NAP Development Process
The Indian Government formally announced that it will develop a National Action Plan (NAP) on business a human rights at the Business and Human Rights Forum in Geneva in November 2018.
In February 2019, India published a draft NAP on Business and Human Rights. The draft notes that during the drafting process, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) organised several meetings/multi‐stakeholder consultations with relevant Ministries of the Government of India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), domain experts, and other relevant stakeholders, including representatives from industry associations where issues pertaining to business and human rights were deliberated upon. These also included regional consultations held in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and New Delhi. During some of these consultations, the MCA also apprised the participants of the National Action Plan under the UNGPs, and sought active Ministerial participation to develop and finalize India’s National Action Plan.
The draft NAP notes that the preparation of the NAP will require dialogue and engagement with all Ministries and Departments of Government of India, State Governments and relevant stakeholders.
A Working Group has been constituted consisting of representatives from relevant Ministries/Government Departments, NHRC, SEBI, etc. that will inter alia assess and monitor the implementation of the UNGP framework based on review of existing laws and policies. The Working Group will also conduct multi‐stakeholder discussions at the national and state level including: representatives from business, trade unions and civil society organizations, representatives of marginalized groups, and relevant State Governments. Based on the study and consultations referred above, the Working Group/Committee will:
- undertake a comprehensive study to assess the implementation of UNGPs in India through a review of India’s legal and policy framework;
- identify key priority areas for the Government for effective implementation of the principles envisaged under the UNGPs and accordingly set objectives;
- prepare time‐bound policy actions to achieve objectives, and
- articulate clear responsibilities of relevant Ministries/Department of the Government of India.
On the 17 December 2019, UNDP India organised a round-table conference on NAP for the IT sector.
Stakeholders views and analysis on the NAP
Indian newspaper, the Delhi Post, features an opinion piece on how the draft NAP on Business and Human Rights is a major step and how its framework can address issues in various sectors steeped in conflict, like land rights in the agricultural sector.
Institute for Human Rights and Business has also published a commentary on India’s draft NAP. The commentary discusses the context of India’s NAP and highlights major issues that the NAP must address in order to be effective. Such issues, according to the commentary, include: access to land and other natural resources; micro, small and medium enterprises; technology sector; etc. The commentary also emphasizes the necessity of effective access to remedy and the need for the NAP to overcome this challenge.