Indian National Green Party


National Policy-Community Participation in Government

3.1 Principles
The Indian National Green Party are working according to these principles:
a) the legitimacy of community participation in the making of law and policy should be established as an underpinning principle of all actions of governments;
b) all individuals and community groups should be given the opportunity to participate in decisions which affect them;
c) the contribution of diverse groups provides a valuable addition to available information;
d) the needs of future generations should be recognised in contemporary decision-making;
e) decisions should be made at the most appropriate level; in some cases this will include groupings not currently given decision-making status, such as the neighbourhood;
f) policies, strategies and frameworks should be developed which enable civic infrastructure to facilitate community participation in the business of government;
g) every effort should be made to give marginalised groups opportunities to be effectively involved in decision-making. This will entail longer timelines and the introduction and strengthening of community development practices. Outreach beyond written submissions and public forum techniques will be required;
h) involvement in community consultations should be recognised as work. Support should be provided to community organisations to participate in consultative processes;
i) community participation in decision-making should be an ongoing process, rather than a one-off event which leaves communities out of reviews and changes to policies;
j) the ability of community groups and individuals to gain access to information which will empower them to participate effectively is crucial to meaningful participation; and
k) governments, of all spheres, should produce and follow guidelines to ensure that the community representatives whom they consult on a day to day basis reflect accurately the views of their constituencies.
3.2 Goals
The following goals are set by the Indian National Green Party:
a) In the long term, wherever possible, decision-making should be based on bio-regional considerations and patterns of social interaction;
b) because of the importance of everybody taking part in political life, the Indian National Green Party will work for the principle that leave without pay is automatically granted for anybody standing in an election for public office;
c) community services and local environmental policy should be provided by the closest possible sphere to the consumers of the services;
d) the central government’s domestic role should be to ensure equitable distribution of resources and information, to coordinate services which cut across state boundaries and to ensure that principles of ecological and social sustainability are followed by local governments; and
e) less formal organisations at the level of neighbourhoods country towns, particular interests and issues, etc, should have access to all spheres of government through formal and informal consultative and review procedures.
3.3 Short Term Targets
The Indian National Green Party set the following targets:
a) the move towards a new form of government should be based on wide information-sharing and consultation with all constituencies of India’s population;
b) processes of policy review and decision-making by government and its institutions should be made more open and accessible to the public;
c) Freedom of Information legislation should be widened to make relevant information more accessible and to reduce the cost of attaining information by community groups;
d) those public servants and journalists, etc, who publicise sensitive information of benefit to the community should be encouraged rather than disadvantaged for efforts to inform the public of actions which are not in the community interest;
e) democratically constituted groups which work on behalf of the wider community, or identified constituencies within it, should be adequately resourced to enable them to fulfill their functions;
f) consultative periods should be well advertised and of sufficient length to enable all those interested to participate;
g) relevant documents should be available in places accessible to all members of the public; shopfronts should be set up for this purpose;
h) public meetings should be held at varying times in appropriate places to enable attendance by all affected. In many cases it will be important to provide childcare and transport, as well as access for the disabled for maximum involvement of all constituencies; in some cases, it will be preferable to talk to people in their homes or habitual meeting places rather than to set up a meeting and expect them to attend;
i) information should be presented clearly, graphically and free of jargon;
j) the development of a free-access citizen information and governance participation facility on the Internet should be promoted;
k) existing community networks should be identified and strengthened through community development.