Civil Society

Civil societies act as a watchdog of democracy. It’s a plural discourse contributing immensely in development activities. Growth of modern state and democracy led to a gradual emergence of civil society which  includes NGOs, unions & associations. Civil society has played a crucial role in ensuring effective governance, transparency & social betterment in modern states; thorough agitations, PILs, spreading awareness, relief work etc. Examples of few are-ecological justice and environment protection e.g. Mazdoor kisan Shakti Sangathan in Rajasthan helped farmers during drought condition, Pragya is an NGO in Gurgaon working to educate communities in India and Nepal on the nature of  climatic changes and need for adaptation to ecological change by introducing suitable changes in agriculture and other resources.

Then NGO run by Tata group and Jagrati Sasthan in up runs an annual train journey to improve  community standard and quality of life. Tata group runs NGO for educating children up to 14 yes of age. The focus of civil society have increased towards woman rights, education, health e.g. Jwala NGO in Andhra Pradesh etc.
 Some contributions of civil society:
  1. Actively promoted education and skill development among downtrodden sections of society particularly in backward regions of our country.
  2. Fought for rights of minorities; Naaz foundation for Transgender.
  3. Stood for transparency to ensure a better democracy; Anna Hazare movement for RTI.
  1. Recently decades have seen a spurt in civil society organizations across the country; Many of them do not server the larger interests of society such as lobbying for industrial groups or foreign nations by advocating a policy.
  2. Most do not file annual returns on a regular basis; their funding sources are often remaining disclosed or shady.
  3. Many of them receive substantial foreign funding; but how they spend such funding often remains behind curtains.
  4. Some CSOs such as Greenpeace have accused by state agencies such as IB for instigating villages in vicinity against developmental projects such as POSOCO steel in Orissa; this ate up 2-3% of our GDP.
As far as funds are concerned that needs more transparency and accountability so that it becomes fully infallible and its objection to certain projects they oppose may or may not be fair; it depends on the purpose. E.g. setting nuclear plant, AFSPA issue which are fair still certain projects may be diverted for profit i.e. term of corruption or nepotism.
In your opinion, how should civil society conduct itself in a country like India? Do you think the state should have a say in the conduct of civil society? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Critically analyse the role and contribution of civil society to developmental activities in the country. Do you think some of the criticisms directed towards them regarding source of their funds and their opposition to certain projects, is fair? Comment. (200 Words)



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