Deliberative policy-making is the cornerstone of democratic governance. With a view to bringing the felt needs of vulnerable communities front and centre, and to further inform broad-based and inclusive processes, in March, we brought out ‘For Equality & Justice: A People’s Agenda’. The document has emerged out of consultative processes lasting many months in several states with various communities, community-based organizations, civil society organizations and peoples’ movements.
‘For Equality & Justice’ represents the concerns and needs of people from marginalized communities such as Dalits, tribal people, nomadic tribes and de-notified tribes (NT-DNT) and minorities, focusing on women among them. These communities form the multitudes of farmers and agricultural labourers, fish-workers, and rural and urban informal workers in the country. ‘For Equality & Justice’ encompasses a range of issues such as the protection of commons (natural resources for use by all and to protect ecology); the need for land reforms; enabling access and control over land, forest and water resources for tribal people, nomadic and de-notified communities and women; the rights and entitlements of workers; provision of housing as a right; ensuring urban governance; right to education; and effective and timely disaster response and mitigation.
At a time when we are witnessing worsening inequalities and a crisis of ecology marked by climate change, while strengthening legal frameworks and protective mechanisms, it is necessary to bring forth the protagonism of dispossessed communities and support their struggles for social and ecological justice. Our objective in publishing ‘For Equality & Justice’ was to enable progressive actions, based on the leadership of excluded communities, feminist principles and inter-community synergies.
Working together with people’s groups and social organizations in several states, we all have taken people’s ideas, asks and aspirations to all major political parties, national and regional, both to the leadership and to the candidates in the field. Besides, pieces written by our Executive Director, Sandeep Chachra, focusing on these agendas, were recently published in Dainik Bhaskar and Development News. We also launched a social media campaign where we released a series of posters and video clips with the hashtag, #ForEqualityAndJustice.
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