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Side Event - Leveraging Public Procurement to realise the Rights of Women and Children in Supply Chains

An event with Ms. Durga Devi, Dr. Harpreet Kaur, Mr. Sonu Kumar, Ms. M Gomathi Subha, Ms. Sangeetha, Rajeshwari, Ms. Malathi Chittibabu, Mr. Pradeep Narayanan, Ms. Pooja Parvati, Mr. Tom Thomas and Dheeraj
United Nations Development Programme, Partners in Change, International Budget Partnership, Corporate Responsibility Watch and Praxis-Institute for Participatory Practices

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About this event


Globally public procurement represents on average 13% to 20% of GDP. As eper the zero draft of Indian NAP it accounts for more than 25% in India's GDP. The Government of India has time and again committed to ensuring responsibility and accountability to bring efficiency and transparency in matters relating to public procurement of goods and services. The Government is, in the case of Public Procurement, is a buyer. Given the volume of procurement, the buyer could demand from businesses their compliance with UNGP as well as all human rights and ILO conventions, even though the State as government has not ratified the convention or made laws to make the provisions justifiable. The Government as a public procurer should aim to be one step ahead of the Government as law-maker.

Identical to that of model employer concept, the state could become model procurer, setting standards even higher than the international buyers. For example, in the garment industry, there are clearly two supply-chains - one for international trade and another for domestic market. It is often stated that the international buyers organise regular due diligence in the supply chain- owing to which there is lesser human rights violations such as child labour and bonded labour and such other practices. The international buyer dictates compliance not through any regulatory power, but because of the volume the buyer procures. Similarly, the Governments in India procure a huge volume of garment products from uniform for police, defence forces, hospital staff, PSU factory workers to school uniform for children under Right to Education law. The Government can very well influence the garment industry if it specifies procurement guidelines that seek disclosure and compliance of not only existing laws, but also such globally recognised conventions.

There is a huge potential to capitalise on the buying capacities of the public sector to influence the human rights compliance in the supply chains.


This session will bring in first hand voices to understand the challenges faced from thes lens of gender and child rights in the garment sector supply chains. Some of the domain experts will look at these challenges from the lens of equity based budgeting, ensuring gender equality and trade union engagement to influence the public procurement practices. The overall learnings from the session will be used to set some key advocacy points for influencing the NAP development processes in India with particular focus on public procurement.


  1. Discuss the challenges faced by workers and their families in garment supply chain

  2. Identify key advocacy points for influencing the NAP development processes with key focus on public procurement


  1. What are some of the key challenges faced by workers from gender and child rights perspective?

  2. What scope is there from a policy planning perspective to incorporate human rights compliance into public procurement?

  3. What are the key demands which need to be incorporated in the NAP for ensuring human rights compliant public procurement?


Speakers: M Gomathi Subha (Mill Worker), Rajeshwari, (Mill Welfare Office worker), Mill Worker (TBC), Durga Devi (Student), Sonu (Student), and Pradeep Narayanan (Partners in Change Tom Thomas, Corporate Responsibility Watch).

Discussants: Malathi Chittibabu (Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)), Dr Harpreet Kaur (BHR Specialist, UNDP), and Pooja Parvati (Country Manager, International Budget Partnership).

Moderator: Dheeraj, Praxis

Ms. Durga Devi

A Class 10th student, studying in Government High School, Siluvathur, Durga Devi, 15 years, has 5 siblings, one brother and four sister. Her father a mill worker is often supported by Durga’s second and third sisters, who work in mill during school holidays to support their education. An eloquent speaker, Durga was a part of the Student Panel Committee formed by Partners in Change (PiC) that commented on zero draft of NAP.

Dr. Harpreet Kaur

Harpreet Kaur is a Business and Human Rights Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangkok Regional Hub.

Mr. Sonu Kumar

A student of class 12 from Sarvodaya Baal Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School, New Delhi, Sonu Kumar, 18 years, is a young change maker who has a keen interest in participating in community issues. His interest has led him to associate with Non-governmental organizations, working on mid dal meal schemes and malnutrition. A keen student, Sonu's favourite subjects are Business Studies, Science and Mathematics.

Ms. M Gomathi Subha

A Spinning Mill worker, Gomathi Subha, 15 years, has been working since 2018, soon after she dropped out from class 9th. Working in the Auto Coner department, she is used to working on all three shifts, which often extends into the night.

Ms. Sangeetha

Sangeeta has studied till 10th standard and lives in a village named Thennampatti in Dindigul District. Her husband works in a mill. She lives along with her husband and have two daughters. She is a part of Annai Abhirami Cooperative society for the past six years and stitches school uniforms for girls and boys.


A Nursing professional and labour rights enthusiast, Rajeshwari, 27 years, works as a mill welfare officer. A resident of PonniMandhurai, Dindigul District, she completed a nursing assistant course, after her post-graduation in Public administration.

Ms. Malathi Chittibabu

Malathi Chittibabu is part of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). She is the Vice President of All India CITU and Treasurer of Tamil Nadu state CITU

Mr. Pradeep Narayanan

A human rights activist-researcher, Pradeep is associated with many rights-based NGOs and campaigns in India. With close to He has been working on community participation and mobilisation around human rights. He is the principal researcher for the India Responsible Business Index, which analysis business reporting across issues, including CSR and Human Rights within operation and supply chain. He is responsible for developing strategic and operational roll out plans for various thematic areas, including Child Rights, Education, Health, Labour Rights, Livelihood and Supply Chain.

Ms. Pooja Parvati

Pooja Parvati is International Budget Partnership's (IBP) India Country Manager. With 18 years of progressive work experience prior to joining IBP, Pooja has managed initiatives to support Policy and Advocacy, and subsequently Strategic Planning at Tata Trusts.

Mr. Tom Thomas

With close to three decades of experience in the development sector, Tom has led Praxis since 2000, when he took over as CEO. He is a proficient facilitator of participatory action research and participatory learning activities (PLA) in areas including poverty, health, food security, education, democratic decentralisation and local governance with a special focus on social equity.


With more than ten years of experience, Dheeraj has worked extensively in the realm of community mobilisation, community institution building, participatory monitoring and evaluation, decentralized micro-planning.

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