Government releases the first ever Civil Services Survey

Posted on:17-08-10

The Government of India has released the findings of the first ever survey of the Indian Civil Services. The report titled "Civil Services Survey - A Report" surveyed officers from all 3 India Services (The Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS)) as well as officers of 7 Central Services. In total, the Survey covered 18432 officers belonging to the ten selected services. Out of the total questionnaires sent, 4808 officers responded to the survey which is 26% of the total universe.  Read more »

When the mirror has 2 faces: the story of governments own datasets not matching!

Posted on:17-08-10

 Avani Kapur

A few months back I was searching for release and expenditure data for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Since the financial management section of the SSA portal hasn’t been updated in 2 years (the latest available information is August 2008!), I was left struggling to find places to look. Luckily, I remembered that we now we have a tool – the Right to Information Act – an easy method to get information.  So I decided to file my first RTI !

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Secrecy over the draft Whistleblower's Bill

Posted on:16-08-10

Venkatesh Nayak

Efforts to bring in legislation to protect whistleblowers in India have been on-going for some years now. In 2001, the Law Commission of India studied the laws that protect whistleblowers in the UK, USA and other developed countries and had submitted a report to the Government.  Along with the report the Law Commission submitted a weak draft bill to protect whistleblowers. Meanwhile in the absense of a specific law on the subject,  the Government of India created a mechanism for its employees and those employed in central public sector enterprises to blow the whistle on wrongdoings.

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Do information campaigns result in greater collective action? Lessons from experience on the ground.

Posted on:11-08-10


Yamini Aiyar

This blog post is the first of a series based on experiences my colleagues and I had while implementing an information campaign on school expenditures aimed at mobilizing Parent Teacher Associations in a small cluster of villages in Sehore District, Madhya Pradesh (MP). The experience reinforced some of the fundamental contradictions in current systems of delivery and why accountability is near impossible. It also brought home the importance of giving greater discretion to communities to identify needs, direct expenditures and monitor implementation. Read more »

The Process of Lawmaking in India

Posted on:10-08-10

Sruti Bandyopadhyay

This post is an attempt to explain the process of law making in India. It also explains how citizen groups can participate in the process of lawmaking. 

Who makes laws?

 In India, at the central level, laws are formulated by the Parliament and at the state level by Legislative Assemblies and Councils.

How is a law made?

The process of enacting a new law can be broadly divided into four steps: Read more »

M.P. Public Services Guarantee Bill – A Path-breaking Law

Posted on:05-08-10

Awanish Somkuwar

It has been recognised the world over that good governance is essential for sustainable development, both economic and social. The three essential aspects emphasised in good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration.  Citizens’ Charters are an effort to address these issues by focusing on solving the problems which citizens encounter while dealing with the organisations providing public services. Read more »

Access to Information and Accountability: The Story of Vijaipura Panchayat

Posted on:02-08-10

Gayatri Sahgal

Unlike its predecessor the Sampooran Grameen Rozgar Yojna (SGRY), the National Rural Employment Guarantee  Act (NREGA), 2005 outlines an impressive list of transparency and accountability mechanisms to ensure that administrators are answerable and responsible to people for their behaviour and actions. Such measures include the institution of grievance redressal mechanisms, proactive disclosure of information, and community monitoring mechanisms such as Social Audits.  In June this year a team of us visited Vijaipura Panchayat in Rajasthan to understand the extent to which these measures were being implemented. Read more »

Exploring the Links Between Mother's Literacy and Child Achievement

Posted on:27-07-10

Mandakini Devasher Surie

It is a well known fact that children of more educated parents are likely to perform better in school. It is also well known that the amount of time parents dedicate to their children, either playing with them or helping them with their homework, also influences and shapes a child's cognitive ability. Over and above this, theory also suggests that parents investment and consumption choices, the home environment, presence or absence of positive role models etc also plays an important role. I recently had the opportunity to field test some of these theoretical assumptions about the linkages between parents education and child achievement in a village in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Read more »

Who are the Poor in India?

Posted on:22-07-10

Rishiv Khattar

Over the years various indices and poverty measures have been developed to try and estimate the number of people living below the poverty line. The latest in this long line of poverty measures is the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) UNDP, the MPI aims to provide a more detailed assessment of poverty at the individual level. In India, the MPI estimates that 55% of the country’s population is poor. Read more »

Pakistan considers Right to Information Bill 2010

Posted on:21-07-10

Pakistan may soon have a law guaranteeing citizens the right to access information held by the government, following the introduction of a new Right to Information Bill in the National Assembly of Pakistan. Moved as as private member's bill, the draft law aims to improve upon and replace the existing Freedom of Information Ordinance 2001.