Over the past decade, the government of India has adopted a rights-based framework to promote development. This is evident from the legislation of the Right to Education Act, Right to Information and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. However, the realization of these rights is hindered by a number of impediments – both on the part of the government and on the part of citizens.
On the part of the government the challenges to securing these rights and entitlements include inadequate capacities in the government machinery, inadequate resource allocation and inefficient resource utilization. An informed an empowered citizenry can go a long way in accessing and demanding its rights and entitlements. Limitations like lack of awareness and inability to unite in collective action can prevent it from doing so. Similarly, inadequate civil society voice and preparedness is an important hindrance.
Samarthan’s approach involves addressing the citizen-side impediments through capacity building, handholding support and creation of citizen’s groups. The government-side impediments are addressed through evidence-based advocacy for greater accountability and transparency and by promoting greater participation of people’s institutions in governance. Our work of strengthening civil society is an important part of our approach to securing people’s rights and entitlements