Civil Society Collaboration in India
The Dutch government has a new policy of supporting political advocacy by NGOs around the world in order to promote inclusive and sustainable development. Because it is a new policy they have invited researchers to critically examine the policy. I am working with five post-doctoral fellows, two consultants, a faculty member from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a faculty member from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi to understand what civil society collaborations look like from an Indian perspective.
The research project studies advocacy collaborations between civil society organizations (CSOs) working at the grassroots, national and international levels in India. Unlike other studies of transnational advocacy networks, this project focuses on the contributions of collaboration to the agency and work of Indian CSOs at the domestic level. It examines how the different capacities, viewpoints, and forms of power and legitimacy shape these CSO’s domestic political roles as they interact with each other and navigate the opportunities and constraints connected with collaboration. We are looking at two themes: disaster management and women’s rights. My contributions are primarily focused on the women’s rights theme.
There’s a nice video here that describes the project.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Civil Society in India
This project investigates how a 2013 law in India that mandates corporations to engage in philanthropy is shaping the civil society sector in India.
The 2013 Companies Act in India replaced a 1958 set of regulations for the governance of private corporations. One of the new provisions requires companies to join public sector firms in annual donations under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). All firms with net worth above $75 million, turnover over $150 million, or net profit over $750,000 are required under Section 135 to spend at least 2% of their annual profits (averaged over 3 years). This is a major innovation with the state brokering a partnership between the private sector and civil society organizations.
This law is the first of its kind in the world. We don’t know what impact it is having on business, government, and civic life in India. I have been conducting interviews with companies and civil society organizations over the past 3 years in addition to gathering and analyzing publicly available data. I hope to complete my data analysis next year and to begin writing and disseminating my findings. I will be presenting initial findings in Madison at the South Asian Studies annual conference and in Michigan at the Sustainability and Development conference this Fall.