What is the relevance of civil society organisations today?
- Civil society is the name given to the arena which lies beyond the private domain of the family, but outside the domain of both state and market.
- Civil society is a non-state and non-market part of the public domain in which individuals get together voluntarily to create institutions and organisations.
- It is a sphere of active citizenship: individuals take up social issues, try to influence the state or make demands on it, pursue their collective interests or seek support for a variety of causes.
- It consists of voluntary institutions formed by a group of citizens. It includes political parties; media institutions, trade unions, NGOs, religious organisations and other kinds of collective entities.
- The main criteria for inclusion in civil society are that the organisation should not be state controlled, and it should not be purely profit making entity.
- Examples :- Doordarshan is not a civil society entity though private television channels are. The Indian people had an encounter with authoritarian rule during ‘Emergency’ enforced between June 1975 and 1977. Forced sterilisation programs; censorship on media and government officials; civil liberties revoked.
Civil Society Today :-
- Today the activists of civil society organizations have a wide range of issues including advocacy and lobbying activity with national and international agencies as well as active participation in various movements.
- The issues taken jip range from tribal struggles for land rights; devolution of urban governance; campaigns against rape and violence against women, primary education reform, etc.
- Media, also, has started to play an important role in the civil society initiatives.
- Example :- The Right to Information. Beginning with agitation in rural Rajasthan for the release of information on government funds spent on village development, this effort grew into a nation-wide campaign. Despite opposition from the bureaucracy. Government was forced to respond to the campaign and pass a new law formally acknowledging citizens’ right to information.
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Solution What is the Relevance of Civil Society Organisations Today? Concept: State and Civil Society.