Gayatri Sahgal, Accountability Initiative
There is something to the way the government functions. It might not always be clear and transparent, or accountable for that matter, but it seems that there is the proverbial ‘order to the madness’. Emblematic of these order-inducing impulses, are documents known as Manuals. Manuals are essentially guidelines which are issued to constrain and determine government action (or inaction). In my quest to understand the inner workings of the government, I have perused through several of these guiding documents. My current favourite is the Financial Management and Procurement Manual for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Specifically, I’ve been focussing on the section on procurement. Read more »
Do regular citizen-led efforts to demand accountability from government result in systemic changes in service delivery?
Yamini Aiyar, Accountability Initiative
Do repeated, regular social audits make a difference? Put a different way, do regular citizen-led efforts to demand accountability from government result in systemic changes in service delivery? Three Accountability Initiative researchers, landed in Hyderabad last night in pursuit of answers to this fundamental, yet complex research question. We hope to find our answers through a qualitiative research study where we will interview participants of social audits along with government officials to gather their perspectives on the effectiveness of successive social audits in Andhra Pradesh. Read more »
Here is this week's reading list. Hope you enjoy!
- Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food speaking about why we need to unite food movements.
- Karthik Muralidharan on the challenges and opportunities for Achieving Quality Universal Primary Education in India
- Report of the High Level Expert Committee on Efficient Management of Public Expenditure (Rangarajan Committee report)
- Rukmini Banerji on NDTV speaking on the topic of "Sarkari Schools: Padhna Hai Bhool?"
Indrojit Banerji, Accountability Initiative
A few months ago I attended the launch of Rohini Nilekani’s latest book, ‘Uncommon Ground’, in which she brings a selection of the country’s leading industrialists and social activists together to “explore the middle ground between the ideological divisions that often polarise the business and voluntary sectors”, and deals with questions such as why, despite decades of liberalisation, does economic prosperity with social inclusion remain a distant goal. The event consisted of a panel discussion chaired by Nilekani with guest speakers Nikhil Dey and Gautam Thapur . The former played a major role in the introduction of the Right to Information Act and the latter currently runs a private corporation which provides goods and services from power generation and distribution to the manufacture of paper and pulp. Read more »
Yamini Aiyar , Accountability Initiative
India’s elementary education system is at a crossroads. In 2009, the Indian Parliament passed the Right to Education (RTE) Act guaranteeing the provision of free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 to 14 years. At the heart of the law is a guarantee to ensure ‘age-appropriate mainstreaming’ for all children. In other words, the Act is a guarantee that every child in India acquires skills and knowledge appropriate to her age. Now, as efforts to deliver on this guarantee gain ground, the country faces an important choice: should elementary education be delivered through the current model that focuses on the expansion of schooling through a top-down, centralized delivery system? Or should we use the RTE as an opportunity to fundamentally alter the current system and create a bottom-up delivery model that builds on an understanding of children’s learning needs and privileges accountability for learning rather than schooling? Read more »
Indrojit Banerji, Accountability Initiative
In December, Bihar is cold and Nalanda even colder. The fog doesn’t lift till 10.30am and the sun’s warming rays disappear at 5.30pm, heralding the start of a bitter, 3-6 degree chill that lasts for the next fifteen hours or so. Along the roads, cows are blanketed with roughly sewn together vegetable sacks while horses stand shivering uncontrollably. Indoors, there is respite from the wind but not from the cold and with frequent power cuts, even those wealthy enough to be able to access hot water have to go without. If the weather wasn’t bad enough, the 2011 PAISA survey revealed that while the district has been focusing on infrastructure and inputs (building more school toilets and maintaining high levels of training for its teachers), it has some of the highest teacher and classroom to pupil ratios (1:50) in our 9 district study, only 50% of enrolled children attend school on a given day, 50% of funds actually arrive in schools and of these funds, only 50% are spent. Perhaps it is not surprising then that between 09/10 and 10/11, ASER reported that learning levels had fallen on average by 10 percentage points in the district. Read more »
We've been reading an eye-opener of an article by Lant Pritchett posted on Ajay Shah's blog. Here's the link to it
http://ajayshahblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-pisa-results-for-india-end-of.html - First PISA results for India- The end of the beginning. Read more »
Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research is delighted to invite you to a talk by
From Accountability to Agency: Fostering citizen driven change in East Africa Read more »
Shailey Tucker, Accountability Initiative
Two weeks into a new job, there is nothing quite as refreshing as a field visit to gain a deeper sense of the nature of work one has embarked upon. So it was that, along with another colleague, I set off for Madhya Pradesh (MP) last week to meet state officials of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and observe the survey implementation for the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). As regular readers of this blog may already know, while the PAISA District Survey tracks SSA fund flows and expenditure in great detail in ten districts across the country, the PAISA national survey (done in partnership with ASER) provides grant information at the state and national levels.  Read more »
Cross posted from http://blog-pfm.imf.org
An increasing number of governments, as well as international and civil society organizations, are promoting the public disclosure of budgetary information, and calling for greater citizen involvement in budget processes. Most agree that fiscal transparency generates significant benefits, as it is an important precondition for better governance, improved economic performance and prudent fiscal policy, resulting in lower deficits and debt accumulation. Moreover, transparency functions as a political expression of democratic governance, giving citizens and taxpayers information that they are entitled to, and that they can use to hold their governments accountable. Read more »