In since 1980s, when they were still marginalised

In the last few decades, the field of development in India has been dominated by the so called New Economic Policy. If the 1970s were the years of the ‘myth of the state’, by the end of the 1980s the myth of the market dominated development process. Finally by the end of the 1990s , a new myth was discovered i.e the myth of the market and civil society. It is universal acceptance that the process of building a capable state requires the participation of all the stakeholders and vital forces of a nation. Indian governance system lies on the pillars of the state and non-state actors. Non state actors mainly refers to NGOs, Civil society, Pressure groups and Voluntary organisations.They have been an integral part of policy design, implementation and their evaluation. The concept of ‘Associational Revolution’ i.e exponential increase in its number since 1980s, when they were still marginalised actors in development process, is very common now a days in India where there is one non-state actor for every 600 persons. Generally speaking ,fifth pillar of democracy i.e non-state actors play three important role, as an implementer, a catalyst, and a partner. Although the role of non-state actors have remained only marginal because of late engagement, dependency on government for funding, erosion in credibility etc. but today, non-state actors are actively engaged in community services, mobilisation of thoughts, economic development and societal transformation. They work at various levels and play different roles like creating human infrastructure, capacity building, asset creation, lobbying, advocacy, service delivery etc. These organisations and institutions have taken many forms based on their goals and purpose of involvement in the developmental process. Essentially, they are instruments of people’s action and the means of protecting and promoting vital rights of citizens. In toto non-state actors undoubtedly have been playing proactive role in protecting the interests of the poor and destitute and are also essential for upholding the democratic values of the country.

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