•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences
An estimated 6-minute read

Research Foundation for Governance in India: Bringing about a polito-legal revolution!

 Email  Facebook  Tweet  Linked-in

Organisations Logo

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead


No other sentence represents the young think-tank Research Foundation for Governance in India (RFGI) better than this! RFGI, as it is lovingly known, is an attempt to bring about reforms in the legal and political arena in India by involving youngsters from different walks of life! In the last 15 months, the journey of the organisation has been phenomenal. Let’s scroll back to the time when it all started.

How it all began:

Young Kanan Dhru, after studying law at the prestigious London School of Economics and thereafter working with organisations such as National Knowledge Commission of India, World Health Organisation and the McKinsey & Co, decided to start practicing law in the Gujarat High Court. The spark of the need for change began then. When asked about how it all started, Kanan says: “Practicing law in India was a shocking experience! I saw that the legal system was practically crumbling. It was considered normal for a single case to take 20 to 25 years to reach a judgment, the poor and uneducated were often exploited owing to their lack of awareness about the system and bright youngsters were often discouraged from joining the system. An effective judicial system is absolutely crucial for any country. I decided to take a step in the direction of what I thought was right and took an initiative to research and create awareness in the field of legal and political reforms.”


Her younger sister Kelly, now a graduate from Oxford University and friend Swar Shah an entrepreneur gave the initial support. And even before they could realise, the trio was joined by a whole host of youngsters from across the world participating in various activities of RFGI. The think-tank now has the member strength of over 1500 people and counting and has had over 75 interns already from 11 countries!

What do we do:

RFGI’s activities are divided into three parts, namely; awareness, research and consultancy. However, the work actually started with the tie-up with the Jaago Re! initiative. The efforts of RFGI resulted in 8000 voter registrations in the city of Ahmedabad for the Lok Sabha elections 2009.

With this solid momentum going, the group started conducting presentations in schools and colleges on basics of ‘Citizenship and Democracy’. The idea is to communicate the heavy and typically ‘boring’ aspects of politics and governance in child-friendly manner to the students. This programme has been so successful that the local schools now want to start ‘RFGI club’s as part of its regular activities. Recently, the organisation also organised a film festival on legal and political rights ,called ‘Movie-ing Ahead: The RFGI Film festival on Political Reforms’, as audio-visual medium communicates a message extremely effectively.

The base of all the activities of RFGI is its research. Some of the issues already taken up and dealt with by the organisation includes, inner-party democracy in political parties in India, removing the entry barriers to the profession of litigation, incorporating grievance redressal mechanisms in public utility schemes, preventive dispute resolution, and the role of the youth in better governed India, amongst others. In order to carry out the research, the team undertakes both, primary and secondary research. In the process, they meet a lot of politicians, judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, academicians, media and even the lay-persons. After carrying out the research, the results and recommendations are sent to relevant stakeholders both at the State and Central levels.

RFGI gets directly involved with Government projects and initiatives through its consultancy work. This involves working closely with different Government departments and organisations. It has worked with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for a Youth Leadership Programme. The seminar on ‘Entry Barriers to Litigation’ was done with the support of The Bar Council of Gujarat. It was chaired by Prof. Madhava Menon and the then Chief Justice of Gujarat Mr. Justice Radhakrishnan. It has also worked with Gujarat National Law University on improving the legal education system of Gujarat, where it has been invited as an observer to the reforms related to legal education in the State of Gujarat.

RFGI feels that one of the important ways to achieve their aim is by way of monthly public discussions on various issues pertaining to governance. Any kind of social or political problem concerning people in India is taken up during the RFGI debates. People from different spheres of society regardless of sex, age and creed participate in discussions which they find problematic about Indian legal and political systems and present their ideas on how to effectively to solve them. RFGI maintains a high standard debate structure through which strong arguments are created and shared. Some of the issues that have been taken up include topics such as, compulsory voting legislation, women’s reservation bill, caste census and values in governance.

What we will do:

Some of the upcoming plans of the organisation includes launching a book on politics for school children, working on the implementation of the ‘Gram Nyayalaya Act’ with an organisation called Center for Social Justice, working towards the formation of Advocates Academy for training lawyers who are planning to join litigation as well as bringing more transparency in the legal and political systems in India. Geographically, the organisation would like to open offices in other parts of the country and continue to lobby for effective governance processes in India.  

An Intern’s take on RFGI:

I am proud to say that I was one of the first interns to join the organization and I have stayed with them ever since! RFGI is not your normal NGO. At RFGI, we do not restrict ourselves to social topics. It is an organization which works on political and legal rights. The number of organizations doing that in the country is very few. Fewer of them are able to make an impact. The projects that are given to the interns are very well thought out. The intern is given a choice to choose from the ongoing topics or he/she can choose a topic of his/her choice.

RFGI is different in another ways too. People who intern there are not treated like employees. They are treated like they are members of a family. You are not forced to work. You like to work! The atmosphere in the office is very jovial. People talk, crack jokes, have animated debates on random topics and side by side work for the society’s benefit. We get to visit the courts, we come to know about the city’s heritage, enjoy the city like only few people can. I have been working for them even after my internship got over. I am a research associate now. My RFGI experience has been awesome!

-          Napster

How can I contribute to RFGI:

There are many ways in which you can contribute to RFGI. We accept both monetary resources and human resources as a help to the organisation. There is always something to do at RFGI and so students from all fields can feel free to contact us at any point and work with us. RFGI is open to new ideas and suggestions from people.


Contact Details:

3, Brahmin Mitra Mandal Society,

Mangaldas Road, Ellisbridge,

Ahmedabad- 380006,

Gujarat, India.

Phone (o) - +91 79 26463852

Email:   Website: www.rfgindia.org    Facebook: http://bit.ly/bK8PVu 

Click to show 21 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.