Programmes and Activities
of Centre for Public Affairs
CPA functions and carries out its academic activities with the support of a distinguished team of networked scholars both within the country and abroad. The members of its Governing Board, all of whom are eminent ex-policy makers, academics and media persons, actively contribute to the Centre's endeavours.
The CPA has engaged itself from the outset to study public institutions. Beginning with India's party system, its first study was on ‘Political Parties and the Party Systems'. Conducted in 2000-2001 with the collaboration of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), New Delhi, and published by SAGE in 2003, the study of party system has remained a continuing focus of the CPA. 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. A need was felt to revisit the analysis of the party system in India a decade after the CPA conducted the first study. Again in collaboration with the KAS, a study titled ‘Party System in India: Emerging Trajectories' was launched in December 2010 and published in 2013. In 2014 a study titled Regional/State Parties in India: An Annotated Almanac was published. Taking this interrogation further into the realm of elections, CPA conducted another study in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, New Delhi, in 2008 on ‘Emerging Trends in Indian Politics and the Fifteenth General Election'. The resulting volume titled ‘Emerging Trends in Indian Politics: The 15th General Election' was published by Routledge in 2010. In October 2014, soon after the sixteenth general election in India, a seminar on ‘Election 2014: A Paradigm Shift in Indian Politics' was organised with support from the ICSSR and the IIC.
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 a volume consisting of 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'. Experts from various South Asian countries participated in the conference.
In 2002 when the Indian Parliament celebrated its Golden Jubilee and the 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. In 2013, another conference was organised to commemorate Diamond Jubilee of the Indian Parliament. The volume is being put together.
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. Yet another conference on ‘Social Violence and the Police' was organized in March 2010 in Gangtok in collaboration with Sikkim University, Nehru Museum and Library, the ICSSR, the Bureau of Police Research and Development and GERN and CESDIP. An international seminar was organised in December 2010 on Public Security Federal Polities with the support and collaboration of the Forum of Federations, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the Bureau of Police Research and Development and the India International Centre. It resulted in an edited volume in 2014. On 3 December 2012 the CPA organised a seminar on Innovations in Policing in India'.
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, the 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.
Two study projects, first on ‘India-Bangladesh Border Fence: The Financial, Political and Diplomatic Costs' had been undertaken by Prof. Partha S. Ghosh of School of International Studies, JNU, and the second project titled as ‘India and Central Asia: Prospects of Strengthening Trade and Economic Partnership' had been undertaken by Dr. Nawal K. Paswan, Associate Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Management, Sikkim University. Both the studies were conducted during the year 2011-13 and were sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Both the completed study projects are now under the process of publication.