their fear of losing them to poaching by the state.  The phenomenon is global and CPA contributes to the discourse.


CPA’s objectives are to:


1.      conduct and promote contextually-rooted research in order to build appropriate theoretical and conceptual frameworks on matters of societal concern;

2.      develop policy options on such concerns at both national and international levels; and

3.      initiate and promote dialogues to build ideational bridges between and among communities and states.

Programme and Activities

CPA does not have a paid faculty.  It works with a team of networked scholars both within the country and outside.  The members of its Governing Board, all of whom are either academics or persons with academic interests, have been contributing to CPA’s academic endeavour since its inception. 

One of the areas CPA has engaged itself from the outset is to study India’s party system.  First such study was entitled ‘Political Parties and Party Systems’.  It was conducted in 2000-2001 with the collaboration of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), New Delhi, and published by SAGE in 2003.  In 2005 again CPA and KAS organised an interactive conference with political parties and their leaders under the title: ‘Parties and Democracy in India: Emerging and Future Trends’.  Two years later, in 2007-08, CPA and KAS collaborated once again on another project, this time with particular focus on regional parties. The result was a monograph: ‘Emergence of Regional Parties in India: Implications for National Parties, Policies and the Democratic System’, that was brought out in 2009.  Taking this interrogation further into the realm of elections, CPA conducted another study in collaboration with Heinrich Böll Sifting, New Delhi, in 2008 on ‘Emerging Trends in Indian Politics and the Fifteenth General Election’.  The resulting volume is under print.  CPA has now begun to revisit its 2003 analysis.

Considering that voluntary sector and civil society have emerged as important components of discourse on governance worldwide, CPA organised in April 2001 in collaboration with the Voluntary Action Network India (VANI) and the KAS a workshop in Hyderabad on ‘Society, Politics and the Voluntary Sector’.  VANI subsequently, in 2003, published in the form of a volume the papers submitted at the workshop.  CPA’s focused attention on civil society was carried forward and in 2005 with the support of the Japan Foundation it organized an international conference on ‘Civil Society and Democratic Space in South Asia: Civic Interactions, Economic Development and Regional Peace’.  A volume based on papers presented there is underway.

In 2002 when the Indian Parliament celebrated its Golden Jubilee CPA took the opportunity to critique its overall contribution in the Indian democracy, probably an exercise that was first of its kind in India.  It was done in a conference held in March 2002 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, in collaboration with the KAS.   Inaugurated by the Late Krishan Kant, Vice President of India, the conference was titled as: ‘The Indian Parliament: A Comparative Perspective’.  In  2003 a book came out from the proceedings.

The study of the police administration has been one of CPA’s prime concerns almost from the beginning. In May 2002, it organised a seminar on ‘Policing in Perilous Times’.  To understand the structure from a comparative perspective CPA soon established intensive collaboration with two French institutions – Maison de Sciences des le’ Homme and the Centre de Recherches Sociologiques Sur le Droit et les Institutions Pénales.  The result was setting up of an international programme on comparative policing.  The notable activities under the programme are two conferences, one on ‘Civil Society, State and the Police in India and France’ (New Delhi, 2004) and the other on ‘Crime, Migration and Ethnicity – 1800-2004’ (Paris, 2006).  Besides the French collaborators significant support came from the Indian Council of Social Science Research ICSSR), the India International Centre (IIC) and the French Embassy in India.  The papers submitted at the 2004 conference are being published in a volume.  Yet another conference on ‘Social Violence and the Police’ is slated for 2010.  In the mean time, to keep the process of this collaborative endeavour on, CPA has become an associate member of the Paris-based Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativés (GERN) of the European Commission. 

Since research on police administration cannot ignore the issue of human rights CPA’s concern has included studies on human rights as well and concurrently the question of rule of law.  In 2006 it published a monograph: ‘Terrorism and the Rule of Law: An Indian Perspective’ in collaboration with the KAS.

In 2003 CPA housed an ICSSR-funded project on the issue of uniform civil code conducted by Partha S. Ghosh, a member of its Governing Board.  Its report was submitted to the ICSSR in 2006 and in the next year a Routledge publication came out of the report under the title Politics of Personal Law in South Asia: Identity, Nationalism and the Uniform Civil Code.

In 2009 CPA noted the completion of the study conducted by Mahendra P. Lama on ‘Newer Dynamics of India’s Nepal Policy’.  The study was funded by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India.



Centre for Public Affairs is an Associate Member of the Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativés (GERN), Paris.  This international network gives CPA a wide institutional and intellectual access.

Beginning as an intellectual platform on public affairs with community support, over the years CPA’s programmes have been supported through institutional collaborations and funding support by a number of institutions.  Konrad Adenauer Stiftung has remained an important partner of CPA since 1999.  The Indian Council of Social Science Research too has given significant support from time to time.  CPA has also received funding support from Japan Foundation, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.  Maison de Sciences des le’ Homme, Paris Centre De Recherches Sociologiques Sur le Droit et les Institutions Pénales, France, CNRS, France and Embassy of France in New Delhi as well as Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France have also supported our endeavour.  India International Centre, New Delhi too has supported some of the CPA’s efforts.  CPA is collaborating with Prof. Gilles Tarabout of the CNRS, Paris on a project titled Just-India.

ONGOING Projects and Programmes

1. Naxalism and the Relevance of Maoism Today.

Funded by ICSSR, CPA is planning a conference on this theme.

2. Social Violence and the Police: Cross-National Experience.

An international conference on this theme is being organised.

3. Party System in India: Multiple Trajectories.

Revisiting its 2003 study on political parties, CPA has planned this study for 2010-11.

4. Political Recruitment and Political Leadership.

This is an area that is getting increasingly important as the demand for a fair gender representation is discoursed.  Its importance also increases as the older generation of political leadership gives way to a new generation in the young India.

5. Violence as a Medium of Democracy.

From democratic protests to terrorism and the ultra left politics, violence is permeating Indian social and political life.  Even political parties in India’s democratic arena speak violent language against the state, communities and people they dub as adversaries.  Political leaders pride in being seen on dais with weapons such as swords, tridents and maces.  The phenomenon needs exploration and discourse in the context of Indian democracy.

6. A Viable National Policy for the Senior Citizens.

With the absence of institutional social security beyond the family for its senior citizens, India needs a policy in this realm.  CPA is initiating this discourse.

7. Just-India

This is a project initiated by a French team, being conducted by an international team of scholars, funded by L'Agence Aationale de la Recherche and CNRS.  Aimed at studying Justice and Governance in India and South Asia, CPA partners the team in studying the procedural quagmire people face at police stations in India.


1. Jayati Shrivastava (ed.)

Civil Society and Democratic Space in South Asia:

Civic Interactions, Economic Development and Regional Peace

Under editing (2010)

2. Ajay K. Mehra (ed.)

Emerging Trends in Indian Politics: Fifteenth General Elections in India

New Delhi: Routledge (Forthcoming 2009)

3. Ajay K Mehra and Rene Levy (eds.)

State, Society and the Police: Perspectives From India and France

New Delhi: Pearsons Longman (Forthcoming 2009).

4. Mahendra P. Lama

Newer Dynamics of India’s Nepal Policy:

Challenges, Options and Way Forward (mono.)

A Report Submitted to the MEA, Government of India

New Delhi: CPA, 2009.

5. Partha S. Ghosh

Uniform Civil Code on Personal and Customary Laws?

A Politico-Legal Study of South Asian Experience

New Delhi: Routledge, 2007.

6. Ajay K. Mehra and O.P. Sharma

Emergence of Regional Parties in India:

Implications for National Politics, Policies and the Democratic System

New Delhi: KAS-CPA, 2008.

7. O.P. Sharma and Ajay K. Mehra

Parties and Democracy in India: Emerging and Future Trends

New Delhi: KAS-CPA, 2006.

8. Ajay K. Mehra and O.P. Sharma

Terrorism and the Rule of Law

New Delhi: KAS-CPA, 2005.

9. Ajay K. Mehra and Gert W. Kueck (eds.)

The Indian Parliament: A Comparative Perspective

New Delhi: Konark, 2003.

10. Ajay K. Mehra, Anil K. Singh and Gert W. Kueck (eds.)

Society, Politics and the Voluntary Sector

New Delhi: VANI, 2003.

11. Ajay K. Mehra, D.D. Khanna and Gert W. Kueck (eds.),

Political Parties and Party Systems

New Delhi: Sage, 2003.



CPA works through an international  network of academics.  CPA’s Governing Board has over the years contributed to its academic output.  Its current and past members are part of its brains trust.  CPA’s membership of GERN gives it access to an international network of institutions and scholars not only in Europe, but also worldwide.

In addition, the following academics across the country contribute to CPA’s academic programmes.

Prof. Abu Nasar Syed Ahmad                                                                   OKDISCD, Guwahati

Prof. Sophie Body-Gendrot                                       University of Sorbonne, Paris IV

Prof. Rekha Choudhary                                                                  University of Jammu

Dr. Jorge Heine                                      Distinguished Fellow, CIGI, Waterloo, Canada

Prof. Monirul Hussain                                                       Gauhati University, Guwahati

Mr. Satish Jacob                                                                  Senior Journalist, New Delhi

Dr. Mira Kamdar                    Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute, New York, USA

Prof. Mizan R Khan                                   North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Prof. Ashutosh Kumar                                                     Panjab University, Chandigarh

Mr. Kamal Kumar, IPS (retd.)                 Former Director, SVP National Police Academy, Hyderabad

Prof. René Lévy                                                                         Director, GERN, France

Dr. Sanjay Lodha                                                       ML Sukhadia University, Udaipur

Mr. Dushyantha Mendis                                                                       Kandy, Sri Lanka

Mr. B.R. Muthu Kumar, IFS (retd)                               Former Ambassador, Bengaluru

Prof. A. S. Narang                                                                            IGNOU, New Delhi

Mr. Prakash Nanda                                                             Senior Journalist, New Delhi

Dr. Rajaram Panda                                                                              IDSA, New Delhi

Dr. Vijay Laxmi Pandit                           Principal, Rajdhani College, Delhi Univeristy

Dr. Amit Prakash                                                                                   JNU, New Delhi

Prof. Rasul Bakhsh Rais                                                           LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan

Dr. Gulshan Sachdeva                                                                                       JNU, New Delhi

Dr. SWR de A Samarasinghe                                   Tulane University, Lousiana, USA

Dr. Rekha Saxena                                                                                  Delhi Univeristy

Mr. Jagdish Chandra Sharma, IFS (retd.)                     Former Ambassador, New Delhi

Dr. Jagpal Singh                                                                                IGNOU, New Delhi

Dr. Jayati Srivastava                                                                              JNU, New Delhi

Prof. Gilles Tarabout                                                                        CNRS, Paris, France

Prof. Mohammad Waseem                                                       LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan


CPA Governing Board

Mr. Ved Marwah, IPS (retd.)                                                                                                                 Chairman

Former Governor

A2, Heera Mahal

44, Amrita Sher Gill Marg

New Delhi 110 003

Tel: 2462 3917

Email: vedmarwah@gmail.com

Prof. Partha S. Ghosh                                                                                                                             Member

School of International Studies

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi 110 067

Tel: 2689 9063

Email: parsarg@gmail.com

Dr. Ashok Jain                                                                                                                                        Member

Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, India

149, Uttarakhand

J.N.U., New Delhi 110 067

Tel: 2674 1232

Email: delhiashokjain@yahoo.com

Prof. Mahendra P. Lama                                                                                                                         Member

Vice Chancellor

Sikkim University

6th Mile, Samdur, PO Tadong 737102

Gangtok, Sikkim

Tel: 03592-25 1462; 25 1436; 25 1438o

Email: mahendra_lama1961@yahoo.co.in

Prof. Girijesh Pant                                                                                                                                  Member

Vice Chancellor

Doon University

Kedarpur, Motharawala Road, PO Ajabpur

Dehradun 248 001, Uttarakhand

Tel: 0135- 253 3105, 253 3102

Email: gpant2009@gmail.com

Prof. Ritu Priya Mehrotra                                                                                                                       Member

Advisor, Public Health (Planning)

National Health System Resource Centre

National Institute of Health & Family Welfare Campus
Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka
New Delhi110067

Tel: 011-2610 8982/3/4, 2610 8992/3 o

Email: ritu_priya_jnu@yahoo.com

Dr. O.P. Sharma                                                                                                                                     Member

Associate Professor

SBS College (Eve.), University of Delhi

Sheikh Sarai II

New Delhi 110 019

Tel: 2254 8092

Email: opsharma50@hotmail.com

Prof. D.P. Tripathi                                                                                                                                  Member

C-9/9782, Vasant Kunj

New Delhi 110 070

Tel: 4602 5873

Email: vichar@vicharnyas.com

Prof. Ajay K. Mehra                                                                                                                               Member-Secretary and

SWASTI                                                                                                                                   Honorary Director

D-104, Sector 27

Noida 201 301, UP

Tel: (120) 244 1852; Telefax: 431 3221

Email: ajaykmehra@gmail.com

Camp Office

"SWASTI", D-104, Sector 27

Noida 201 301, UP, India

Tel: (120) 244 1852

Telefax: (120) 431 3221

Email: centreforpublicaffairs@gmail.com





Registered Office

B-24, Radheypuri, Krishnanagar

Delhi 110 051, India

Tel: (11) 2254 8092

Email: centreforpublicaffairs@gmail.com