Panel Discussion

Activating grassroots democracy for policymaking- Learnings for sustainable mobility planning from initiatives in India

About the session: This session will bring in unique and rich experiences of various civil society interventions for improving the conditions for bicycle and non-motorized transport in different parts of India. We have three panelists for the session.

Rajendra Ravi is the director of Institute for Democracy and Sustainability (IDS Delhi). He has been conducting research on the intersection of urban politics and sustainability for more than three decades. He is the founding member and the current programme coordinator of People’s Resource Centre, convener of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), and a founding member of Sustainable Urban Mobility Network (SUM Net) India. An author of several books, including the widely acclaimed The Saga of Rickshaw, he has been a regular columnist in prestigious newspapers and magazines and his writings have been published in journals like Economic and Political Weekly.
Rajendra Ravi will be moderating the session.

Sujit Patwardhan is a founder member and trustee of Parisar, a citizens’ group working in the field of Environmental Awareness, Education and Action in Pune since 1982. He has been involved in urban environmental issues such as the development plan, heritage conservation, and urban traffic, sustainable transportation, sustainable agriculture, livelihood security, environmental impacts of mega projects, and so on. For the last fifteen years has been working in the field of Urban Traffic and Transportation. He has been a member of various government committees including the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation, Steering Committee for Pune Development Plan for Pune 2007 – 2027, the erstwhile Maharashtra State Environment Protection Council, the Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Regional Planning Board, the Bombay High Court Monitoring Committee for Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.
Sujit will present his life-long experiences of bicycle advocacy in Pune and other cities.

Nishant is a PhD candidate at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and a member of Sustainable Urban Mobility Network (SUM Net) India, a coalition of various civil society groups and researchers across the different part of India advocating for a sustainable transport for Indian cities. He works closely with Institute for Democracy and Sustainability (IDS) and has contributed in the participatory process of making new law for the welfare of cycle rickshaw drivers in Bihar and Jharkhand. He is a member of People’s Resource Centre, an initiative the seeks to create resources for social transformation. He is also one of the organizers of Reclaiming The Bus, an ongoing campaign for free, safe, and reliable bus-based public transport in Delhi.
Nishant will present the process and outcomes of participatory law-making for cycle rickshaw in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Basant Hetamsaria is a National Convenor of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM). Over the years, he has been working on several issues of social importance. Recently, he successfully led a walkability advocacy campaign with support from SUM Net India.
Basant will speak about the ongoing citizen-led initiative by Ramgarh Pedestrian Forum to create bicycle and NMT-friendly infrastructure in Ramgarh.


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