Janta Ka Faisla (JKF) is a platform for deliberative democracy that seeks to address the needs of migrant workers and represents them as full citizens of India. It offers migrants an opportunity to participate in a jury that addresses the challenges of Indian society, whether they are from Samaaj, Sarkaar or Bazaar. Chaupal, in partnership with Socratus Foundation and National Foundation for India (NFI), is organising the first Janta ka Faisla in Raipur from July 11th – 14th that will place migrant workers at the centre stage, drawn from different occupations and regions from Chhattisgarh.
The jury will hear from a range of experts on topics such as employment conditions at destination, i.e., wage rates, timely payments, workers’ health and safety, and alternatively, local livelihoods in agriculture and non-agricultural industries, livelihoods based on the commons, including forests and inland fisheries; migrants’ entitlements to food security and health and how government schemes such as the PDS can deliver those entitlements in both source and destination states. However, the JKF platform is not intended for a discussion on policies for migrants alone as that would frame them as a special interest group asking for support from the state.
The heart of the Janta ka Faisla is the jury and the life experiences and wisdom they bring to the verdict. A jury of migrants from Chhattisgarh was selected through an intensive process, starting with an initial list of 1.5 lakh migrants collated from various NGO and volunteer databases, followed by an automated round of calls with about 15000 migrants at the end of which several rounds of interviews led to the 15 member panel of jurors.
The final composition of the jury reflects gender, occupation and source and destination diversity, and is designed to add much-needed diversity of voices to policy-making dominated by specialists. These are voices unconstrained by subject boundaries and ideologies and enriched by real life experiences and worldviews.
In short, the JKF is deliberative democracy at work in creating a society of the people, for the people and by the people. We hope and expect that the deliberations and the verdict of the first Janta ka Faisla will become a model for how Indian society should learn from its most vulnerable citizens, both helping them live a life of dignity and in creating a better world for all of us.