Activities of Liberty Institute
1999 - The theme proposed for this year is "Human Rights and Economic Freedom".
The aim is to bring together people engaged in promoting social and political
rights, and economic freedom. The purpose being to show that political
and economic freedoms are two sides of the same coin and one cannot be
sustained without the other. The issues that are likely to be discussed
are consumer rights, gender and social issues, environment and developmental
The purpose is to provide a platform for a wide ranging discussion
on various issues, with the aim of establishing the relationship between
certain core values and public policy.
1998 - Not held
The theme was the role of freedom in promoting development. Its highlight
was the stimulating inaugural lecture by Prof. Julian Simon of University
of Maryland, USA, on "More People, Greater Wealth, More Resources,
Cleaner Environment". A whole range of policy issues in areas such as environment,
education, health care, gender issues, human rights, among others, were
The relevance of classical liberal thinkers like Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek,
Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, in the Indian context. Sharad
Joshi, of the Shetkari Sanghatana, the farmers organisation in Maharashtra,
inaugurated the workshop highlighting some of the issues in liberalism
that need to be considered.
The basic aim is to expose readers to a wide range of literature from
around the world all united in their defense of a free society. This also
provides a very good opportunity to meet and discuss with a wide range
of people, and build up a network of like-minded people. So far we have
participated in seven fairs in Calcutta, Delhi, and Bombay. However, in
1997, at the Calcutta Book Fair, we lost a large number of our books in
a fire that swept through much of the fair ground. Some of the forthcoming
major fairs are -
In the next two years we would also like to participate in fairs in some
of the other cities around the country, like Pune, Bangalore, Madras, Chandigarh,
Calcutta Book Fair 2000
World Book Fair Delhi 2000
Delhi Book Fair 2000
Calcutta Book Fair 2001
Purpose of the publication programme is to contribute towards
a meaningful discussion and debate on various important issues by consistently
providing a liberal, free market perspectives.
Research Projects / Working
Readings - Each volume focuses on a major question, and contains
compilation of articles by renowned scholars from around the world.
Classics Series - This series aims to make available to readers
in India and the region some of the landmark writings in philosophy, political
theory, law, economics, etc., at a reasonable price.
Occasional Papers - These papers aim at wider dissemination of stimulating
articles and notable speeches by scholars, experts and other concerned
Indian Reprints - This series of publications seeks to make available
at an affordable price some of the thought-provoking titles from around
the world. We are looking for publishers who would be interested in cooperating
in this endeavour.
The Institute is engaged in research in a few areas of topical interests,
and proposes to publish its findings.
Julian L. Simon Centre:
Rent control: In late September '97, we appeared before a standing
committee of parliamentarians attached to the Ministry of Urban Affairs
that was conducting public hearings on proposed changes to the Delhi Rent
Act, 1995. In our submission based on experiences of many countries, we
highlighted the wide impact of this kind of legislations ranging from shortage
of affordable rental housing, tremendous growth in litigation, to the growth
of urban mafia. We called for respect for property rights and sanctity
of contracts if we are to effect a fundamental improvement in the rental
housing situation in the country.
Broadcasting: In mid-August 1997, we testified before the high-level
Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the proposed Broadcast Bill, 1997.
We argued in favour of opening up the Indian broadcasting scenario by privatizing
the electromagnetic spectrum and allowing market competition in areas of
terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasting systems. And in view of developments
in new areas such as the internet, we called for integration of telecommunication
and broadcasting systems.
Environmental labeling programme - Ecomark: An independent study
of the scheme launched in 1991, was undertaken by the Institute last year.
It looked into various aspects of a government scheme aimed at promoting
environment friendly products. The study concluded that open competition
in a free market, rather than regulations, are best suited to promote improvements
in environmental quality. The report has attracted positive responses from
a variety of sources within and outside India.
Current research projects: Following this, the Institute plans to
take up a series of similar policy studies, with a particular emphasis
on environmental issues. Among the issues that are currently being covered
Intellectual property rights;
Conservation through commercialisation;
50 years of the Constitution;
Deregulation - Telecommunication, Airlines, Water and Power.
The Institute's resource centre and library is quite unique as it specially
focuses on liberal literature, and market based analysis of issues. The
collection of books and other materials from around the world has been
growing, thanks particularly to the support from the network of friends
and organisations around the world that have continued to donate relevant
literature. Since much of the material here is not generally available
in bookshops and even major libraries, the Centre has been attracting the
attention of a growing number people - journalists, academics, students,
and opinion makers. Books from the collection are being reviewed in major
newspapers. The Centre is named after a man who was a very close friend
of Liberty, and we promise to keep alive the spirit of inquiry and courage
that he instilled in everyone around him.
The Institute has decided to make its newsletter a more regular publication.
The purpose is to provide a vehicle for discussion on topical issues and
promotion of values that protect individual rights, political liberties,
and economic freedom. It will also carry information on the Institute's
activities, and news from its network of organisations. An extension of
this involves a feature service for the general media, where op-eds and
feature articles on relevant and topical issues are distributed for publication
in the English and the language press. The first issue of In Defence
of Liberty, has just been released. It focuses on intellectual
property rights, has items on the activities of the Institute, and covers
topical issues like the budget, among other things. The issue is also available
at the web site of the Institute.
The Fountainhead Essay Contest:
Another significant event in the Institute's calendar in 1998, was
the first all-India essay contest for high school students on Ayn Rand's
classic novel, The Fountainhead. This year we intend to expand the contest
to cover many more institutions. As part of this effort to reach out to
the student community, the Institute is working to develop an informal
and participatory educational package, integrating ethics, economics and
environment, aimed at providing a broader perspective and develop critical
The Institute is working to develop an informal and participatory way
of introducing some of the basic concepts of freedom - ethics, economics
and environment - to school children. This involves developing appreciation
of freedom of choice, free markets, and the benefits that accrue to the
social and natural environments. One the texts that we propose to adopt
is The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible, by Ken Schoolland.
Some of the new projects that are being considered.
Join us in this intellectual odyssey on the road to liberty.
Address for correspondence: 96/10 Pushp Vihar
Sector I, New Delhi 110 017.
Liberal Calendar for the New Millennium
Tel: (91)-(11) 6512441 / 6528244 Fax: (91)-(11) 6856992 / 6527868
Julian L. Simon Centre: 259, (2nd
floor), J-block, Saket, New Delhi 110 017.