Zero Draft of the National Action Plan for Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Developing a ‘National Action Plan’ on business and human rights

In 2014, United National Human Rights Council called upon its member states to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) to set in motion the implementation of United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGPs explicate the duties and responsibilities of the State and business against adverse human rights impacts and are based on three pillars: States’ duty to protect human rights (Pillar 1), the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (Pillar 2) and access to remedy (Pillar 3).

In 2018, Vidhi was appointed to provided legal research and drafting support to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) for the development of the Zero Draft of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (Zero Draft). The Zero Draft provided an overview of the existing legal and policy framework on business and human rights in India such as the provisions relating to corporate social responsibility and directors’ duties towards all stakeholders (employees, community, environment) under the Companies Act, 2013, the National Voluntary Guidelines on Business and Human Rights, 2011 (NVGs) and the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct 2018 (NGRBCs). It was published in December, 2018.

In 2020, MCA reappointed Vidhi to provide the legal and drafting support to arrive at the final draft of NAP. In addition to tracing the recent developments in the area of business and human rights, the final draft provides action points for central government ministries based on the three pillars of UNGPs, Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and NGRBCs such as analyses of the findings of Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reports (‘BRSR’), development of Responsibility Business Conduct Index based on BRSR, encouraging human rights due diligence etc. Finally, the NAP identifies the relevant government ministries/departments for the implementation of the action points and envisages a framework of monitoring the implementation of the NAP and its review. The NAP will concretise India’s commitment towards socially responsible businesses and inclusive development.