Roles of Civil Society in Changing Context of India

Rajesh-TandonSociety for Participatory Research in Asia president Rajesh Tandon delivering the Samarjit Ray memorial lecture in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Former chief secretary K Madhava Rao is at left.

Rajesh Tandon, co-founder and president of Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) said that the challenge for civil society is to redefine its identity and questioned as to where the civil society belongs to.

While speaking about the changes in civil societies, he said that a lot of voluntary organisations have emerged, which instead of pursuing social commitments are pursuing business and commercial intentions.

Speaking at a lecture entitled “Roles of Civil Society in Changing Context of India” which was organised on the occasion of 70th birth anniversary of late Smarajit Ray, co-founder of Andhra Pradesh Mahila Abivrudhi Society (APMAS) on Tuesday at the SERP conference hall at Hermitage complex, HUDA building, Nampally.

“I think that we are in a severe crisis as the Supreme Court took 62 years to order that minerals under the lands belong to title holders, tribals,” said Rajesh Tandon and added that the government displaces tribals for the sake of private companies and names under the guise of national interest projects BN Yugandhar, former planning commission member, observed that chaotic changes in the country are not captured correctly to understand society and questioned the role of civil society. He added that helping labourers in forming unions and in demanding their rights comprises civil society movement.

Rukmini Rao, development sector activist, brought up gender issues plaguing the society and questioned as to why women are pushed towards margins and as to how the  civil society is dealing with their issues. She observed that the civil society has not taken sides in favour of the poor and the marginalised while failing to support labor union movements.

“There is some crisis of vision for all of us and nations problems are getting solved as people are not empowered” said Malla Reddy, director, Axion Fraterna. He also said that if self help groups, cooperative organisations and other kinds of civil society organisations come together then the public will be aware of their rights and fight against injustice.

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