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Social audits in every state across India

Conduct social audits in every state across India

Petition by Satyamev Jayate
To: State Chief Ministers
Region: India

Background: Social audits were first made mandatory in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, that provides people with an opportunity to review official records and determine whether the government’s expenditure matches the money spent on the ground. Independent social audits can help achieve transparency and accountability, contain corruption, address injustice and improve governance.

With a substantial part of the government budget being directed towards welfare schemes, it is a necessity to monitor how and where this money is being spent. Due to corruption and lack of political will, most states in India have not taken any steps towards conducting social audits. Andhra Pradesh is the only state that has instituted an independent body to conduct social audits and this in turn, has significantly kept corruption in check.

Petition: We urge and request every state government in India to set up an independent body that will conduct social audits in a free and fair manner. Corruption in welfare schemes is rampant and social audits will help plug leaks in public expenditure and ensure that the poor, who are beneficiaries of these schemes, receive what they are entitled to.

This petition will be sent to chief ministers of every state of India.

Your signature will help make this change possible.

Mohalla sabhas in cities across india

Conduct mohalla sabhas in cities across india

Petition by Satyamev Jayate
To: State Chief Ministers and State Cabinets
Region: India

Background: The Model Nagara Raj Bill, introduced in 2006, is India’s first community participation bill for urban areas. Introduced under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Bill is a step towards decentralizing power by creating area or mohalla sabhas at the grassroots, which can empower people to solve problems at the local level.

The Bill aims to institutionalize citizen participation in decision-making so that the public can be involved in making the decisions that affect their lives. It has been circulated by the central government, and states are mandated to either enact a separate law or make appropriate amendments to existing municipal laws. The Bill lays down a list of functions and duties of a mohalla sabha. This includes acquiring any information from public officials concerning the services they render and the work they propose to do in the area.

Petition: We urge and request that mohalla sabhas be conducted in all cities and towns across India as a step towards creating a more participatory democracy. This will enable urban citizens’ participation in policy and in decisions concerning the problems that affect them. Importantly, it will help bridge the gap between the government authorities and the public. It will also help to build enduring institutions of local self-governance in urban areas, enabling people to realize their democratic rights.

This petition will be sent to chief ministers in every state of India. Your signature will help push for this critical reform.

Enact the Public Services Grievances Bill

Parliament must enact the Public Services Grievances Bill

Petition by Satyamev Jayate
To: President of India, Prime Minister of India, Parliament, All Political Parties
Region: India

Background: The Public Services Grievances Bill, also known as the Citizens’ Charter Bill, seeks to promote transparency and accountability in the government’s delivery systems for its citizens. The Bill concerns the departments that deal directly with citizens, including constitutional bodies, statutory authorities, public-private partnerships, NGOs substantially funded by the government and companies that provide services under a statutory obligation. These authorities will be directed to publish a citizens’ charter detailing the services they offer and the quality of services to be provided, as well as the delivery timelines. The Bill also provides for a mechanism to punish officials who fail to provide the services in the stipulated time.

The Bill mandates the establishment, both at the Centre and in the states, of Public Grievance Redress Commissions that will be permitted to refer a case for investigation to the Lokpal wherever there is evidence of corruption. However, this critical piece of legislation, which was pending before the Lok Sabha in its 15th term, was not enacted due to frequent disruptions in the House. (To read more about this bill, click here)

Petition: We urge and request that the Lok Sabha give priority to enacting the Public Services Grievances Bill. The lack of an effective mechanism to deal with the everyday grievances of people is among the biggest issues affecting governance in India today. Enacting the Public Services Grievances Bill will help ensure that essential services are delivered to common people.

This petition will be sent to the President and Prime Minister of India and leaders of all opposition parties. Your signature will help push for this critical reform.


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