Accountability Initiative launches new learning course on governance
While the quality of essential public services provided in India is weak, citizens too are often unable to hold the state accountable for such lapses. Accountability Initiative’s Learning and Development lead Rajika Seth talks about Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar, a first of its kind course to build the capacity of Civil Society Organisations and grassroots administrators to identify where the loopholes in the governance structure.
What is the thought behind the course Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar and who are course participants?
The course Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar enables participants to undertake critical analysis of state capability in India as it exists today and supports them in finding answers to questions encountered every day such as: Why are not beneficiaries receiving the money due to them in time? Why is the quality of education provided by the government weak? Why is the standard of health services not improving? What prevents citizens from demanding better services?
The modules of the course include easily understandable pieces on what the government structure is, how the government functions and what is the ideal relationship between the government and people. Each module has been created on the basis of existing scholarship on the issues, and deals with topics such as decentralisation, understanding bureacracy, fund flow mechanisms and the need for active citizenship.
Our participants are usually grassroots-level development professionals working towards improving public services, members of Civil Society Organisations and Panchayat Samitis. The course thus speaks to an audience which is at the frontline of service delivery, both as administrators and recipients of services.
What is the relevance of a course such as this?
Even if the government wishes to deliver a transparent, accountable and well-functioning governance system, state agencies and public authorities seem to lack the capacity (technical and administrative; political and institutional) to deliver quality public services.
This capacity gap leaves a significant need to enhance the competency of the administrative system and its human resources and our course does just that by placing state capability at the front of the debate on governance and accountability and training the existing cadre of practitioners who engage with the system.
What change does the course hope to achieve?
Through the course participants will not only learn about the root causes of administrative and fiscal dysfunctionality of governance systems on the ground but also about the most effective means of improving state capacity. Equipped with this knowledge, they should be able to apply a holistic mindset to on-ground interventions that are meant to strengthen administrative and organisational systems of government functioning, facilitate better coordination between different departments and levels of the government, and institute mechanisms to ensure citizen-state accountability in the design and provision of public goods. In specific, through this course, participants will be able to:
- Describe the meaning of ‘decentralisation’ and critique its application in India today.
- Decipher the Indian bureaucracy and their importance within the government system.
- Explain the structure of the Indian bureaucratic system and the complicated environment within which they work.
- Analyse the complications in the fund flow system, the Indian budget system, and how schemes are formulated and implemented. They will know why money often does not reach its destination on time and the reasons for delay.
- Engage with the government better at the frontline of service delivery.
- Discuss the problems related to citizen engagement with the state and how citizens can strengthen their voice to ensure enforceability of their demands.
- Explain Social Accountability and how Social Accountability tools can be used effectively.
The end goal is to enhance the quality of services provided by the government! A well-informed citizenry who can engage with the administrative system is critical for this.
Who can register for the course and how can people be involved?