Discuss the conditions, that in the last few decades, have led to the emergence of a new civil society in urban India. Highlight its contribution in policy change and making governance more effective.

Civil society organizations refer to an organized group of people fighting for their concerns through peaceful means or working towards citizen empowerment. It includes NGOs, Self-help groups, charities, pressure groups, and trade associations & advocacy groups like FICCI, ASSOCHAM, etc.

Conditions that led to their rise:

  • LPG (liberalization, privatization, and globalization) reforms of 1991 paved the way for their emergence.
  • The strengthening of democracy through initiatives like RTI, social audits, and Jansunwai, has led to bodies asking for social accountability.
  • The rise in citizens’ education & awareness led to greater demand for their rights. E.g: Majdoor Kisan shakti sangathan’s protests led to the enactment of RTI.
  • Incapacity of the government to fulfill the developmental objectives led to the development of NGOs.

Contribution in effective governance & policy changes:

  • Led to greater accountability of government institutions. E.g: Protests by associations against corruption led to the enactment of the Lokpal Act.
  • Led to policy changes in financial & economic matters. E.g Protests by Bhartiya Kisan Union led to the revocation of recent Farm Acts.

Participation of civil society organizations has led to greater power devolution and decentralization. Thus, the 2nd ARC has called for their strengthening.

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