Resources and Livelihoods Group

Prayas (Pune), India

Initiatives in Health, Energy and Learning & Parenthood

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Policy and Governance:

Analysis & Advocacy

Development and Governance


Development and Governance


Initiative in

System Dynamics

Development and Governance Discourse 

The work under the Development Discourse and Governance Discourse stream was initiated by the ReLi Group in 2000. The overall goal guiding work under this stream is to contribute to efforts aimed at countering and reversing the current top-down flow of development discourse. We believe that the roots of many socio-economic-political problems in our society can be traced to the conventional model of development that India has adopted. It is necessary to modify and, wherever necessary, bring radical changes in this model, in order to achieve the objective of ensuring livelihoods security of all people. We felt it essential to work at the level of discourse, as discourse plays very important role in legitimizing and perpetuating the policies and practice of development.

When we began working at the discourse level, we realized that development discourse created at the international level has increasingly been playing a crucial role in influencing the discourse, popular rhetoric, policies, and practice of development in many developing countries. The role played by international financial institutions in leading this discourse was also remarkable. Proliferation of new theories, concepts, and formulations with a lot of radical jargon required deeper analysis and critical comprehension. We concentrated on the analysis of debates on the theme of ;Sustainable Livelihoods; and, later, on the theme of Good Governance.

Simultaneously, we began study and analysis of different versions of alternative perspectives, including their substantive and strategic components. We felt that in-depth articulation of alternative development perspective is important in view of the onslaught of the dominant development discourse at international and national levels. To address the impacts of this onslaught, we decided to take the 'bottoms-up' approach. We conceived and facilitated a participatory process of deliberation among senior activists and intellectuals aimed at articulating the alternative development perspective at state level. Senior activists, academics and media persons coming from different ideological and disciplinary backgrounds participated in this process, which was conducted purposefully in the local language of the Maharashtra state, viz., Marathi.

The alternative development perspective so evolved was disseminated in the state of Maharashtra through workshops, presentations, and lectures. Further, we analyzed current issues of public concern from the perspective of alternative development and wrote documents for civil society actors based on our analysis. These main issues covered were proliferation of slums in urban areas and water sector reforms in Maharashtra.

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