India has a lively NGO scene which derives its strength from the Gandhian tradition of volunteerism. In the 1980s, the NGOs became more specialized and the voluntary movement was fragmented into 3 major groups; firstly, traditional development, secondly, research group on a particular subject in depth and then lobbied with the government or with industry or petitioned the courts for improvements in the lives of the citizens, and thirdly, activist group. All of them play an important role in modern India to hold the politicians accountable to the people.
Civil Society Organizations have quite important roles in Indian society and politics. During the past few years, concerns over corruption have sparked wider-spread discontent. CSOs therefore led a countrywide anti-corruption campaign and demanded stronger laws and greater oversight. Because of new technology and increased transparency, citizens, CSOs and the media are engaging in the election much more than in the past.
In 2012, the Election Commission of India had its first formal consultation with Civil Society Organizations from across the country on “inclusive voting and electoral participation”. The ECI aimed to call for active support of civil society organizations for high registration and high voter turnout. The main goal is to build wider social support in favour of participatory democracy and to promote and sustain it through election education and voter participation. Around 40 CSOs from across the country working in the field of voter education, women empowerment, inclusion and other related fields participated in this consultation.
Dr. Devinder Singh, Role of Civil Society in Indian Democracy, -,http://www.internationalseminar.org/XIV_AIS/TS%202/3.%20Devinder%20Singh.pdf.
Ravi Duggal, Elections in India: Transparency, Accountability, and Corruption, International Budget Partnership May 14, 2014, http://www.internationalbudget.org/2014/05/elections-in-india-transparency-accountability-and-corruption-2/.
Election Commission of India, ECI holds First Consultation with Civil Society Organizations on Inclusive Voting and Electoral Participation, Sep 21, 2012, http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/current/PN21092012.pdf.