In collaboration with PwCTransparency for InclusiveGovernanceAn assessment of IndiaPrepared by the Global Agenda Council on India, World Economic Forum
About the author Pranjal is a Media Leader and a member of Global Agenda Council on India at the World Economic Forum. In his over 21-year career in economic media, Pranjal Sharma has been involved with print, web and television news. Pranjal has spent about ten years in print media and over ten years in news TV. He is currently a Consulting Editor with BusinessWorld magazine and an independent Editorial Advisor. He is also visiting faculty at post graduate colleges and teaches information society and media subjects. Pranjal Sharma Pranjal’s career began in 1991 when the Indian economy was opened. He has since tracked the country’s economic development and engagement with the world. He has previously worked with leading Indian publications like Indian Express and India Today. For these publications he wrote extensively on India’s economic reforms. When domestic private TV news was permitted, Pranjal joined the growing segment. He began his TV journey with CNBC-TV18. At TV Today Network, he led a team that created pioneering work in offering business news in Hindi. It was the first such effort in any hindi news channel. He received the New Television Award for Best Anchor in 2007. Pranjal then went on to help launch and manage Bloomberg UTV in India. At Bloomberg UTV, he hosted a weeknight news show and also a weekend interview show featuring Indian policy makers including Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers. Pranjal holds a Bachelors degree in economics from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University and a Post Graduate diploma in media from the Times Centre for Media Studies, Delhi. As a Chevening Scholar he has also taken a mid-career course in media from the University of Westminster, London. Pranjal is a Fellow of European think-tank Salzburg Global Seminar. Pranjal is a member of the India-Africa Editors’ Forum, supported by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and also a founding member of Broadcast Editors Association. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +91-9899887273. Landline: +91-11-46605050 Address: 23, Vasant Enclave, New Delhi, India, 110057. Twitter: @pranjalsharma
Preface “India -the seventh largest country by area, the largest democracy, the second fastest growing economy…” words we often hear, and yet the euphoria of India as a regional power has been dented with talk of systemic corruption [India ranks a lowly 95 on Transparency International’s global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of perceived public sector corruption], poor public services, nagging problems of unemployment, illiteracy and poverty and demographic challenges such as significant population growth- factors that can exacerbate perceived lethargy and lack of transparency in governance processes.Sushant Palakurthi RaoSenior Director and Perceptions have changed, from the India shining storyHead of Asia to questions like “Is India BRIC’s fallen angel?”. A fair quantum of well-intentioned legislation and policy haveWorld Economic Forum been welcomed as a move in the right direction, and yet, the larger challenge remains— that of establishing a strong sense of credibility of the government and its functioning. Development of adequate capacity and sustained support for enforcement must also be addressed to ensure the success of India’s efforts. New initiatives in collective action and local networks of organizations who espouse principles of trust and transparency will also build trust and a stronger culture of accountability between business and government, leveling the playing field and supporting stronger growth and competitiveness.Elaine K. Dezenski The work of the Global Agenda Council on IndiaSenior Director and highlights that there is tangible progress on improvingHead of Partnering transparency and inclusiveness, but more workAgainst Corruption remains. Together with the Forum’s Partnering AgainstInitiative Corruption Initiative (PACI) and other key initiatives, we can develop a road map to a more transparent, inclusiveWorld Economic Forum and accountable environment in which all are proud to live and work.
Foreword A Constitution by the people, for the people; the conscious word play of our preamble demonstrates inclusive governance was as relevant in a nascent India, as it is today. What has changed with time is our perception of inclusiveness from elected representatives to a desire for direct involvement. The people of India are increasingly assertive of our right to monitor and hold accountable our Government, and to actively participate in formulating the future of our nation. Being a country of diverse geographic and demographic features, bound by legacy legislation and processes, our course has often been ridden with challenges. Yet, an increasingly proactive populace and a bureaucracy catalysedDeepak Kapoor by advances in technology are steadily building transparency andChairman inclusiveness in governance into the realm of possibility.PwC India For a nation that prides itself as an information technology powerhouse, we have been late to harness technology as an enabler of transparency and inclusiveness. Nonetheless, we have realised the distance to be travelled. Awareness levels have to be created around all aspects of governance. The success of a governance initiative has to be de-linked from pure play implementation, to a dynamic gauge, reflective of the responsiveness of the populace. While it is evident that effort has been made over the past few decades in terms of legislation and policy, many such initiatives have been lost at the altar of implementation. Two prominent reasons are the dilution of well-intentioned policy and self-defined measurements of ‘success’ for the programmes, by implementation agencies. There is some iteration on curtailing the ambit of the Right to Information Act on account of frivolous applications. But common wisdom says that effort must be made to instead augment the powers of information commissions while improving the efficacy of implementation. The next logical change is to make available all information relating to a public authority on a public forum, without requiring a citizen to file an application. When implementing any decision, state instruments need to follow a pure ‘first-in-first-out’ system in order to ensure equality and fair play for the masses, accompanied with coherent and easily accessible reasoning. While effort is being made to ease the interface of G2C and G2B services, instead of offering select services and information to citizens, a participative way must emerge, allowing citizens the right to elect services. The Government’s credibility will further be built upon by taking the deep-rooted problem of corruption head on, and by bringing private sector entities within the ambit of legislation akin to the Prevention of Corruption Act. The context has changed over the years, and after 65 years of independence, so has the meaning of swaraj for our country. I hope you would appreciate by the end of this report that there is a lot that has been achieved and yet, a lot more to be done.
IntroductionNever has corruption been written about Several new bills have been introduced state and local levels can dramaticallyas much as in the last year. There has also that can have help make the Government impact growth on the broader humanbeen a growing sense of despondency more transparent and accountable. The development indicators.among a section of the population that the much debated Lok Pal Bill has beenGDP growth rate in India is less than the introduced in Parliament and has been The Indian federal structure givesexpected levels. passed by the Lok Sabha. It awaits important powers to state and local passage by the Rajya Sabha. The Governments. Several states have initiatedIn this context, the Regional Agenda Government has made a significant useful measures that can promote greaterCouncil on India deliberated on the commitment of resources to put in place transparency. The emergence of achallenges facing the country and how a national Unique Identification Authority, stronger civil society has also pushed theIndia can pro-actively engage with the which is an important attempt to improve transparency agenda forward.wider world. targeting of Government programmes It is expected that this report willThis report seeks to outline some of the and reduce leakage. These are just document at least some of the importantinitiatives that have been taken to make some examples. initiatives that we have seen in recentgovernance more transparent and There is more room to make Government years. This is by no meansinclusive in recent years. decision making more transparent and comprehensive, but is designed to send a there is scope to include a wider set of message to all of us that there is a silent,India is not flawless. Instead, our view is positive side to the India story that muchthat despite all the negativism surrounding stakeholders in formulating and deciding policy. India can greatly benefit from of us seem to have missed in all the gloomthe India story, there are silver linings. surrounding us. We hope that this report more inclusive policy formulation thatFor instance, on the legislative front, takes cognisance of implementation will leave all of us more energised to act,landmark laws such as the Right to realities. It is also true that more and do even more to promoteInformation Act have been passed. transparent governance at the national, ‘transparency for inclusive governance.’3 Transparency for Inclusive Governance
Inclusion Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) Fundamental to the concept of inclusion is This is complicated by the fact that the civil society’s participation in the creation devolution of the 3Fs of governance (i.e. and implementation of policy measures. funds, functionaries and functions) relevantA participative way of Even the basic effort by the Government to to Panchayats has not been uniform and is seek the opinion of society is a welcome yet to be implemented completely across‘Governance’ wherein act of inclusion. The Government body the country and all states.citizens and other may or may not accept the views of the States such as Andhra Pradesh and social group. But that is another matter.stakeholders have a say Elected representatives have always had a Madhya Pradesh started initiatives for theirin the decision making formal say in decision-making processes. rural community more than a decade ago. State legislatures and Parliament were the E.g., the Janma Bhoomi programme inprocess of the only constitutional framework until the Andhra Pradesh had three broadGovernment onset of Panchayats, which have afforded objectives: Prajala Vaddaku Palana (PVP) inclusiveness at the grass-root level. (administration at the doorsteps of the people), Shramadanam (donation of labour) The 73rd amendment effecting a directive and micro-level planning. PVP was intendedThe 73 & 74 amendments by giving rd th principle of state policy, devolved power to to bridge the gap between the commonconstitutional status to panchayats and villages, tehsils and districts. It allowed man and the state administration through aUrban Local Bodies have been the each village to participate in local two-way process of state officialssingle-most substantial countrywide governance through an elected Panchayat understanding the problems of the peopleinitiative that seeks to improve inclusion conferred with constitutional recognition. through direct contact and the commonand facilitates devolution of powers. As per a report of the Ministry of people getting an opportunity to representPeople could take part in the issues that Panchayati Raj titled a Report of Working their problems and grievances directly toaffected them directly thereby having a say Group on Panchayati Raj Institutions and the officials. Shramadanam, considered thein the decision-making. There exists much Rural Governance, elected representatives logical outcome of PVP, gave people thescope of improvement as the benefit and are close to 2.8 million, comprising over opportunity to participate through theadoption of the framework is yet to achieve 30% women, 19% schedule castes, 12% contribution of labour and donations in thetheir intended potential. The reluctance of schedule tribes and also other backward execution of works identified by them. Thegovernment officials, an inadequate classes in proportion to the population in third objective of Janma Bhoomi micro-levelframework of financial independence and most states. A further 50% reservation for planning was mainly intended toa general lack of awareness among women increased the egalitarian nature of acknowledge the people to identify andcitizens are the oft-quoted reasons for the PRIs. As is evident, from the first-ever prioritise their problems through gramhampering effective participation of civil Panchayat elections at Jharkhand where sabhas (village electorates).society in planning and decision-making. 58% of the seats were bagged by women candidates, women’s reservation has met The Government of Madhya PradeshInclusion in decision-making has evolved with good success. legislated a series of reforms, designed toin a fundamental way. The new-age improve the power of the gram sabha anddefinition of inclusion is a direct interaction The initiatives and steps to improve the the accountability of the gram panchayat.between the Government and society, no capability of elected representatives require more sustained efforts across both Another example of successfulmore limited solely through elected implementation of Panchayati Raj is therepresentatives. This is a deep change central and state government levels. The Government has been trying to implement Soda village (www.soda-india.in/sarpanch)that can be seen in sporadic attempts to where a number of public welfare initiativeshold town-hall meetings on policy issues. capacity-building programmes for elected representatives so as to ensure have been undertaken with the help ofHere is a brief of some prominent efforts Panchayats including water reservoir,undertaken by the government. awareness, literacy and capacity for understanding local issues and small-scale industries, computerisation, etc. implementing Government schemes and programmes in the most effective manner. Transparency for Inclusive Governance 4
Social audit Urban local bodiesThe idea of a social audit was floated in Another important step towards including • Gujarat has taken a number oforder to improve checks and balances society in decisions affecting their daily innovative measures such as thewithin the Panchayati Raj Institutions lives was the creation of Urban Local formation of City Manager’sframework. In 2005, social audits were Bodies (ULBs). These bodies were meant Association Gujarat (CMAG), a forum ofmade statutory through National Rural to allow local communities to decide on urban local bodies of the state, toEmployment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the usage and charges for basic utilities. provide support to the cityallowing people to directly question However, there is an impression that Governments in solving the complexelected representatives on a continual State Governments continue to dictate problems of growth by buildingbasis. There has been concern on news matters such as rates of user charges, in-house capacity and expertise and inrelated with social audits being property tax, octroi, role of parastatals articulating their concerns to the highermanipulated and existing only on paper. (Government owned organisations) in levels of Government. The area-basedSocial audit is a very powerful tool for water supply and sanitation services, property tax assessment system hascitizens for participation in governance etc., with little reference to the ULBs resulted in easy calculations and aand where the social audit has been affected by these decisions. Factors higher yield from property tax.genuine and effectively conducted; for such as reduced avenues for revenuee.g., in the case of Andhra Pradesh, as generation and dependency on State • Ahmedabad Municipal Corporationper a report, state-wide social audits Governments for funding are undermining was the first ULB to access the capitalfound fraud of large amounts resulting in the principle of self-governance. markets in January 1998.administrative or criminal charges against Limited success with regards to theabout 7,000 officials. Despite the gloom, some states have managed to crack the code and emerge implementation of provisions of the successful; some of the examples are 74thamendment which mandated the as follows: formation of the District Planning Commission has impacted the efforts of • Kerala is a fair example of democratic democratic decentralisation of decentralisation where the participation governance at the local level. The of representatives and members of all executive powers remain vested with the sections of society was enabled in the municipal commissioner, appointed by execution of local development plans the state Government. along with an increased participation by Non Governmental Organisations The urban service levels in many cities (NGOs) and civil society groups. e.g., water supply, sewerage, solid waste disposal, city-wide roads, and street • Maharashtra has implemented the lighting, continue to be unsatisfactory and Maharashtra Suvarna Jayanti inadequate for the rapidly growing Nagarothan Mahabhiyan to address a population. gamut of issues like slum management, traffic management, pollution control, The responsibility of urban services rests waste management both solid as well with the ULBs who have limited financial as liquids, administration and independence. This is a cause for governance at the local level by concern. The gap in required funds for supporting municipal bodies which are urban infrastructure projects has been not covered under the central discussed in the five-year plans. The 10th Government’s Jawaharlal Nehru Five-Year plan notes, “Urban National Urban Renewal Mission infrastructure cannot be funded by (JNNURM) scheme. budgetary support alone.”5 Transparency for Inclusive Governance
Resident welfare Social mediaassociations (RWAs)and Bhagidari The civic and metropolitan authorities have even considered. The current Government started using social media in order to systems are not mature enough to deal interact with the public. Much of it is to with this need for information. As a result,There have been state-specific incentives disseminate utilitarian information such as most citizens remain cynical about onlineto incorporate the views of society or to the traffic situation. In some cases, feedback forums which is coupled by thedevolve the decision-making power for feedback from the public is sought for fact that the majority population of Indiabasic civic functions. These initiatives have minor changes in localities. Delhi and has no or limited access to social media.been applauded for their implementation Bangalore have taken the lead in suchand intent of engaging common citizens. efforts. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, The central Government has recently now trifurcated, seeks citizens’ reactions devised guidelines for using social media.The Bhagidari (participation) scheme of the The objective is to encourage Government through its website. The Delhi andDelhi Government directly involves citizens departments to engage with citizens. Bangalore Police are active on Twitter andthrough RWAs in monthly meetings in These guidelines are pioneering in many Facebook. The Municipal Corporation oforder to take responsibility for their areas. ways. They formally allow and encourage Delhi’s Facebook page accumulated moreThese RWAs are also the first point of Government bodies to create and adopt than 1500 complaints, most of which werecontact for state utilities while planning citizen engagement. Thus far, a few resolved on priority.changes. In one of the biggest citizen departments had done without clearinvolvements, it recently conducted a large The authorities also use these sites to post guidelines and departmental initiativestown-hall meeting which involved the the names of violators. At the central level, were driven by the efforts of select andparticipation of more than 3,500 RWAs the Planning Commission also seeks technologically aware departmentalwho met and interacted with the cabinet inputs from citizens. officers. They also codified the rules,ministers. This was a huge surge in making it easier for officials and citizens tonumbers from July, 2011 when 600 RWAs Yet, there is little demonstrable impact of know what to expect out of thehad participated. Bhagidari has such feedback and discussion. engagement. As with any new initiative, ittremendous potential and with sustained Government bodies have not been able to will take a while to evolve and mature.efforts from the Government and involved close that loop. Citizens want to knowRWA members, this can be one of the whether their feedback was utilised or The guidelines have been defined aroundmost effective tools of local self six key elements briefly explained here:governance in urban areas.In another instance, the representatives ofthe Ghaziabad RWA went house-to-houseand asked residents to hand over theirhouse tax cheques drawn in favour of theMunicipal Corporation, Ghaziabad. TheRWA discovered that many residents hadnot paid their house taxes for several years.The Citizens Monitoring Hub was launchedby the Odisha Government in 2011, thoughits roll-out has been limited.Kerala initiated the People’s PlanCampaign to take the people’s view for thepreparation of development plans underthe 9th Plan. In the beginning of the 9thPlan, the Government of Kerala took abold decision to devolve 35% of the statedevelopment budget down from acentralised bureaucracy to localGovernments where local people coulddetermine and implement their owndevelopment priorities under the People’sPlan Campaign (PPC). Transparency for Inclusive Governance 6
TransparencyThe most critical aspect of the guidelinesis to ensure that the engagement isanalysed and fed into the system that isforming and implementing the policy. Refers to the level ofThe Right to Fair Compensation, openness and access toResettlement, Rehabilitation and information and/or data;Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill also to include keyPreviously identified as the LandAcquisition, Rehabilitation and initiatives taken towardsResettlement Bill, the bill is an important promoting transparency inaspect of inclusion and proposes freshmoves on the land acquisition process. the GovernmentThe new laws make people’s approval in functioningthe sale of land mandatory. A Group ofMinisters (GoM) cleared the long delayedbill, and is predicted to be introduced inthe winter session of Parliament. It is As a concept, transparency is relativelycurrently proposed that consent of at new to Government functioning in India.least two-thirds of the project-affected While inclusion has been an underlyingfamilies will be obtained before acquiring theme since independence,the land for public-private-partnership or transparency was assumed, but notprivate projects. enshrined.Under the law, the land acquirer has to The biggest step to change this hasprovide 25 additional services to families been the Right to Information Act whichaffected by the land acquisition. These enabled monitoring and accountabilityservices include schools, health centres, for every citizen as a right.roads, safe drinking water and childsupport services, places of worship, But apart from this law, several otherburial and cremation grounds, post efforts at improving transparency haveoffices, fair price shops, and storage been initiated at several levels of thefacilities. The bill is currently in a fluid Government.state with a debate on its provisions, weshall have to wait and watch to see thefinal form it evolves into.7 Transparency for Inclusive Governance
The Right to Information (RTI) Act The National Data Sharing and Accessibility PolicyThe seeds for the Act were sown Besides, state information commissions ofdecades ago at national and state level. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, (NDSAP)The National Campaign for People’s Mizoram, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura andRight to Information (NCPRI) campaigned Uttar Pradesh have not uploaded any offor a national RTI law in 1996. In 1997, the their annual reports on their websites.Rajasthan Government announced that About 59% of the state information The National Data Sharing and Accessibilityevery citizen shall have the right to obtain commissions do not display cause lists on Policy received cabinet approval incopies of departmental documents their websites. February, 2012. It aims to empower citizensrelated to local development works. In to access information owned by the2000, the precursor to RTI was tabled in There is continued failure to consistently Government in both human- as well asthe form of the Freedom of Information disclose information pro-actively on the machine-readable forms through aAct. It was passed in 2002 but was not internet relevant to the implementation of countrywide network in a proactive andbought into force. It took years before the the Act, as is evident from the fact that the periodically updatable manner, within theRTI Act, in its current form, could be Central Information Commission (CIC) and framework of various related policies, actsintroduced and was finally brought into the State Information Commissions of and rules of the Government, therebyeffect 2005. Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are the only permitting wider accessibility and use of information commissions to have uploaded public data and information keeping in viewIn the last seven years, RTI itself has all annual reports for the period 2006-2011. the broad guidelines delineated in the RTIevolved in scope and interpretation. Act, 2005. The policy is applicable to allWhile it had a benign beginning, the Further, the RTI Act mandates for these sharable non-sensitive data available eitherestablished struck back with efforts to annual reports to be tabled before in digital or analog forms but generatedmitigate its sweep. Parliament and respective state using public funds by ministries, legislatures. However, there is no departments, subordinate offices,Even as the Act grew in popularity with information available in the public domain organisations and agencies of thecitizens, it began to be shunned by regarding such discussions in Parliament Government of India.Government agencies and officials. or state legislatures, till date.Though the broad framework is the The NDSAP will increase accessibility andsame, section 27 of the Act empowers easier sharing of non-sensitive data amongstates to make rules to carry out the registered users for their scientific,provisions of the Act. E.g., earlier this economic and social developmentalyear, the Maharashtra Government purposes. All the data holding organisationsproposed to limit each RTI application to will reclassify their data and prepare aone subject and 150 words. The negative list of sensitive data within sixnotification has been challenged in the months of notification of the policy.Bombay HC and the matter is currentlysub-judice.The RTI Act is working at limitedeffectiveness because of severalstructural reasons. Many of thesereasons were highlighted in an evaluationdone by the central Government’sDepartment of Personnel and Training.Offices meant to service informationclaims have not been adequately staffed.The Central Information Commissioner isappointed by the Government and inrecent years there has been an increasingtrend of retired public servants occupyingthese posts which clearly negates theobject of appointing persons of eminencefrom diverse fields leading to claims ofcompromising the position. Roughly 30%of the posts for informationcommissioners in states are lying vacant. Transparency for Inclusive Governance 8
The Whistleblowers Public GovernanceBill Procurement BillIn 2004, in response to a petition filed The draft Bill seeks to establish theafter the murder of Satyendra Dubey, the procedure for bid process in aSupreme Court directed a mechanism to consolidated place. The Bill has codifiedbe put in place for acting on complaints the basic tenets of public procurement Refers to the changesfrom whistleblowers till a law is enacted. and places statutory obligations onThe Government notified a resolution and procuring entities and bidders to comply in governance modelsthe Whistleblower Protection Bill was with these norms. Currently, the public and the impact oftabled in Parliament in 2011. procurement process ails from inadequate and severely fragmented technology onThe bill envisages a mechanism toregister complaints on allegations of administrative rules which lack legal force. governance The codification of the process layingwrongdoing, corruption, wilful misuse of down broad principles to be adhered to ispower with the intent to protect someone in itself the most significant plus point ofwho exposes alleged wrongdoing by a the Bill.public servant. The bill empowered the The efforts of inclusion andCentral Vigilance Commission (CVC) to The intent of the bill is as follows: transparency leads to improvedact on complaints from whistleblowers. governance. Effective governance • Ensure efficient and transparent needs a foundation for simplerThis bill covers all ministries and process processes and the deployment ofdepartments of the central Government, technology. In India, the Governmentany central public sector undertaking and • Increase competition has been actively deploying andany company in which the Government • Reduce corruption adopting technology in order to improvehas a stake of more than 50%. governance coupled with re- • Ensure fair and equitable treatment to engineering of bureaucratic processes.Pending the fate of the Whistleblowers participantsBill, the CIC in July this year directed However, much more can be done inpublic authorities to disclose information • Ensure consistency between quality terms of re-engineering of legacyrequested under pending applications of and the bid price processes in order to make governancean allegedly murdered activist Ravinder more effective and efficient. The timeBalwani further to a resolution made in The Bill also proposes different degrees taken for clearance, licences and other2011. The decision, albeit unconventional of penalties per the severity of an Government certificates and approvalsas it does not strictly fit under the CIC’s offence such as taking gratification in remain cumbersome.domain, is noteworthy action by the respect of procurement, interference with the process, making vexatious, The deployment of technology hasauthority as it defeats the motive behind improved the quality of some services.the murder of activists. frivolous or malicious complaints and abetment of offences. Changes have also been made in the last few years to improve the It excludes from its ambit procurements governance capability. There have been which are less than INR 5 million, great successes but mostly, a mixed procurements for the purport of national bag. The Government system is yet to security and emergency procurements adopt performance linked incentives made for disaster management programmes (common and successful in the private sector) that can play a crucial role in inculcating the urge to change, improve and adapt in most officials. However, positive initiatives undertaken by the Government in this regard include the performance management division.9 Transparency for Inclusive Governance
The Performance The National e-GovernanceManagement Plan (NeGP)Division The objective is to make all Government However, there are a few success stories services available to citizens through including the MCA21 mission mode online access. The programme project (MCA21) which addressed the encourages all Government departments challenges faced by the Ministry ofThe Cabinet Secretariat of the central and ministries to manage their internal Corporate Affairs in providing services toGovernment started this division to track process electronically. Effectively, this corporate entities, e-filing of income taxand incentivise improved outcomes of means creating almost paperless returns and land record managementministerial decisions. The new system lays departments. It is still work-in-progress systems. For example, the success ofdown clear guidelines for officials in all but a lack of a firm deadline means that e-filing of income tax returns can beministries for tracking performance based every department is proceeding at its own gauged by the significant year-on-yearon results. The system has been put in pace. Since effective co-ordination is increase in the number of citizens andplace in order to ensure that officials get lacking, even the departments that adopt users who have adopted the system asrecognised for taking steps that bring a electronic processes cannot be fully depicted below.policy closer to decision. efficient until other related departmentsThe tendency to delay decision-making reach the same level.needs to be curbed leading to fasterresolution. This will help every decision toreach its logical conclusion much faster.The effort has also been adopted bycentral ministries, while many states alsowarm up to it. But it is too early to saywhether it has made any significantdifference to governance. Nonetheless, itis a welcome effort that could havepositive long-term consequences. But theeffectiveness of the policy is yet to beestablished. Also, it is important to haveaccountability provisions with necessarypenalties along with performance-basedincentives in Government.Such themes are increasingly beingadopted across states in programmes likethe mandated or Guaranteed ServicesDelivery Act wherein any delay in servicedelivery by a Government official beyondthe specified time limit is penalised. This issimilar to the provision in the RTI Act andhas been adopted in states like Delhi,Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.The Railway Quick highlights of e-filing in F.Y. 2011-12 (Upto 31st March 12)Reservation System Comparative growth of e-filing Form wise receipt of e-returns up to 31 March 2012 Form Name F.Y. 2010-11 F.Y. 2011-12 Percentage growth in FY 2011-12Technology began to be deployed in 1 ITR-1 1,983,618 4,439,001 123.78%Government services from 1996. In many 2 ITR-2 1,040,281 1,773,659 70.50%ways, the railways led the use oftechnology. Online reservation was 3 ITR-3 327,409 522,579 59.61%launched in 2002. 4 ITR 4 & 4S 4,552,028 8,340,343 83.22%The introduction of the Tatkal scheme in 5 ITR-5 616,007 765,054 24.20%the late 90s was the first paradigm shift to 6 ITR-6 530,899 593,047 11.71%deliver services and earn extra revenues Total 9,050,242 16,433,683 81.58%for the Government. This was made moreeffective with the advent of technology asthe online reservation system, despiteoperational glitches, provided for atransparent, efficient and easy-to-usemedium for common citizens. Transparency for Inclusive Governance 10
The Electronic ConclusionDelivery ofServices (EDS) Bill There are indeed a number of initiatives that However we need to acknowledge that have been taken to promote ‘transparency the Government alone cannot address for inclusive governance.’ While these are all this challenge and legislation in isolation necessary stepping stones for better is not a panacea of all that ails us.The EDS Bill aims to create a law that will governance, there is more that can be done Stakeholders across the spectrum haveenable departments to offer facilities to and at a faster pace. an important role to play in ensuring thatcitizens in an electronic format, barring a the benefits of better governance reachfew exceptions where physical delivery is Naturally, there has been a lot of focus on all citizens. The full potential of these andessential. what the Government of India has been other measures of the Government can doing, and needs to do. But to miss the be realised only with the activeThe deadline for all departments is five action in the states would be to leave out engagement of all stakeholders.years from the enactment of the Bill. a big part of the change that India isThe draft EDS Bill draws certain ushering in. There is innovation and as If we have felt that we have hit crisissimilarities to the RTI in terms of the can be expected, unevenness in the way point, we must also know that India haspenalty mechanism to be imposed on states are addressing these challenges. been effective in rising to greater heightserring officials. If successful, the EDS Bill when it responds. Given the It is becoming increasingly evident that opportunities that are presentingwill pave the way for smoother access to technology is an important enabler for themselves before us, there is no doubtinformation as it will force all Government effecting Governance. In addition, the that we are at the cusp of seeing a newdepartments to digitise processes. While power of the rapidly growing traditional age of greater transparency for inclusivethere are no pilot projects yet, many states and social media has transformed how governance that will benefit all citizens.have taken up the idea. Madhya Pradesh, citizens access and share information.Bihar, Delhi and Rajasthan have adopted The growth in the number of young,the state-level rules for mandatory delivery educated people in India augurs well forof Government services within a specified promoting a new set of ideas that mighttimeframe. The EDS bill has been pending have appeared impossible orfor a year and once enacted, it is expected inconceivable even a few years ago.to significantly contribute to transparencyand improved governance. The Bill hasbeen tabled in Parliament. A StandingCommittee has also submitted itscomments on the Bill. The Bill effectivelyproposes better delivery of services withminimal human interface, and by cuttinghuman interface would cause reducedopportunity for corruption.11 Transparency for Inclusive Governance
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