This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Interview with Mr. Karthik Chandra, Foundation for Democratic Reforms

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Our correspondent K. Spurthy Rao got a chance to catch up with Mr. Karthik Chandra from the Foundation for Democratic Reforms, a research and advocacy body to find out the flaws in our political system and propose amendments to be adopted. Here are excerpts from her conversation.

Spurty — Good Evening Karthik.

Karthik — Evening!

Spurty – What is your NGO all about?

Karthik — FDR as the name suggests is basically a research and advocacy body. We lay the foundation for democratic reforms. We work to find out the flaws in our political system and propose amendments to be adopted. We do research and compare the governance of other countries to that of ours and try to inculcate the best practices.

For instance, we have compared the functioning of USA and India. While both are democracies, they have a developed system while we are still developing. They have a government which is felicitating growth. But, our governance is hindering it.

Spurty – So are you hinting at the Government in the centre?

Karthik — No, this is not about a particular party. This is not directed at a candidate or the party in power. It is about the state of affairs. It is about reforming the entire system to enable development.

Spurty – Tell us more about the work you do.

Karthik — We are attempting to bring about the much needed but less worked upon change. We are striving to reform the political/electoral system. There is a lack of accountability. So, we saw to it that the Right to Information Act is properly implemented. We are also pushing for reforms in the judiciary and in the police force. We are working towards adapting to a specific policy such as the education and health reforms.

Spurty – What were your programs/campaigns that your NGO had undertaken in the recent past? –In what way do you want to develop India? What are the initial steps you’d suggest to make India a better place?

Karthik — To develop India the first step should be to elect the right leaders, who can take us forward, the leader whose sole aim & purpose is to serve the society and do justice, a leader who is self-less, and humane. These kind of people should be in power to develop India. For this, our organization has launched a campaign called ‘KYC’ i.e. Know Your Candidate. This campaign brings forth the criminal and personal records of the candidates contesting for the election, so that people are aware of whom they have to elect.

Spurty – What are your upcoming programs? Could you tell us your plans to empower the citizens?

Karthik — We are formulating action plans to raise awareness of the need for governance reforms in India. We have also identified high impact problems and are working to share successful, sustainable and scaleable solutions with like minded groups across India.

Spurty – Do you think that the people are far more vigilant today?

Karthik — People now-a-days are vigilant but, it pertains only to a certain sector of the society. This covers mostly the literate class. But, we still have a long way to go. Our purpose is to make every citizen aware of the political situation. There still are people who are ignorant to the current political scenario. Everybody has to be vigilant of candidates with criminal background and block them out completely only then can we see the desired change.

Spurty – How do you see India after a decade?

Karthik — India has umpteen human resources. But, we still lack world-class infrastructure. There is a strong link between the quality of governance and growth. If we are able to improvise on that aspect and with small changes in the judiciary not to forget our governance, India I think will be a super power in the future to come.

Spurty – How do you think today’s youth reacts to the word democracy?

Karthik — It depends. If you are talking about the college going urban youth, they have a certain perception. But, if you are talking about the rural youth, they too have an entirely different perception based on several experiences. But, all in all, it is something which symbolizes freedom for them, freedom which facilitates development, freedom which includes growth.

Spurty – What would be your address to today’s youth?

Karthik — Politics is not all bad. It definitely is polluted but, someday, somebody has to step forward and clean it. Then, why not it be today, why not that somebody be you? Our youth has got all that it takes to make this country a better place. All that our youngsters do is sit in front of some news channel and comment on the pathetic state of affairs. They do have serious debates over our political system in coffee shops. But, nobody is really ready to consider politics as a career. They should come forward willingly and lead the country from the front. Our youngsters are full of zeal and enthusiasm. They have some ideals and ideas for developing India. It is youngsters like you who will have to lead India in the future to come.

Spurty — Thank You Karthik for talking to us and telling us your plans for a better India.

Karthik — Thank You. It was nice talking to you.

You may visit them online at

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Katha

By India Development Review (IDR)

By Prabhanu Kumar Das

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below