GOVERNANCE LOCAL DEMOCRACY STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
In India, the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts, 1993 were intended to transform gram panchayats at the village level and municipalities at urban local body level, into self-governing, transparent, representative and accountable entities. Instead the system has been rendered dysfunctional by factors including caste, gender dynamics and apathy on the part of respective state governments. This failure of local democracy impacts marginalised communities such as Dalits, tribals, minorities, women, urban poor, contract labourers and farm hands, the hardest They are deprived of a platform to voice their concerns and interests. They are excluded from village development and social welfare schemes. And denied their rights, services and entitlements. This makes them prone to further deprivation and exploitation. And over time, they fall into a cycle of vulnerability that prevents them from participating in the process of democracy and development in an independent or empowered manner.
GOVERNANCE COURTS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
India has one of the highest number of pre-trial detainees or undertrials (UTs) in the world. UTs make up 67.6% (95.7% male and 4.3% female) of the total prison population, as per the Prison Statistics India Report, 2014. Many are in prison for petty offences, and are too poor to secure bail or pay for lawyers. A majority are either Dalits, or from minority communities.