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This working paper provides civil society groups with tools to discuss the role that can be played by NGO’s in policy making, and to make proposals to ensure that ordinary people in India have the right to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives. These include informed policy processes that are responsive to communities’ needs and which would in turn lead to better policies in Government.
The paper uses three case studies to explore the successes and flaws of civil society engagement in seeking and securing policy change: the ‘Right to Information’ Movement; the ‘Anti-Corruption Movement’; and the 12th five year plan of the Civil Society Planning Commission. It considers how they represent different kinds of interventions by civil society to influence policymaking. In conclusion, it looks at emerging themes in India – how civil society actors feel that policy determination needs to be opened up for both greater access and clearer scrutiny.

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