Institutionalizing Social Accountability: Considerations for Policy

Social accountability mechanisms can contribute to improved governance, increased development effectiveness through better service delivery, and citizen empowerment. However, critical to the success of Social Accountability initiatives is civil society and state capacities, and the synergy between the two.  Ultimately, the effectiveness and sustainability of social accountability mechanisms is improved when they are “institutionalized”. This involves two things: first, the state as a ‘willing accomplice’ in the broader accountability project, needs to render its own “internal” mechanisms in a way that makes it structurally amenable to accountability, and second, the state needs to identify and adopt mechanisms to facilitate and strengthen civic engagement and citizen voice. In developing a framework for institutionalizing social accountability, therefore, this paper would stress on these two aspects. The empirical base for the policy recommendations in this paper is the study conducted by the National Institute of Administrative Research, Mussorie, which employed social accountability tools to understand the accountability failures in two of the flagship programs of the current government, namely Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

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