A Notional Advisory Council?
By Jean Drèze , The Hindu, 10th Jan 2011
It is the fate of most advisory committees that the government accepts whatever advice suits its purposes and ignores the rest. The first version of the National Advisory Council (NAC-1) managed to avoid that fate to some extent, due to favourable circumstances. NAC-1 was able to persuade the government to enact the Right to Information Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and the Forest Rights Act, aside from other initiatives. None of these proposals were accepted without change by the government — for instance, the NREGA draft prepared by NAC-1 was severely diluted before being tabled in Parliament (it was “repaired” later on, with some help from the Parliament's Standing Committee on Rural Development and the Left Parties). Nevertheless, NAC-1 was instrumental in ushering constructive legislations and policies that would, in all likelihood, never have seen the light of day through normal government channels. This lent it some credibility, in spite of all the ambiguities attached to this unconventional body.
The NREGA Rozgaar Guarantee Mela aims to raise issues and discuss all
concerns related to implementation of the National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act, in an open and inclusive atmosphere. The Mela will
therefore have stalls, displays, communications through songs, theatre
etc; help desk for recording of grievances, plenary sessions in which
major issues will be discussed; stories and examples of the impact of
NREGA will also be shared and an attempt will be made to built a
consensus by which some of the problems faced in implementation can be
is a forum for conversations amongst activists and academics on issues relating to science and democracy.