The Governance Knowledge Centre (GKC) is an initiative of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances under the Capacity Building for Poverty Reduction programme. It was launched by the Prime Minister during the National Conference of Collectors held at New Delhi in May, 2005.
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Author and commentator Gurcharan Das discusses institutional accountability with Yamini Aiyar, Director of the Accountability Initiative, at the Millenium Campaign Lecuture Series, 2010. Read more »
Global Financial Integrity recently published a study, The Drivers and Dynamics of Illicit Financial Flows from India: 1948-2008, that found that India has lost $462 billion in illegal assets during the period, as a result of corruption, bribery and tax evasion. $125 billion dollars were lost in just the past decade, and nearly half the total losses were incurred after economic liberalization in 1991.
Our website www.accountabilityindia.org is designed as a comprehensive source on the state of accountability in India with information on civil society experiments, accountability tool kits, and relevant research and analytical work.
An important component of the website is the Document Library. This is a collection of conceptual, analytical and empirical literature on the broad subject of governance and accountability from India and around the world. It is designed as a one-stop source of information for students, researchers, academics, practitioners and policymakers interested in these issues.
It appears that the Government of India is attempting to draft a new set of Rules under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The minutes of a meeting held at the Central Information Commission (CIC) on 16th November 2010 indicate that it has been asked to comment on a set of draft RTI Rules prepared by the Government of India. Specifically, the minute’s state:
"Agenda 1: Draft RTI rules- for discussions
Commission discussed the draft rules and suggested some modifications. The changes as suggested by the Commission shall be incorporated and sent to the Government at the earliest. (Action: Secretary/JS (law)) "
Expectations of gains from citizen participation in governments is a strong motivator for proponents of democratic decentralisation. These expectations need to be realistic, as experiences with local governments in various contexts have shown. One of the measures of local-level accountability is the level of corruption in local government. A 2009 NBER paper by Ferraz and Finan asks whether electoral accountability can reduce corruption in Brazil. They find that local government officials facing re-election are significantly less corrupt than those who are not, with the former witnessing corruption levels that are, on average, 27% lower than the latter.
In June 2010, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, a Hong Kong based group announced the result of a survey of 1300 business executives undertaken in 12 Asian countries. The result of the survey - amongst the countries polled, India has the greatest amount of red tape. In fact, a BBC report goes so far as to use the word “stifling” to describe the Indian bureaucracy and that “working with civil servants was a slow and painful process”. So, can the civil service impede growth and if so, how?
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has produced a study comparing India's Whistleblower Bill (Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010) with international best practice standards. This comparison is useful to identify potential improvements that can be made to the Bill. Read more »
Avani Kapur and Ambrish Dongre
A recent report in the Times of India, UP’s 10 lakh ‘missing’ kids hints at huge scam, pointed out an interesting statistic:- Uttar Pradesh’s enrolment in class I to V- has fallen by 9.89 lakh children, from 2.49 crore in 2008-09 to 2.39 crore in 2009-10. On the other hand, enrolment in class VI to VIII- has gone up by two lakhs- from 74.15 lakh in 2008-09 to 76.15 lakh in 2009-10. The article points to the possibility that these figures based on the DISE data, are an indication of a huge scam.
Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) is a citizens’ group with a mandate to promote transparency and accountability in government functioning and to encourage active participation of citizens in governance. The group has been heavily involved in the campaign for the right to information and works with local communities to build their capacities on using the right to information as an accountability tool.
Recently, in a move that has been rightly acknowledged as the first tangible step toward radically overhauling the Five-Year Plan process, the Planning Commission unveiled a new approach to the Twelfth Plan, aimed at making it an inclusive and participative process. To start, the commission has put together a strategy matrix for the approach paper and invited comments through its website. Efforts are also underway to “listen to and consult with citizens’” through civil society-led consultations across the country.
In a surprising turn of events, on October 22nd, 2010, the Government of India in departure from its usual torpidity approved the introduction of Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), demonstrating the commitment of the government to arrest problems of poor health and nutritional deficiency, captured most recently in the Global Hunger Index, which ranked India 67th out of a total of 84 countries. The scheme which is to be implemented on a Pilot basis in 52 district of the country offers cash incentives to all pregnant and lactating women above the age of 19 years for the first two live births. The only exceptions are central and state public sector employees who have been excluded from the purview of the scheme as they are entitled to paid maternity leave.