Suresh Prabhu honours Pradeep Mehta for lifetime contribution to consumer welfare

May 03, 2018, New Delhi

Panel reinforces faith in the WTO in spite of attacks

A living treasure as has been called by Professor Jagdish Bhagwati – Pradeep Mehta, the founder Secretary General of CUTS International and one of the stalwarts of civil society movement, was honoured yesterday evening in New Delhi for his lifetime contribution to consumer welfare in India and around the globe.

The honour was formally bestowed by the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu through a video message at a book release and panel discussion event organised by CUTS International.

Prabhu, who was away to South Africa, said Pradeep Mehta’s guidance on issues of economic policy to him and others have been extremely valuable in shaping public policy.

A book, aptly titled – ‘Putting Consumers first – Essays in Honour of Pradeep Mehta’ and edited by the noted political economist Sanjaya Baru with Abhishek Kumar from CUTS International was released in his honour.

Over 45 experts on Trade, Governance and Regulation from around the world contributed essays on these topics to mark Mehta’s contribution in these areas.

Some of the prominent authors who have contributed to this rich book of knowledge include WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, Shashi Tharoor, Sanjaya Baru,  Kishore Mahubani, Peter Varghese, Mohan Kumar, C Rangarajan and Secretary General of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi.

While noted economist, Jagdish Bhagwati has written the adulatory foreword, former Railways Minister and consumer activist, Dinesh Trivedi, MP has crafted a wonderful preface.

Future of Trade Multilateralism

The book release was followed by a panel discussion on the Future of Trade Multilateralism in the era of Unilateralism.  Chaired by Nitin Desai, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, the panel reposed faith in the WTO despite the challenges being faced by the global trade body in the wake of bilateralism and unilateralism.

The star studded panel included Sanjaya Baru, Ambassador Mohan Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Shakti Sinha and Pradeep Mehta.

Unanimously, the panel felt that the attacks on WTO will not sustain as the body has in built resilience and is an imperative in global goverance. It will have to reform some of its regimes such as the dispute settlement system and incorporate the development dimensions keeping the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 agenda in mind to improve its wider acceptance.

Among the participants were experts from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. The occasion also came at a time when Pradeep Mehta turned 70 and CUTS International, the global advocacy group and think tank that he founded completes 35 glorious years.

Under Pradeep Mehta’s leadership the think tank launched its sixth overseas centre in Washington DC in April 2018, thus making CUTS International the first ever Indian think tank to have presence in the US.

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