Empowered People; Resilient Nation
The report highlights the emerging landscape in India and key development challenges that face the country. In doing so it aims to identify key areas that can contribute to transformational change that empower people and build an inclusive, climate-resilient, sustainable development paradigm for 2013-17 and beyond.
As the situational analysis highlights, the root cause for the diverse and multi dimensional challenges that face India is inequality not only in income but also in the access to opportunities. Despite the Government of India’s thrust on inclusive growth, the effectiveness of various initiatives is limited by implementation challenges, lack of transparency, weak monitoring, and inability of the poor women and men, especially those belonging to the marginalized groups to participate and articulate their needs and aspirations. The multidimensional nature of poverty among persistently excluded communities is accentuated by the lack of access to skills, employment and credit with women and urban poor being the most disadvantaged. Though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is declining, new vulnerabilities have emerged among migrants from poorer states. It is estimated that 27 of the 35 States in India are prone to disaster risks. In addition, impending climate change has rendered the a large section of rural population dependent on climate sensitive sectors vulnerable to risks that threaten food, health, water and livelihood security.
Given the prevailing situation in the country, the objectives of the XIIth Five Year Plan, and UNDP’s mandate, UNDP will continue to focus on the human development approach. The new Country Programme will be designed on the basic principles of human development – equity, efficiency, participation and empowerment, and sustainability which will inform all UNDP initiatives. UNDP’s is well recognized for the support to analysis of the human development situation at the national and sub-national levels in partnership with the Planning Commission for the preparation of Human Development Reports in which India has already acquired a leadership position with the highest number of government owned state and district level HDRs globally88. In continuation of this highly acclaimed initiative, efforts have already been made towards moving beyond analysis to action. This has enabled the application of the human development approach to programmes and policies at national and sub-national levels which could be strengthened, particularly with the objective of addressing inequality and persistent exclusion across all practice areas.
UNDP is also well positioned to address deep rooted governance challenges and support the enhancement of efficiency in implementation mechanisms through identification of specific bottlenecks. UNDP’s support to strengthening implementation of government programmes like the MGNREGS through better systems for outcome monitoring, transparency and accountability will be catalytic. UNDP’s acknowledged expertise in capacity development can be brought to bear to develop capacities of duty bearers at national and state levels to ensure access to justice. UNDP has been engaged in initiatives that expand democratic space for the most excluded and marginalized through platforms for dialogue and feedback between the administration, elected representatives and citizens. This experience can be harnessed to support the engagement of marginalized groups in the monitoring and implementation of the XIIth Plan and in decentralized planning, so as to ensure that they have a greater voice in decision-making. The capacities of elected women representatives will need to be enhanced to ensure better accountability, transparency, responsiveness and inclusiveness in public service delivery and better quality of services. In select states, UNDP in collaboration with other UN agencies is well positioned to support capacity development of the judiciary for gendersensitive application of laws concerning and affecting women and girls by 2017.
To address the challenge of creating sustainable livelihood opportunities, the thrust of UNDP support needs to be on demonstrating effective models for self-employment and empowering poor women to organize their production systems at individual and collective levels even while continuing its engagement with national flagship programmes such as National Rural Livelihood Mission, National Skills Mission and the national mandate for financial inclusion to improve their effectiveness and outreach to disadvantaged population groups and regions. In view of the challenges faced by the urban poor, UNDP’s engagement with formulation and testing of strategies that address specific vulnerabilities of the urban poor will be crucial as multi-stakeholder dialogue brings the voices and concerns of the urban poor into policy-making and enables the urban poor in accessing their rights and entitlements. UNDP will also need to work towards ensuring that poor women, especially those belonging to the marginalized groups such as people living with HIV/AIDS, ultra poor, female-headed households, are engaged in the growth process and also derive benefits from it.
The integration of disaster risk reduction into national disaster management policies and development programmes will be critical for promoting a sustainable and resilient development paradigm. UNDP’s focus will be to ensure low-carbon, climate resilient growth and on maximizing linkages between energy, environment, disaster management and sustainable livelihoods through support to the State governments to prepare State Action Plans on Climate Change and disaster management. Strengthening capacities of key institutions at the national, state and local levels, community institutions mandated for disaster preparedness and biodiversity management, as well as the Urban Local Bodies in a gender sensitive manner would be critical for the purpose. Improving energy efficiency in key sectors such as small and medium enterprises, building and transport, in partnership with the private sector will be essential and there is a need to develop pilots on the valuation of ecosystem services and on mainstreaming conservation in production sectors. UNDP’s support to the government in its efforts to improve water governance and integrated water management and to address land degradation issues will be relevant and strategic.
UNDP’s response to HIV/AIDS needs to concentrate on building management and technical capacities of duty bearers at different levels in order to deliver non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive HIV services to vulnerable populations. Programmatic measures will need to be taken to systematically empower community groups to demand equitable access to social, legal and economic protection. Issues of HIV vulnerability of women from migrant households as well as transgenders need attention.