In last several decades, resource use and developmental activities have given rise to large number of fierce debates and intense struggles raising issues of social justice, equity, environmental sustainability, human rights, rights of the oppressed sections like tribals and dalits, gender issues, cost- benefit, and efficiency. Serious concerns have arisen regarding the social and environmental sustainability of existing developmental paradigm, even as its efficacy in delivering benefits has been put in doubt. In the recent years, the enormous ongoing transformations in the global and national economic, financial, governance and power structures due to the relentless push towards globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, have made these concerns even more relevant and accentuated.
It is necessary for any organization or individual anxious about these concerns to fully understand the nature and substance of these ongoing transformations, along with the traditional concerns of equity, human rights, environment and so on. This has become especially important for those working in the public interest and public policy arena. Yet, most information, information sources and analytical capacity remain with governments or private corporate sector.
In the last two decades or so, the issues that the intense struggles have thrown up, along with the efforts of many working on ground level experiments, have also started adding to macro level picture of alternate paradigms. There is a need to bring together these strands, analyse them, and help build the larger picture.
Thus, there is a critical need for independent groups committed to addressing public interest concerns that can carry out high quality research and analysis with sufficient rigor, as also collect, collate and provide access to information. Manthan has been set up as an attempt to address this need.