By Hend Alhinnawi
MUMBAI – In a country that is home to 55 of the world’s billionaires, it is hard to imagine that India, like many other developing countries, faces great challenges when it comes to poverty, homelessness, and development-related issues. In a nation with an estimated population of 1.21 billion, how does one go about solving these problems? Many are tempted to point the finger at the government, and while they have a responsibility to provide basic necessities to their people, I am interested in the role of civil society in addressing development challenges.
As one official at the United States Embassy in Mumbai put it: “young Indians are acutely aware that India has become a world power, and they are also aware of its shortcomings.”
Previously, I had examined India through the United Nations lens, reading reports of UN data and looking at various UN-sponsored projects. However, through the India: Inside Out trip, I was able to see the impact ordinary people are making on international development issues in India. The government has caught on to this idea, too. Navdeep Suri, Head of the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs in India, expressed that: “one way of addressing India’s development is through creating smart partnerships between the government and civil society.”