About Vikalp Sutra

The beginning

Vikalp Sutra has emerged from Vikalp Sangam, and aims at linking other networks and collectives with a focus on the sustainable livelihoods’ landscape of India. Vikalp Sangam (www.vikalpsangam.org) is a diverse and open space for learning and sharing initiatives of alternative transformations happening across India. These span the entire range of human activity—including cultural, social, economic, political, and ecological—ranging from self-governance and autonomy to food/ water/ energy, security and sovereignty, livelihoods, learning and education, health, conservation, arts and crafts, and more. 

Vikalp Sutra

Vikalp Sutra is a collective, non-hierarchical platform initiated in June 2020, to facilitate dignified livelihoods, workers’ rights and economic democracy in India. It is a response to the severe economic crisis faced by vulnerable communities and individual citizens in the country, due to the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown.

The vision of Vikalp Sutra is to promote community self-reliance, based on the principles of dignity, justice, equity, peace and ecological sustain-ability. Comprising of civil society, community institutions, local governance bodies, and other support groups and networks, this platform will facilitate vulnerable communities and individuals to exercise their agency in claiming these inalienable rights and values. 

Focus areas

Dignified livelihoods

  • rural and urban
  • traditional
  • non-traditional

Workers’ rights and security

  • informal sector

Economic democracy

  • self-reliance
  • localisation
  • producer ownership
  • etc.

Identity

A platform (including a website) with a database of resource agencies/ individuals across all sectors relevant to the focus areas. 

A space for continuous dialogue on ideas and solutions. 

A repository of existing and new methods for action-based facilitation, consultation, and practice. 

A collective visioning space, for futures we want and can work towards. 

A space for collective advocacy to challenge regressive policies and advocate progressive ones. 

An open platform for cross-learning and inter-linkages without hierarchies. 

Envisioned strategies

Create linkages to work with vulnerable communities beyond relief, especially on medium to long term livelihood action strategies and rights. 

Work towards localised production and exchanges, with circular or network economy approaches.

Create processes and ideas for communities to be ready for such an economic and social disaster in the future.

Create spaces and opportunities for sharing of sustainable livelihood-based practices to envision and reach towards self-reliance and local resilience, including facilitating community-level exchanges. 

Promote the economy of well-being including through relations of caring, sharing, equitable barter.

Encourage youth in urban settings to take up alternatives, including with migrants into urban areas, and for rural revitalisation.

Link local, economic self-reliance with political self-governance, build on gram sabha and area/mohalla sabha empowerment 

Work on strengthening ecological and social infrastructure by revitalising investment and employment in rural areas.

Work on integration and interlinkages amongst communities and networks to deal with issues arising as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, on the above focus areas; and where necessary also link with others working on  community health, food security, social justice and security, ecological conservation. 

Take up collective advocacy to resist regressive policies and programmes, and towards progressive policy shifts and other government support.

Advocate for the rights of people to determine their own futures.

Anchor group

Ashish Kothari

Ashish Kothari

founder-member, Kalpavriksh is on coordinating team of Vikalp Sangam and Global Tapestry of Alternatives.

Minhaj Ameen

Minhaj Ameen

is engaged with various initiatives in agriculture, education, mobility, and economy with the conviction that humanity will thrive and blossom if we reduce unnecessary suffering for all sentient beings.

Aanchal Kapur

Aanchal Kapur

founder, KRITI, a development praxis and communication team. Aanchal’s core skills are in facilitation and training, research and documentation as well as design and communication, especially around gender, development, environment and human rights.

Abhishek Dwivedi

Abhishek Dwivedi

is a serial entrepreneur working with the development sector in water, mobility, value chains and crafts. With key interests in systems thinking and design led strategies, he is bringing human effort efficiency in processes.

Vasudha Varadarajan

Vasudha Varadarajan

works in Kalpavriksh and has joined the Vikalp Sutra team as a supporting member to the anchor group. She is interested in working with gender and ecology.

Working group organisations