Accountability Initiative (AI) at CPR, has launched a new avatar of its PAISA (Planning, Allocations and Expenditures, Institutions Studies in Accountability) course called Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar – aimed at unravelling the root causes of administrative and fiscal dysfunctionality, which impact delivery of quality public services on the ground.
PAISA course was Accountability Initiative’s flagship capacity building programme to equip our field team to understand and engage with the processes and implementation of government programmes across a range of sectors.
Over the course of our journey, we realised that our research and on-ground experience spanning domains related to policy, finance, education, planning and management, coupled with the theoretical knowledge from the original PAISA course could prove to be essential learnings for other stakeholders working in the larger development ecosystem. We believe governance is a practice-oriented discipline. Thus, in order to build capability of both professionals and frontline government functionaries, theoretical knowledge must find application in resolving an experiential problem. The course is our attempt to not only bridge the gap between research and practice but also create spaces for collaborative learning.
What are we trying to achieve?
The aim of the course is to inculcate in participants an understanding of:
- The structure of the Indian administrative system and the complications of the environment within which they work. The participants should be able to decipher for themselves the bureaucracy’s importance within the Indian government system and not just criticise the system on grounds of corruption.
- The fund flow system, the importance of budgets, and how schemes are formulated and implemented, and then analyse the complexities of the Indian financial system. The course urges participants to simultaneously ask questions around why money does not reach its stipulated destination on time and where it gets delayed.
Who is our audience?
Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar has been strategically designed to cater to grassroots-level development sector professionals across organisations working towards improving the quality of public services. The course makes a conscious effort to take content, often not available easily, and empower these professionals with tools to understand and contextualise government functioning within their local context. It thereby enables participants to undertake a critical analysis of state capability in India.
Through this course, the Learning and Development team (L&D) at AI envisages to build and strengthen the nodes between decision-makers, service-providers and citizens, and catalyse change through structured learning opportunities that enable them to participate in and monitor social sector programmes.
The course is conducted entirely in Hindi by PAISA Associates or AI’s field staff who carry out ground surveys to track budget spend in key social sector schemes.
Our experience so far
So far two trainings have been conducted, with:
- District-level coordinators of the NGO Pratham in Bihar, who mainly work to implement Pratham’s programmes on education at the field-level, often in partnership with the government, and;
- Block-level coordinators of the Nehru Yuva Kendra in Rajasthan, who work to create awareness about government schemes and ensure all intended beneficiaries are able to avail them with ease.
The following are testimonies of some of the participants, which underscore the importance of the training:
‘Change from earlier way of thinking in which bureaucracy and officials were seen as corrupt and hungry for bribes to recognising that they are burdened beyond their capacities, stuck in centralised and long drawn bureaucratic processes,’ Deepak Saini, Participant, Nehru Yuva Kendra.
‘There were 1 or 2 people whose money was stuck. We found out that the Sarpanch had listed someone else's account and the money had gone into that account. Thus, while the money was transferred, it did not reach the intended beneficiary. The Sarpanch and the Secretary said this could be the result of a mistake. Through the course we could identify where the lapse actually was (at the Panchayat level) and would have assumed that the money had not been disbursed from the source!’ Om Prakash Sharma, Participant, Nehru Yuva Kendra.
Importantly, Hum aur Hamaari Sarkaar also proved to be a stepping stone for AI’s PAISA Associates or field staff, who are the trainers and facilitators of the course. They not only honed their training and facilitation skills but also spent considerable time building their knowledge levels to become subject experts.
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