Bringing the voice of vulnerable communities into the discourse on development

29th April 2019

 Domestic workers union meeting -  Bhopal, MP
Domestic workers union meeting - Bhopal, MP

Through the eyes of the dispossessed
Amplifying the voice of the marginalised
Bringing the voice of vulnerable communities into the discourse on development

Deliberative policy-making is the cornerstone of democratic governance. The document For Equality & Justice: A Peoples’ Agenda aims to embody this maxim by bringing the need of peoples and vulnerable communities front and centre to further inform and make broad-based and inclusive the processes of formulating development policy. The document has been compiled through extensive discussions in multiple states with various communities, community-based organisations, civil society organisations and people’s movements.

It represents the concerns and needs of people from marginalized communities, including Dalits, tribal peoples, and especially nomadic tribes and de-notified tribes (DNT) and minorities, and amongst them focusing on women. These sections form the multitudes of farmers and agricultural labourers, fishworkers and rural and urban informal workers in the country. The document builds upon the idea that the current rights framework, which is predicated on individual human rights, must be expanded towards the establishment of collective rights and the protection of collective goods or commons.

Therefore, it carries recommendations for ensuring the protection and rehabilitation of commons such as water. Thus it emphasises policies to enable access and control over the land, forest and water resources of tribal peoples, who have been historically and unjustly denied access yet play an important role in conserving and maintaining them in all their traditional and customary wisdom. The document encompasses a range of issues such as the rights and entitlements of workers, the need for land reforms, provision of housing as a right, ensuring urban governance, the right to education, and effective and timely disaster response and mitigation.

What emerged principally in the conversations we had with women’s organisations across the states, were the need to recognize the role of women in the worlds of work, to uphold the principle of equal pay for equal work and to accord women engaged in agriculture the status of farmers. The demand for 50% reservation for women from the Panchayat to Parliament came up strongly in all the meetings. Members of the Pramila Bahini, which works on land rights and against human trafficking in West Bengal, activists working at the Gauravi One Stop Crisis Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and leaders from Swaraj Network of Karnataka, all spoke about the need to actively implement the provisions to prevent violence against women and accord justice to survivors.

 Nai pahal Project - UP
Nai pahal Project - UP

Activists with the Mahila Adhikar Manch, an organization active in Nalanda District, Bihar, spoke about the need to issue Kisan Credit Cards to women farmers, to promote co-operatives of women farmers and the extension of all rights and entitlements to women farmers. In West Bengal the Paschim Banga Griha Paricharika Samiti, an organization of domestic workers spoke about the need to recognize the work of women across various spheres as labour, the need to ensure equal pay and secure working conditions. The meetings with the Ekal Nari Shakti Manch brought focus on the need to extend the status of single women and its associated rights and entitlements to not just widows, but also to divorcees, separated wives, women with missing husbands and unmarried women. They demanded a policy for single women that would ensure their social security.

Conversations on the issues related to rural India ranged from land rights, to forced labour and the need to promote climate resilient sustainable agriculture. The Kisan Majdoor Chetna Sanghatan in Madhya Pradesh shed light on the issues of farmers and land rights, and called for the provision of five acres of land for landless farmers. The Dalit Adhikar Manch in Bihar and the Musahar Manch in Uttar Pradesh spoke about land rights of backward sections, especially Dalits. They spoke about the need to provide both homestead land and agricultural land for the landless.

The specific issues of panchami and mahar lands were raised. These are lands that were issued to Dalit and other backward communities but are in the possession of others. There is a need to ensure that the title deeds were issued to the legitimate claimants of the land. Similarly, all land disputes need to be reviewed and in cases where despite the existence of land titles in the name of Dalit farmers, the land is in the possession of others, the cases need to be settled in fast track courts in favour of the legitimate claimant.

Dalit Dasta Virodhi Abhiyan, an organization working with Dalits in Punjab spoke about the need to stringently implement all the legal provisions to end forced labour, bonded labour and human trafficking in India. The Disaster Risk Reduction Committee in Maharashtra emphasised the participation of the village and rural communities in planning and implementation of schemes to promote sustainable agriculture in drought-prone areas in the country, especially like the region of Marathwada’s Jhalna and Aurangabad Districts.

Regarding unorganized labour the primary need articulated was the strict implementation of minimum wages across the country and ensuring basic needs of regular employment, food security, health and housing. Dehadi Majdoor Sanghatan, Uttar Pradesh spoke about the need to fix minimum wages at the rate of Rs 18,000/- per month, and also raised the need of regularizing and systematizing labour posts so that informal workers who come to sell their labour at these spaces have proper places to wait, with drinking water and access to free toilets.

The Jaipur based Rajasthan Kachchi Basti Mahasangh spoke about housing needs of migrant workers especially those who live in informal settlements. They raised the issue of homes for the homeless, basic civic services for all informal settlements and adequate rehabilitation for those whose houses and settlements are demolished.

In March 2019 more than 300 leaders from more than 40 tribal organisations from across 10 states met in Raipur, Chhattisgarh in a Rashtriya Adivasi Adhiveshan and called for the effective implementation of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA).

 Meeting with people's organisation - Jharkhand
Meeting with people's organisation - Jharkhand

Through PESA they sought to ensure the effective and democratic evolution of traditional forms of self-governance, and through the FRA they wanted tribal communities to take on the responsibility of protecting forests, forest lands, water bodies and minerals as commons to be used for the good of all humankind. Tribal organisations including the Adivasi Janjati Adhikar Manch, Jungle Bachao Andolan, National Adivasi Alliance and Khedut Majdoor Chetna Sangh, have called for building a new positive relationship with tribal communities to ensure the spread of education and improving living conditions to ensure that the future is not a mirror of a past that has seen so much injustice.

The need for ensuring access to education, employment and livelihood for nomadic tribes and de-notified tribes (NTDNT) was expressed as was the need to pass a law in Parliament to set up a permanent National Commission for Nomadic Tribes and De-notified Tribes. Identity cards, land rights and housing rights for NTDNT communities was raised. Civic services to existing settlements of nomadic tribes, especially road access, electricity, water supply and proximate schools was demanded. Steps needed to be taken to remove the continuing stigma against denotified tribes and to enhance security, including the repeal of the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952, which in many ways has replaced the British colonial notification of the so called ‘criminal tribes’.

Education dominated the child rights agenda. The demand was for the strict implementation of the Right to Education Act to ensure that all children get equal access to quality education. Activists and volunteers associated with Nai Pahal, the joint programme being implemented in collaboration with the Government of Uttar Pradesh and UNICEF spoke about the need to take steps to ensure enrolment of all out-of-school children in schools, ensuring clean toilets and safe drinking water in schools.

Activists involved in the running of Child Friendly Spaces set up with UNICEF in Jammu & Kashmir spoke about the need to serve children whose education has been disrupted and the need to create alternative avenues of the educational development and mental well-being by ensuring they have access to opportunities to grow, play and learn.

Our activists who have long experience of disaster risk-reduction, response and rehabilitation spoke about the need to institute standard operating procedures that would call for focus on children, youth, women, the aged and people with disability during rescue and relief operations and in resilience building and risk reduction programmes. These sections of society are most vulnerable in emergencies and help ground resilience building activities.

We are witnessing a crisis of ecology, which is marked by climate change, worsening inequalities, multiple and protracted conflicts and mass displacements. These issues cannot be addressed unless we challenge the hegemonic forces of social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental exploitation. The way forward entails bringing forth the knowledge and protagonism of dispossessed communities and supporting their struggles for social and ecological justice, while strengthening legal frameworks and protective mechanisms.

We have helped compile this document and the demands herein to provide people across all spectrums of belief and opinion a template for mobilising and undertaking progressive actions which are based on the leadership of excluded and vulnerable communities, feminist principles and inter-community synergies. We also hope that this document will propel further discussions and deliberations, thus deepening democratic spaces and discursive policy-making in the country.

Sandeep Chachra,
Executive Director,
ActionAid Association

* This Press Release was sent to by Mathai Joseph who can be contacted at Mathai(DOT)Joseph(AT)actionaid(DOT)org
This Press Release was posted on April 30 2019

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • 2019 HSLC Exam Toppers :: Gallery
  • HSLC Toppers share thoughts, aspirations
  • CFP on 'Photoacoustics' at IEEE TENCON
  • Arrival of Fall Armyworm in Manipur
  • Youth and Contemporary Issues #4
  • No Escape from Real World :: Poem
  • Civil & Structural Engineer at R-Square
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square DCS
  • 'NPF Manipur is directionless leadership'
  • HSLC :: Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC :: Subject Topper
  • HSLC :: Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC :: Full Roll No Listing
  • HSLC :: Compartmental
  • Dairies of 2 Tours in Naga Hills : Book
  • Kohima Press Club (KPC) elects new team
  • Manipur : The unsung fashion capital
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson disease
  • 2nd Foundation Day of NDPP
  • Changing face of the North East
  • 129th Birth Anniversary of Ho Chi Minh
  • Understanding performance of Govt school
  • Amazing Folk-tales of Koireng Tribe
  • Fashion by Kumarjit Laishram #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 76 :: Poem
  • Plastic Pollution & its effect
  • Significance of Nurses Week celebration
  • Legal Assistance to Prisoners' Family
  • Talk on 'Alliance - Biblical Perspective'
  • Shorthand/Stenography Typing Course
  • Fissures with a coalition partner
  • 4 plus 4 is always equal to 8
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament : Gallery
  • Socio-cultural significance of Gudui-Ngai
  • Diesel auto vs Traffic control :: Artwork
  • Future of Moreh: Development partnership..
  • An alarming stay in a hotel
  • Naga Students Delhi Admission help Desk
  • Need to focus on the average students too
  • The politics of rumours
  • Phayeng Koubru Haraoba #4 : Gallery
  • Chinsuanlam, Apakpi :: eMing
  • ELVEEGO : Top 10 Promising Companies
  • Myanmar Refugee Problem : Report
  • Mother :: Poem
  • Minerva Punjab FC to conduct trials
  • Represent the people, not only party
  • When vegetables slowly poison us?
  • Hr Sec Exam 2019 Toppers #2: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #2: Gallery
  • Dear Mother :: Poem
  • Youth and Contemporary Issues #3
  • Why are Govt schools lagging behind ?
  • Career option in Veterinary Science
  • Saluting Mothers of the world
  • Will Sharmila have a Third Life ?
  • NE for efforts to address illegal influx
  • Rs 10 coins not acceptable in Manipur!
  • Agri Fair @ CAU #2 : Gallery
  • Khomlen Manglanda - A Play #2 : Gallery
  • AMWJU new terms 2019-2021
  • Run for Raisina Hill
  • Happy Mother's Day
  • Mother's Day
  • Aspiration in Medical Career
  • MPSC : Wallowing in dirt
  • Why the 1st Bird Sanctuary in Thinungei
  • Purnima Moirangthem : 5th in Commerce
  • Respect for a mother
  • Academic excellence is not everything
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #6
  • A Dwarfish Whole :: Poem
  • Takayasu Arteritis treated at SKY Hospital
  • Mercury rise: Is it common men fault
  • Ajit Ningthouja :: eRang Photos
  • Had not there been ILPS agitation ? : Story
  • Dance & folk songs of natives of NE #2
  • BJP for NE Community Campaign in Delhi
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Serou dam-Atypical structure in Chakpi river
  • Benefits of automation in medical laboratory
  • Civil Servant from Matupi hospitalized...
  • Madness on the roads of Imphal
  • Root of peoples' anger to doctors
  • Jiribam Bazaar :: 360 Panorama View
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Cry of a Dying River - 75 :: Poem
  • What Yoga is & is not ?
  • Rio at General Conference of NSF
  • Make right choice in selecting your campus
  • Suspension Order for 19 NPF Members
  • Festival of marks and more marks
  • worry on condition of Govt Schools
  • Thailand Princess @Kangla #2 :: Gallery
  • Kadigampou, Akeng :: eMing
  • Ningombam Tampha :: 3rd in ISC Exam
  • Our Grammy goes to Thangmeiso Shinglai
  • Call for application from youths
  • Life is not about how far you hang on
  • NERIST admission notice : PG & PhD
  • Seminar at MU : Material Engineering
  • Class XII : Looking beyond Imphal
  • Understanding Consumers' rights
  • HSE : Candidates securing Highest Marks
  • HSE 2019 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE 2019 : Arts Stream Result
  • HSE 2019 : Commerce Stream Result
  • HSE 2019 Toppers : Science
  • HSE 2019 Toppers : Arts
  • HSE 2019 Toppers : Commerce
  • HSE 2019 : Result Abstract
  • HSE 2019 : District Wise
  • Solid waste management in Imphal
  • Naga Ancestral Freedom Movement
  • My franchise for Mom's Primary
  • Bamboo based industries in Manipur
  • Is sugar ageing you
  • Competition among schools
  • Will modification help in solving traffic chaos
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 :: Gallery
  • MANFETE 2019 at MU :: Gallery
  • What is Change ?
  • The integrity of Manipur
  • Dance & folk songs of natives of NE #1
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #5
  • Understand kids with developmental delay
  • Meet with Fortis Hospital, Delhi
  • Understanding idea of NE
  • Mr. Edn Min, please act like Manish of Delhi
  • Ibudhou Oknarel & Khudithibi
  • May Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Facts & fakes of poll prediction
  • Sketches & Notes of Summertime :: Poem
  • The other Face of 'May -Day'
  • Check-up for new born- Split Spine Defect
  • Retaining Walls & Flooding in Moirang
  • Gearing up for counting day
  • Religion profile of Manipur: Impact study #2
  • Andro Girls won Doon Cup :: Gallery
  • Rajbans Huidrom : Topper CBSE XII
  • Cry of a Dying River - 74 :: Poem
  • St. Joseph's School, Sugnu Imbroglio
  • Bier of English towards the burial ground
  • World Press Freedom Day observed
  • A lesson from Mandella
  • Nongdol Leima- Dance Drama #1:: Gallery
  • Human Trafficking to SE Asia via NE
  • Youth and Contemporary Issues #2
  • Laipubam Nitish at St Gallen Symposium
  • Value of music
  • Engineers wanted at Multimind Software
  • Free Medical Camp at Suangdai
  • The great search Ops post Apr 28
  • Transforming adversity to opportunity
  • Tributes on Khongjom Day #2 :: Gallery
  • M Diana: National Women Social Award
  • Handloom show : Robert Naorem & Soma
  • A spooky night that left us shaking
  • AB Mathur meets Thadou Students
  • Transportation as a service
  • Show Cause Notice : NPF Nagaland
  • Opinion expressed by some NPF Bearers..
  • CBSE results : Raining marks all over
  • Mission - Save Manipur
  • Urmila Shagolsem: Miss India 2019 Finalist
  • Thang Ta @Sangai Fest #5 :: Gallery
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #4
  • A half-written promise
  • The Chakkawar (Burnt-rice)
  • Play safe with natural ingredients
  • Rahmani Prog. Students succeeded in JEE
  • Collective efforts to address 'illegal influx'
  • High alert in Manipur as Cyclone Fani..
  • Manipur observes May Day
  • Board To Release 12th Results Soon
  • Presentation on Naga at UN contains errors..
  • NSCN (I-M) vacates camp in Manipur
  • Yaoshang Halankar #2 :: Gallery
  • Are Political Parties true to their Manifestoes
  • A North-East Indian in the land of smiles
  • Words :: Poem
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Anglo-Manipur war from military point of view
  • Youth and Contemporary Issues #1
  • Yubi Lakpi :: Gallery
  • Peeshumlei : Book Release :: Gallery
  • Serpents are Farmers' Companion
  • When a school is burnt
  • Significance of festival: Nanu-Ngai
  • Onetwo Okram - Singer #1 :: eRang
  • dsnihe :: Seireng
  • Heikrujam Jodha at Global, Geneva
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Tributes on Khongjom Day #1 :: Gallery
  • JRF @ Dept of Forestry, MU
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba @ Pune : Gallery
  • Romita Yumnam : Mrs India Queen
  • Was Cleopatra really beautiful ?
  • Romance of insurgency in 1970s #2
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba observed at Pune
  • Zero malaria should start with me
  • Significance of Shri Mad Bhagabatam #1
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland State BJP President
  • Naming wives as prime suspects
  • The social lacunae
  • Religion profile of Manipur: Impact study #1
  • Folk Dance @Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [April 14] : Gallery
  • Traditional warfare technique of NE native #2
  • Khomlen Manglanda - A Play #1 : Gallery
  • Khongjom Numit: Commemoration
  • Wu Cheng'en at Yuntai Mountain :: Review
  • Shivaratri Shopping List #2 : Gallery
  • Pherzawl - a dying District! ?
  • Tributes to PLA killed #2 : Gallery
  • A talk with Ajit Ningthouja :: eRang
  • LS : Voting for Inner : Gallery
  • CC Meet Final: NEROCA Vs SU #2: Gallery
  • Ibendhou Kounu Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #2: Gallery
  • Khomlen Manglanda : Play synopsis
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #3: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #1: Gallery
  • Mittong Khunou: The Battle Honour of INA
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Yangnu Golmei : Sangeetbhusan 2018
  • Selfie da track :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirarakhong Village, Ukhrul :: 360 View
  • Muhammad Abdur Rahman Khutheibam
  • MSAC Literary Meet @Chandigarh : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019