Even after 66 years of independence, the ordinary Indian citizen is unable to achieve real economic and social freedom. A predatory state based on the principles of license-permit raj especially at the bottom of the pyramid has betrayed the trust of the citizen and made her disconnected with the system .
Lack of accountability in public sector means that according to Global corruption barometer survey 2013 conducted by Transparency International, every second Indian has paid a bribe to a public official in the last twelve months (as opposed to only half that number being the global average).
Gujarat under Shri Narendra Modi understood the root of this problem and focused on the motto of ‘Maximum Governance, Minimum Government’. It then went beyond this and realized that “Mere good governance is not enough; it has to be pro-people and pro-active.” Good governance is putting people at the center of development process.”And thereafter promugalted the mantra of ‘pro-people, proactive good governance’ (P2G2). This article will highlight five key ways in which Gujarat govt. has made the government accountable to the masses: Accessibility, Decentralization, Efficiency, Innovation and Participation
1) Accessibility: To address the problems people face Gujarat started a fail-safe grievance redressal system called SWAGAT (State Wide Attention on Grievance through Application of Technology). Shri Modi personally proclaimed that babus harassing citizens should be afraid of the law and created this system which is spread over to the entire state, down to the district, taluka and village level. Every 4th Thursday of the month Shri Modi personally addresses citizen grievance which escalate to his level. And as opposed to lip service programs, the results of the program are tracked and 92% of grievances have been fairly redressed. No wonder the programme has also won UN’s Best Public Service Award.
Access to entire state resources has been enabled at every village level with eGRAM with every gram panchayat being networked. Similarly, Gujarat has used technology and social media to enable two way communication directly with CM though his site as well using tools like Video conferences, audio bridges etc.
2) Decentralization: A decentralization program called Aapno Taluko, Vibrant Taluko (ATVT) was started under which, every Taluka in Gujarat is empowered and self sustaining to provide a local platform for driving double digit growth and social development.he decentralization of administration upto sub-district (taluka) level has made it speedier, effective, transparent, and citizen centric. This has led every taluka to aspire to develop faster and instill a sense of belonging to give a new stimulus to the development process. Every taluka now plans as per its requirements and as per the challenges that it faces, and accordingly carries out more focused implementation of development schemes to reap higher benefits.
3) Efficiency: The state Chief Minster’s Office (CMO) is a picture of efficiency. The Gujarat CMO has received ISO 9001 certification (for Quality Management Systems). Most of the operations are paperless and it uses an Integrated Workflow and Document Management System (IWDMS) that has resulted in reduction of processing times also. It has also improved transparency and enabled better monitoring of the progress of individual files through the administrative hierarchy.
A similar improvement initiative was in Public Distribution System (PDS) where weeding out bogus ration cards and stopping under delivery at Fair Price Shops (FPS) was done in a win-win manner for both consumer and dealers. A quasi food vouchers was presented by using bar coded and biometric technology to people , while allowing FPS to increase sales. This initiative has been further rewarded by United Nations World Food Programme and notably Supreme Court asked the Indian government and learn from the Gujarat model and implement it across the country.
4) Innovation: Delayed justice remains one of the biggest problem threatening India’s democratic setup. Gujarat recognized the lack of judicial capacity to handle litigation is one of the first state in the country to start night courts. Alongside, alternate dispute resolution mechanisms have also been promulgated and mechanisms like Nari Adalats (Women’s courts) have truly bought fast justice for all. Such innovations fulfill the state’s promise of providing its core function of maintaining law and order.
5) Participation: The acid test of an accountable and accessible state is the ease with which it involves the citizen in elf governance and gives them a say in the performance of its representatives. Gujarat is once again the first state in India to enable online voting at the local level. Meanwhile Gujarat government continues its work to bring the government to citizen’s doorstep.
Rather than indulge in plain speak and make empty claims about abolishing corruption, Gujarat under Shri Modi has actually delivered results on these counts in the last decade. This has been recognized in multiple forums with awards from independent parties like United Nations and even the Supreme Court directing the Indian govt. to follow the Gujarat model. With the average age of an Indian being 25 years, its imperative that the success stories of the Gujarat and Modi model are replicated across India. This is the surest way we can guarantee a bright future for this young country.