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Case Title:

India's Janaagraha: Empowering the Urban Citizen

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: B Gopal and A Syed

Industry: Internet and e-commerce


Case Code: POS0037IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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There is a growing amount of interest shown in social entrepreneurship across the world. However, few social entrepreneurs create ventures that have a mass impact on society and are also sustainable. One such initiative to create a sustainable impact was 'Janaagraha', conceptualised and established by Ramesh and Swati Ramanathan. Janaagraha was started in 2001 in Bangalore (now Bengalooru), a south Indian city. Janaagraha partnered with non-government organisations, citizens, governments and private players to influence change. Janaagraha's focus area was citizen engagement and urban decentralisation. It sought a regulatory change that would make the urban citizen a part of the local governance. Initially it received a cold response from the government and was also criticised for being an elitist organisation working for the urban middle class and not the urban poor. Nevertheless, Janaagraha's efforts were lauded as ground breaking. It was one of the few organisations that politically educated citizens. It also gained the support of hundreds of citizens in the city of Bangalore. Janaagraha was also invited to replicate its initiatives in the northern state of Rajasthan and other cities in India. It partnered with a Tata group company to mobilise the youth in the country to register as voters and to participate in the electoral process. Though it is too early to say whether Janaagraha is successful, it has to be acknowledged that it has trodden a path where very few would venture.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To difference between the formal structures for rural and urban citizens in India.
  • To Janaagraha's foundation and its projects.
  • To its efforts in citizen engagement and urban decentralisation.
  • To impediments in implementing its projects.
  • To impact of Janaagraha's efforts on citizens and local governance units.

Keywords :  Janaagraha, Ramesh Ramanathan, Swati Ramanathan, Urban citizen, Decentralisation, Empowerment, Participation, Social entrepreneur, NGO (non-governmental organisation), Indian constitution, Civic units, Local government, Governance, Ward, Jaago Re!

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