In 1985, EQUATIONS was founded in response to understand the impacts of development, particularly in the context of liberalised trade regimes, the opening up of national economy, new economic polices and structural adjustments. While the industry, the middle class and the upper class of society were lauding these changes, the question remained on what these changes held for the common person (the indigenous people, dalits, women, coastal communities and the poor). Would it better their lives economically and qualitatively, and would they have greater access to healthcare, education and employment? Were the natural resources on which they depend protected? Did they have any influence in any of the development decisions? Did they have a voice in policy making?
With the covert and overt entry of international institutions like the World Bank, IMF and the WTO, into the policy spaces of governments, there was a necessity to understand macro policies and the process of policy making.
EQUATIONS chose to study and intervene in these issues through the lens of tourism. At the outset, the macro changes initiated, made it seem that non-exploitative or equitable tourism was a fantasy. But, the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution institutionalising Local Self Governments renewed hope that democratic institutions could still survive amidst the inexorable sweep of globalisation and global institutions.