Thematic Areas of Work

Environment and water governance is the need of the hour for human existence, a concern also reflected in the millennium development goals. Conflict between community, local government and industry on environmental issues are on the rise due to a variety of reasons which include dislocation of locals, over exploitation of natural resources, environmental pollution, loss of indigenous employment, conflicting role and ambiguity among different institutions responsible for ensuring environmental governance and conservation and management of natural resources. AADHAAR believes that environmental degradation and social injustice” go hand in hand. In order to have sustainable, balanced development, it is important that all the stakeholders are informed and given space to participate in the development process. Efforts would need to be made to engage and involve various stakeholders for seeking mutually agreeable solutions (as opposed to confrontational approach).

AADHAAR Work Involves:
• Simplification of technical laws, policies and procedures for informed participation of workers and the local community- in articulating their needs and demands and use of available constitutional and legal space.
• Enhancing capacities of local governments, civil society and community on environmental issues and their roles and responsibilities in order to work towards improved policies and practices.
• Increasing awareness and sensitivity regarding the issues of rights and entitlements of community and local governments among various stakeholders like industries, pollution control boards, government, elected representatives of local governments and doctors/medical professionals etc
• Creating platforms for multiple stakeholders for mutual understanding, cooperation and participation.
• Enabling the community to participate in environmental degradation issues and dialogue with industry, environmental regulatory authorities and local governments.
• Social Impact
• Water shed planning and preparation of detail project reports and awareness on Water Conservation and Management
• Hygiene and Sanitation education, training and campaign
• Disaster mitigation planning and awareness generation
• Participatory research on environmental issues and role of local government in addressing environmental issues
The social and economic structures based on formal and informal norms and practices are the underlying causes of gender inequality in our society. Declining girl child sex ratio, social stereotype, increasing violence at the domestic and societal level on women, discrimination against women and girls are few of the manifestation of this discrimination. Women have inadequate access to education, health and productive economic resources especially among women belonging to weaker sections of the society i.e. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other backward Classes and minorities
AADHAAR believe that there is a need to create an enabling environment for the advancement, development and empowerment of women and to enable them to realise their full potential. This could be achieved through equal participation of women in social, political and economic spheres of the society and decision making and ensuring equal accesses to health care, quality education, employment and equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.

AADHAAR Work Involves:
• Awareness generation on legal systems aimed at elimination of all forms of discrimination against women through trainings on gender, domestic violence and sexual harassment etc.
• Campaign to change societal attitudes and community practices through gender sensitisation and active participation and involvement of both men and women.
• Mainstreaming gender perspective in the development process- Planning , Gender Audit, and Gender mainstreaming in institutions
• Women political empowerment by enabling them to effectively participate in the local governance by building their capacities on various aspects of leadership and local governance.
• Building and strengthening networks and partnerships with civil society, particularly women’s organisations.
Governance entails that each person has an equal say in decision-making and equal opportunity to influence government outcomes irrespective of their caste, class, gender and creed. Some of the key features of governance include
• The rule of law – equal before law and the legal system is fair;
• Transparency in policy making institutions by ensuring information in the public domain;
• Responsiveness of institutions and processes in serving all
• Equity in provision of equal opportunities to men and women
• Accountability of the public and private institutions to the citizens
• Effectiveness and efficiency in optimum use of resources
• Consensus in mediating the different needs to reach the best interests of all groups with a long-term vision on human development.There are a number of instances, both in India and around the world, where citizens’ involvement in processes of decision-making, monitoring and evaluation have significantly improved the existing systems and practices. Examples include participatory budgeting process in Latin American and European countries, referendum, watershed management committees, forest management committees, village education Committees etc. Involving citizens in the governance process advocates local government, which adopts liberal democratic systems of governance and is responsive to citizen. Gandhi ji also advocated “Independence must begin at the bottom. This vision of Gandhi ji is reflected in the constitution, especially in article 40, which talks about creation of Panchayats. Under the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments in 1992, local self-governance in the country was established through Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies. These amendments devolve powers to the local bodies to prepare their own plans for economic development and social justice at the local level (Article 243G and 243W). It was also envisaged that through Gram Sabhas and wards sabhas/ mohalla committees (citizens assembly), citizen will meet on regular intervals to discuss and prepare the plans for their village and cities and ensure accountability of these elected bodies.
But Ironically, the Panchayats and Municipalities were converted into “Implementing Agent” of State and Central governments. Instead of allowing Panchayats and municipalities to prepare and develop their own agenda, they were handed over various agenda by the State and Central governments. Line departments of state (water, health education, rural development and urban development etc) are treating local bodies as their extension rather than as local self-governance structures. Fiscal strength of local bodies has not changed significantly since 1994, though 3-4 state finance commissions have come into existence and gone by silently.
Gram Sabhas meetings are marked by low participation especially of women and the members of the weaker sections thus limiting opportunities for them to put their issues in forefront and identify solutions. Newly elected Panchayat leaders do not get opportunities to learn about their role/responsibilities and function of Panchayats and are thus not able to perform their roles effectively. Women representatives are still very much dependent on males to carry out the duties in the Panchayat as well as in panchayat functioning and decision-making. The leaders from the weaker section of the society are not accepted as leaders in the true spirit who work under the pressure of the influential section. In addition, children below the age of 18 are not considered as formal members of the Panchayats. Thus there is no opportunity for them to raise their concerns, issues and demand solutions

AADHAAR believes that:
• Citizens should be at the centre of local governance and have direct control on local governments and governance process.
• Citizens should have space to recall representative of local governments if they fail to do justice with their roles and duties.
• Citizen should have the right to meet from time to time to discuss their priorities, plan and select the beneficiary for schemes and ensure transparency and accountabilities from local government officials and representatives.
AADHAAR Work Involves:
• Capacitating Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban local bodies through developing their knowledge base and skills
• Facilitating Gram Sabha mobilisation and strengthening other citizen led transparency and accountability mechanisms.
• Facilitating Micro and District Planning.
• Preparing guiding manuals, Information packs and material on roles- Functional and administrative domains of local governments.
• Training needs assessment and facilitating trainings for elected representatives and officials on roles and responsibilities, planning, budgeting, social audit, District planning etc.
• Research and advocacy on fiscal and functional decentralisation and devolution.
• Awareness building and capacity development of citizen’s on Right to Information, Social Audit, Forest Right Act, PESA etc.
Though there are a number of constitutional provisions to safeguard Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Women and Children from exploitation, exclusion and to protect their social, educational, political, economic and cultural interests, their situation has not improved significantly. The practice of untouchability in few social realms (as reported in the media regularly) is a matter of national shame. The Tribal are being pushed to the peripheries of human existence. Women are still not treated with respect and despite constitutional provisions, the right to survival, protection, participation and development is regularly encroached upon.
AADHAAR feels that an effective mechanism and institutional frame work needs to be evolved and strengthened to ensure basic human rights and dignity of life of all citizens especially scheduled caste, Scheduled tribes and women.• Building awareness on constitutional and legal provisions to safeguard Scheduled caste, Scheduled tribes, women and other vulnerable groups.
• Awareness generation, training, research and advocacy for effective implementation of panchayat extension in scheduled Areas act (PESA) and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, The juvenile justice (care and Protection of Children) act, 2000, and THE CHILD LABOUR (PROHIBITION AND REGUALTION) ACT, 1986 AND RULES etc
• Building capacities of women and men elected leaders on the aspects related with their role, identities, leadership and governance aspects.
• Creating enabling structure/network to support leaders at block and district level; Mobilising social justice committees in GPs/MCs,
• Forming alliance/network at block level and interfacing with SC and ST commission and other traditional and political leaders.
• Interfacing with different policy institutions, Line Departments, Administration, Political Leaders, SC ST Finance corporations, media etc at the district level.
• SIRDs, Commissions including State Women Commission, Ministries, leaders, Media, CSOs at the State level and National level.
Equitable, affordable and accessible quality healthcare across regions and communities especially to the marginalised groups is a far cry in our country. MMR in India is 254 per 1 Lac live births and is highest among 20-24 years age group, 29% of total maternal deaths. As per DLHS 2004, more than 70% girls in the age group 10-19 years suffer from severe to moderate anemia. This shows that young girls and women in the 10-24 age groups are under higher risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, giving birth to underweight babies and death. In addition, only 8% of married adolescents have been using contraception method. This makes them vulnerable to frequent unintended pregnancies and communicable disease like STIs/RTIs and HIV (NFHS data).
Under-five child deaths in India are the highest in the world. India contributes 2.38 million to the 10.8 million child deaths that take place globally. Nearly 26 million infants are born each year out of which 1.2 millions die before completing the first 4 weeks of life and 1.7 million die before reaching the first birthday . The child mortality rate is considerably higher for girls (37 deaths per 1000) than for boys (25 deaths per 1000) (IIPS 2000), this clearly depicts the gender-based discrimination against girl child vis-à-vis access to nutrition, health care and opportunities for education and employment.

AADHAAR Work Involves:
• To work towards ensuring availability of quality healthcare on equitable, accessible and affordable basis across regions and communities with special focus on marginalised groups.
• To work for reduction in maternal and child (0-6) mortality though awareness generation and capacity building of men, women on safe delivery, immunisation, (ANC &PNC), newborn care, breast feeding, spacing, nutrition and hygiene etc.
• Strengthening and supporting public health system and service providers by developing capacity, evidence based research, lobbying and advocacy on institutional issues, and foster better convergence and synergy between health department, ICDS, local government and citizen.
• To work to reduce the incidence of communicable diseases through awareness generation and IEC.