Introduction

Our trade and human development programme addresses poverty, inequality and social development. It also evaluates the impact of trade and domestic macro-economic policies on human development indices with India as a focus. International trade regimes are regulated through various institutions like the WTO and international agreements like Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). In recent times, the impact of trade on human development, both in terms of scale and intensity, has increasingly drawn the attention of governments, policymakers, academia and the civil society.

Strategy

Our trade and human development programme addresses poverty, inequality and social development. It also evaluates the impact of trade and domestic macro-economic policies on human development indices with India as a focus.

Challenges

While organisations like the WTO and trade agreements like the FTAs do eliminate the chaos that of trade across vast geographical areas and economic boundaries, it also restricts the freedom of countries to make policies relating to goods and services. Studies have shown how many developed countries arm-twist a developing or ‘less developed’ nation into undertaking more commitments than those stipulated in WTO agreements. As a consequence, these nations stand to lose any existing legs-space while making policies in those areas.

Challenges that we face can be summed up as:

  • Middlemen/Trade Unions
  • No evidence of impact
  • Corruption
  • Inefficient Marketing system
  • Unethical business techniques
  • Political Indecision

Advocacy & Outreach

We offer consultation and advisory services on issues of expertise across India. We focus on building the capacity of stakeholders at the grassroots level, the legal fraternity and regional governments through activities like summer schools and training courses on Trade and Development Research. This programme focuses on the quantitative and qualitative analyses of human developmental issues and aims to provide crucial policy goals, including micro-, meso- and macro-level interventions for addressing human development concerns in India.

Some of our areas of focus are on issues like evaluation of macro-economic policies and the implications for poverty, social inequality and stagnation, linkages, contradictions between domestic macro-economic policies and the trade policy paradigm of the country resulting in poor human development conditions.

We believe that advocacy and outreach is an effective way to ensure civil societies and governments fulfil their objectives.

  • Translation of documents: We have been working on translating technical briefs documents and research papers into Hindi and other regional languages.
  • Building coalitions: We have built valuable partnerships with the Indian government, other non-government organisations and representatives at every level of decision making.
  • Advocacy with policy-makers: Providing reader-friendly briefs on trade issues to policy and lawmakers will lead to a better understanding of the issues plaguing free trade and could result in better policy formation.

Research & Analysis

Research is important to understanding the real impact of international trade on the people in.

  • Regional Trade Agreements (RTA): Research to explore the linkages between RTAs and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in India and some specific sectors.
  • Research on Human Development, Gender and Labour: This research explores the linkages of these themes with trade, especially with a mainstream agenda at policy and organisational levels.