Debating NGO Accountability

This article provides an introduction to the term ‘NGO’ and explains how the 1990s witnessed a booming number of international NGOs. The mushrooming of NGOs around the globe has created discourse around the importance of NGO accountability. Examples from across the globe are used in this report to highlight the various elements of the debate.

Enforcing the Right to Food in India: Bottlenecks in Delivering the Expected Outcome

Over the past decade, a series of events in India have brought the question of food security into sharp focus. Read more »

Accountability in Practice: Mechanisms for NGOs

This paper examines how accountability is practiced by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Five broad mechanisms are reviewed: reports and disclosure statements, performance assessments and evaluations, participation, self-regulation, and social audits. Read more »

Transparency in Government Operations

This paper represents a first attempt to address many of the aspects of transparency in government operations. It provides an overview of major issues in fiscal transparency and examines the IMF’s role in promoting transparency in government operations. It is, however, not to be viewed as a comprehensive compendium of transparent practices.

Taking the PDS to the Poor: Directions for Further Reform

This paper examines the costs and benefits associated with the operation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) for foodgrains in India. Read more »

Can information and communications technology applications contribute to poverty reduction? Lessons from rural India

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can reduce poverty by improving poor people’s access to education, health, government and financial services. ICT can also help small farmers and artisans by connecting them to markets. It is clear that in rural India -as well as in much of the developing world- realization of this potential is not guaranteed. Read more »

For Good Measure; Devolving Accountability for Performance and Assessment to Local Areas

This report is a contribution to the debate around the future of local government performance and assessment. The author outlines the possibility of reducing the burden of inspection on councils, while simultaneously increasing local accountability and the level of sector-led assistance and support. Read more »

Judicial Oversight or Overreach: The Role of Judiciary in Modern India

The role of the Judiciary in India has recently come under considerable attack, particularly from the Legislative branch, which feels that the courts have been exceeding their authority in interpreting the law, and that they have become an extra-constituional lawmaking body. Read more »

Power in People's Hands: Learning from the World's Best Public Services

This report of the study conducted by the Strategy Unit of the UK Cabinet Office documents bestpractices and innnovations in public service delivery from around the world. The report shows that five key changes lie behind the 'power shift' that is changing the relationship between citizens and state, front line and the centre, around the world... Read more »

From Nominal to Substantive Democracy: The Role and Design of Election Management Bodies

The last quarter of the century has seen a wave of new democracies. However in many democracies, the electoral process is fraudulent and powerful incumbents manipulate elections. This calls for a distinction to be drawn between nominal and substantive democracies and this paper focuses on such nominal democracies, where elections are often a façade and democracy is rendered meaningless. Instances of fraudulent elections are rampant in the recent history of many developing countries, creating a need to reform electoral processes. Read more »