Accountability Initiative seeks to improve the quality of India’s public services by promoting informed and accountable governance
India’s financial investment in the provision of basic, public services - education, health, drinking water, sanitation – has risen exponentially in the last decade. However, the capacity of the state to deliver these services has not been adequately strengthened. As a result, these increased outlays have not directly translated into quality human development outcomes and absenteeism, inefficiency and corruption continue to characterize the delivery of public services. Systemic accountability failures lie at the heart of this problem.
Delivering services effectively requires a system of accountability where
- Citizens have access to information and platforms through which they can monitor performance and demand accountability for services they receive and;
- Governments- politicians and bureaucrats- acting as agents of citizens create incentives for performance and through regular monitoring hold implementers and service providers (teachers, health workers, and frontline engineers) accountable for outcomes.
Accountability failures persist because several links in this chain of accountability from citizens to the government have either never existed or been severely damaged. Identifying these links and developing systems through which accountability can be strengthened and governments can set upon the task of actually delivering the service – making sure the road is maintained, making sure teachers and doctors are trained and motivated – is the challenge of the future.
Accountability Initiative is a research initiative that works to address this challenge. We believe that creating accountability requires an approach that strengthens links between citizens and government and at the same time creates accountability within government particularly between decision makers and frontline service providers.
The Accountability Initiative aims to:
- Provide regular, accessible, and relevant analysis of the implementation of government programs,
- Develop practical, people-friendly tools to improve the capacity of both citizens and government to monitor service delivery,
- Inform the public debate on how to strengthen accountability links and improve the provision of public services.