Policy Advocacy: A collaborative and democratic approach to solving societal issues in India

Policies are clear plans about how a social, political, or economic vision will be achieved and how ideas will be implemented as actions. Policy advocacy can be defined as efforts taken by organizations or groups of individuals to promote a governmental policy and champion it with the help of resources such as groundwork, detailed research, social media marketing, public education, lobbying, and litigation. Policy advocacy can be symbolic and a representation of true democracy being practiced in a free nation. Policy advocacy is initiated by citizens, acting individually or as a collective (Reid, 2001) often represented by nonprofit organizations (Reed, 2006). To elaborate on the tools for policy advocacy, organizations can resort to building public favor by addressing the policy and whether it needs to be implemented, improved, or prevented. In a country like India where a myriad of marginalized groups exist, steering government policies towards the right direction becomes an important job for the Non-Governmental Organisations/Civil Society Organisations and various other organizations who work with the people on a grassroots level. The first step would be to detect the loopholes in a particular policy- this can be achieved by doing subsequent research and collecting data. The research would just not be limited to finding faults but it would also help generate solutions to bridge the gaps. The next and the most important step is to involve stakeholders of the society who are directly affected by the policy decisions and also the ones who would actively contribute to correct the policy to achieve its goals (for the betterment of the society). The final step lies in execution which requires lobbying and providing the decision makers with solutions through findings accompanied by the voices of the concerned citizens who were mobilized by the organizations.  (more…)

Deciphering the Status of the Electoral Bonds Scheme

As the country geared up for the State Assembly Elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry recently, a new wave of political rebuttal surfaced after the Supreme Court reserved its order on a plea that demanded a stay on the sale of electoral bonds. An electoral bond is a promissory note that can be anonymously bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of the State Bank of India to be donated to any eligible political party of their choice. Since its inception in 2018, the electoral bonds scheme has stirred a debate among the transparency activists who fear the scheme to turn into a scam; only this time it would be completely legitimized. (more…)

Gender Samvaad, 2021: A Step Towards Equity and Equality

Beena Paul, a trained mason and a part of the construction industry in Kerala and also the president of the Self Help Group [SHG] that undertakes construction work in the city of Ernakulam which includes renovating parking areas, construction of houses in the panchayat, and many other important construction activities, finds herself grateful to NRLM [National Rural Livelihood Mission] for providing her a platform which has helped her not only in terms of income but also in gaining confidence and in meeting more women like her. Just like her, Singampalli Durga from Andhra Pradesh works along with thirty-five women in the horticulture industry. Together, they were trained by the horticulture department and have grown a new variety of turmeric which is sold to the TATA Trust and the market, benefiting them financially as well as in becoming more confident. (more…)

Urban Slums in India: Improving Redevelopment and Relocation Policies

Overall 6.5 crore of India’s urban population resides in slums. Notably, the majority of the slum population comprises the informal sector labor force who are employed in low-paying jobs. Due to the migration of people to urban areas in search of employment, slums spring up in Indian cities within a matter of days. With an increase in population from the 1990s, growth in the slum areas is registered which implies that the proportion of slums is directly related to the population. According to the latest data, while the distribution of the slum dwellers in different States vary, 35.2 percent of India’s urban population live in slums. (more…)

Roshni Act: Understanding the Contours of the Land Development Scheme of J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 was enacted to vest the ownership rights to the occupants of the State Land with an ambitious objective of meeting the chronic power crisis of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the object of the Act was to use the proceeds of the transaction to fund the hydroelectric projects in J&K, it popularly came to be known as the Roshni (Light) Act. The author, in this paper, has analyzed and elucidated the provisions that are relevant for understanding the Roshni Act along with the various amendments. (more…)

Gig Economy in India: Scope for Policy Regulations & Interventions

The COVID crisis has brought out one of the major downsides of the gig economy. With the current model that majorly favors the employers and has no protection for the employee in times of crisis, it is uncertain that the gig economy can survive without major policy interventions regarding incentives for employees and regulations for employers. For the gig economy to flourish sustainably in India, an affirmative policy push is required in the direction of providing a fiscal stimulus by bringing in some characters of the ‘minimum rights approach’ of the EU. With the COVID crisis leading to the loss of physical jobs and questioning the nature of work, it seems like an apt juncture to find the right amount of regulation for the gig economy in India. (more…)