SAFAR is a collective of activists, researchers and development practitioners. We work in the space between government and civil society to build and demonstrate practical interventions that deepen democratic governance such as pro-active disclosure of government information, social audits, transparency in decision making, facilitation support in accessing basic entitlements, and grievance redress, and pursue them till they are institutionalized. Through accountability-in-practice, we also want to expand our collective thinking around accountability through research and reflection. SAFAR is based out of the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Rakshita Swamy leads SAFAR. She has worked towards advocating and institutionalizing transparency, accountability and citizen participation in governance, through her collaboration with Central and State Governments and Civil Society Organizations over the past decade. Her work focuses on introducing platforms for enabling and enforcing accountability in diverse sectors such as public service delivery, governance in sixth schedule areas, mining, digital technology and functioning of public institutions. She worked with the Ministry of Rural Development with a mandate to support State Governments in implementing social audits under the MGNREGA, and drawing synergies on social audit with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. She is associated with the Right to Information and Right to Work campaigns. She has a Masters in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Paras Banjara has been working towards promoting the rights of nomadic tribal communities of Rajasthan, being a vocal member of the community himself. He has worked with the Government of Rajasthan as a Programme Officer in the past, and has been associated with the Social Audit Unit of the State of Andhra Pradesh, National Campaign for Protection of Child Rights and Centre for Policy Research, for developing institutionalized platforms for citizen centric accountability in the fields of education and rural development. He is associated with the Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan of Rajasthan over the past two decades. He is SAFAR’s State Resource Person for Rajasthan.
Anindita Adhikari is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Brown University, where her research examines accountability and welfare rights in India with a focus on social audits and the grievance redress law in Bihar. She has been associated with the Right to Work, Right to Information, and Right to Food campaigns for over a decade. Anindita has previously worked with the Government of Bihar and the Ministry of Rural Development on employment, social security, and land issues. Her work has been published in journals such as Development and Change and World Development. She co-leads SAFAR's work.
Khush has a master’s in Public Affairs with a specialization in Public Policy Analysis from the Brown University and an undergraduate training in Civil Engineering from Gujarat Technological University. He has been working in the development and governance space for the last six years. During his time at Brown, Khush led the research for the Habitability Initiative at the Mayor’s office of Complete Communities in Houston (Texas, US) that aimed at providing policy recommendations to the city administration for improving the quality of low-rent, affordable multi-family housing stock in the historically underserved communities. Prior to Brown, He was associated with the Indus Action Initiatives to lead their state operations in Gujarat in order to advocate for the implementation of the Right to Education in a transparent, inclusive, and accountable manner. He also worked on institutionalizing Social Audit in the state of Haryana among other governance reform projects as the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associate. Khush has also been a Gandhi Fellow where he spent two years working with the tribal communities in Dungarpur on issues like education, livelihoods, and agriculture. He is the National Resource Person at SAFAR.
Shailaja Aralkar has worked with right-based NGOs in various capacities over the past two decades and has been involved in advocacy with the Government of Maharashtra for issues such as health, education, social security particularly for marginalized and unorganized workers, with a focus on women workers. Her work includes efforts to build capacity of front-line functionaries and activists on issues like gender, sexuality, human rights and community health through her association with Institute of Health Management Pachod (IHMP), National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA). Shailaja has been actively advocating for the right to dignified work and wages for women waste pickers, and is associated with Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a trade union of waste pickers in Pune and SWaCH. She is SAFAR’s State Resource Person for Maharashtra.
Kathyayini Chamaraj has been associated with Citizens’ Voluntary Initiative for the City of Bangalore (CIVIC) for the past thirty years. She has been working towards the better implementation of laws that promote greater transparency, accountability and people’s participation in urban governance. She is associated with state and national campaigns on right to information, right to food and rights of social security for workers of the unorganized sector. She is an avid writer and has contributed towards more than 350 articles on social and development issues in the press. She is SAFAR’s State Resource Person for Karnataka.
Angela Rangad lives and works in Meghalaya. She is trained in Anthropology and Law and is one the founders of Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) and Workers' Power. Angela has played a seminal role in establishing the Meghalaya Right to Information Movement and has been involved in causes and issues that promote the use of RTI to seek accountability. She has coordinated the first set of social audits of MGNREGA in the State. She is a key member of many progressive movements and campaigns in the State advocating for and promoting equal rights for dignity and justice to all residents of the State, including the right to work, right to self-determination, right to food and right to information. She is SAFAR’s State Resource Person for Meghalaya.