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Sectoral Workshops - Governance


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PROCEEDINGS

Objective of the Workshop

The objective of the Sectoral Workshop was to bring together various representatives from Governance Sector and have them deliberate on the key sectoral challenges, the possible solutions and what could be the key sectoral Vision for 2025.

 
Time & Date          : 10:30 – 16:35 Hours, 27th September, 2017    
Venue                    : JW Marriot, Bangalore
Mode of Meeting  : Focused
Anchored By        : Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI)

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

    The Governance group comprised 9 members, spanning representation from civil society organisation; Public Affair Centre – working exclusively on measuring governance; experts from Law and Public Policy; e-Governance and security; academia and government officials.  The group had a healthy mix of all contours of governance, and a team that was greatly passionate and committed about improving and enhancing governance in the state of Karnataka.  
Vision
    Governance is about making all government activities citizen - centric by focusing on institutions and processes that facilitate and enhance transparency, accountability, participation, decentralisation and responsiveness in the government system.

Key Issues

  • While governments are formed for citizens, and service delivery is for citizens, have very little role in the entire process and they have very few redressal mechanism also.  It was stressed that focus should be on creating institutions that empower citizen and address their concerns
  • All stakeholder have different space (politicians; Government machinery & citizens) there is no stress on automatic delivery of services. Citizen always has to go for a remedy to the courts to be heard. Judiciary is the only redressal.
  • It was pointed out that Transparency, Accountability & participation form the main structure of governance
  • There was also a unanimous agreement that there was complete lack of awareness of roles / duties/ of government units and departments. As such it was felt that governance can improve only with increase in awareness and efficient grievance redressal
  • While policy makers announce schemes / policies etc. the system is hardly prepared to take up delivery of services because of insufficient infrastructure, preparedness or lack of expertise. All these issues need proper attention.
  • Infrastructure and awareness has to be strengthened. While there are a number of laws / Acts/ Policies / Schemes etc. in the governance domain, what is lacking is sufficient awareness about the presence of these. Citizen is not aware of the options and also is clueless about how he/she can get redressal on these issues.
  • Governance is establishing authority; executing authority; and holding authority to account: this translates into the fact that governance should have strong institutions for establishing authority; for executing authority (implementation) and for holding authority to account (Citizen centric)  

Institutions & Processes

  • Institutions & processes need to be citizen centric: this brings us to the point of how technology can bring citizen in focus: need to strengthen technology in rural areas
  • Questions were also raised about how effective use of technology can reduce corruption.
  • Make governance policies open source; Kerala model of open sourcing of information was discussed
  • Capacity of institutions not strong in Karnataka; it was agreed that the state has issues in terms of last mile connectivity and redressal a key issue
  • It was agreed that stress has to be on strengthening institutions that provide citizen services

Transparency & Accountability

  • The need for transparent governance was highlighted. Actionable chart, suo moto disclosure was needed to make governance transparent. Full & total implementation of RTI should be a priority
  • Options like Implementable citizen charters /Measurability attainability –were suggested to initiate citizen centric governance. It was suggested that all departments have citizen charters. Moreover, these citizen charters were to be reviewed annually by third party (civil society / NGOs) for an impartial / neutral monitoring.
  • It was emphasised that departments / offices be made Citizen friendly with help desks that can help citizen identify how and whom to approach to get things done.
  • Exchange of data within departments is to be initiated. Convergence of data can become an important tool for facilitating seamless service delivery. If data is shared between the various departments, it should make the lives of citizens easy.
  • Sensitive information of citizens needs to be protected; need to bring in focus on cyber security. It should be ensured that data should be safe. (encrypted & secure) it was pointed out that while most government offices were collecting huge amounts of data, data security was being overlooked. It was pointed out that almost all government department sites were non-https -one of the core requirements of data safety. It was suggested that each department has a designated % of funds for addressing cyber security
  • There needs to be regular updation of security threats and capacity building of personnel for addressing these threats
  • There is no single platform for grievance redressal – district /departments. The urgent need for a separate Appellate Authority to review / evaluate redressal of grievances was stressed
  • It was also underlined that departments had insufficient practice / knowledge of Data management & data analysis. Data analysis and single window data access can go a long way in ensuring transparency. The roles / Functions of functionaries should be clearly defined and made public: Questions like:
    • Who does what?
    • What are individual Functions?
    • Define the process on Public Platform
    • Publicize Policies / schemes
    • Increase e-files
  • Improved and increased implementation of Sakala can go a long way in transparency

Participation

  • Citizen participation should be encouraged and facilitated in all sectors and at varied levels. However as citizen awareness is low, it was suggested that government should make efforts to make them aware of the issues / processes.
  • Capacity building of user committees / citizen groups in varied sectors like water users / school federations is needed
  • Rigorous collection of feedback / comments from citizens on all departmental activities. This should be recorded and made available in public domain
  • There should also be a periodic publication / sharing of the citizen comments with general public
  • Departments need to provide rational / justification for decisions taken and options taken.
  • There should be periodic discussion of departments of issues / schemes (already initiated & Proposed)
  • A system of penalization of officials in case of non-compliance or ignoring of suggestions / feedback can be introduced to make governance more attuned to citizen needs / suggestions
  • A practice of pre-legislation / pre-policy consultations with civil society on critical issues / decisions should be initiated to make governance participatory
  • Draft laws/ acts/ policies/schemes to be put on public domain and discussed

Capacity Building

  • It was recommended that Jalaspandana offices at district level can enhance the capacity for district / sub-district participation in governance. It was seen that often the fact that functionaries do not have the capacity, most of the devolved funds remain unutilised, and little progress is made in actualizing decentralization.
  • There should be a percentage of funds designated for capacity building
  • Up-dation of Cadre& Recruitment rules (C&R) for keeping governance current
  • Compulsory induction training of officials about rules/departments/ about customer centric governance
  • Training for up-dation of functional skills at least once in 3 years of personnel. Make it mandatory before promotions
  • Refresher course every three years

Generic Suggestions:

  • Rationalization of processes and removal of duplication of laws/ process / schemes
  • Incorporating systems of Government Process Architecture (GPAF) proposed by DPAR / DARPG
  • Removal of obsolete laws/  acts/ processes and institutions in all sectors
  • Stress on Performance management principles in governance. Goal Setting / performance indicators to be developed to measure government effectiveness
  • Setting up separate strategic Initiatives centre to help the government identify the needs of future. They identify the gaps in each sector and recommend the institutions / processes that will be needed to help the sector deal with advances / new challenges / concerns  in the sector
  • It was also felt that there should be independent impact evaluation agency within each sector (outside the department) to identify / analyse the impact of policies / schemes. This can help the department identify the need to stop or go ahead with the policy /scheme

 

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