India is a large and diverse country that follows the electoral democratic structure and principle of majority rule. India has a a number of new institutions to support the new economic initiatives such as the regulatory bodies, ombudsman, independent research and policy centers. However, there is lack of intuitional provision to address issues such as disparity and exclusion which has occurred due to systemic, structural and lax implementation of progressive polices.
It is importance that research-led advocacy must operate so as to bring back the demand to establish an EOC which was first made by the Sachar Committee in 2006 and later agreed to in principle by the central government. EOC essentially intends to support and enhance the performance of governments through research, analysis and policy strictures on public system, private markets and civil society. There is need to develop and foster a culture of ‘retrospective analysis’. Further, it should give access to individuals and groups of people—what can be described as ‘class action’—when they have a basis to seek relief on situations of discrimination and exclusion. In this regard it is useful if functions of international EOCs are reviewed to identify their concepts and best practices.
USA is one the few democratic countries in the world which has a functional equal (employment) opportunity office (EEOC) based on the principle of ‘civil liberties’ and equality of access to opportunities to minorities. Similarly, UK is a pioneer in establishing an EOC which was subsequently transformed to ‘equality and human rights commission (EHRC)’. An understanding of the structure and functional mechanisms of these international institutions will help design a durable EOC in India. Besides, the views and level of satisfaction of government—both polity and bureaucracy and affected people in the form of documenting the best practices will go a long way in supporting the establishment of an EOC in India. EEOC of the USA and EHRC of the UK are reviewed in the following sections.
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