Law and Policy

Social Accountability Policy, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

SAFAR is working with civil society organizations such as Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), National Institute for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) to develop a Social Accountability Policy and scheme specific guidelines on Social Accountability for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E), Government of India. We are working with the MoSJ&E to institutionalize social audits in programmes run by the Ministry for care of elderly, SC children and drug addicted victims needing assistance with recovery; Scholarship Assistance to SC and OBC students; PM-AJAY Scheme (new scheme of MoSJ for holistic development of 3500 SC dominated villages allocated with a financial allocation of Rs 1800 cr); and Scheme for Free Coaching. SAFAR is a member of a Social Audit Advisory Body constituted to advise and support the MoSJ for the purpose.

Credit: Prashant Panjiar

Social Accountability Bill, Rajasthan

SAFAR is working with campaigns such as Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan (SR Abhiyan) and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in Rajasthan to advocate for a Social Accountability Bill. The Bill provides a legal framework for information disclosure, grievances redress, the right to hearing, an independent appellate mechanism for grievance redress, information and facilitation centres and social audits. This bill builds on the ”Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and redressal of their grievances Bill” which was discussed in the Lok Sabha and endorsed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2011. SAFAR has been involved with developing briefing notes and discussion papers that provide evidence for why such a law will increase the effectiveness of welfare provisioning. SAFAR is also assisting members of a Committee constituted by Government of Rajasthan to prepare a draft Public Accountability Bill.

SAFAR is also involved with the follow up on similar legislations being passed in Kerala and Karnataka, based on public commitments made by the State Governments.

Credit: Prashant Panjiar

Social Audit Rules, Meghalaya

After conducting pilot social audits in Meghalaya in collaboration with the State Government and civil society organizations, SAFAR worked with the Government of Meghalaya to draft rules for the scaling up of social audits across the state, under the Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017. These rules have now been notified and guide the implementation of social audits in the state.

Social Audits of implementation of Building and Construction Workers Act

After conducting pilot social audits of the Building and other Construction Workers Act in Delhi and Rajasthan, SAFAR with the National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour (NCC-CL) provided detailed suggestions to the Central Government. Based on these suggestions, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India has issued instructions to all State Governments on conducting social audits of BoCW. SAFAR continues to advocate for the implementation of these orders.

Credit: Prashant Panjiar

Setting up an Integrated Public Grievance Redress System (iPGRS) in Karnataka

SAFAR is working with the Department of Administrative Reforms (DPAR) and the Center for E-Governance, Government of Karnataka in its initiative to strengthen citizens’ right to time bound grievance redress through an Integrated Public Grievance Redress System, which is meant to serve as an inter-departmental single window web portal and helpline for citizens to file grievances and track them till their eventual redress. In its design, the iPGRS is attempting to learn from the operational experience of similar platforms in other States, particularly the ‘Rajasthan Sampark Grievance Portal’ which SAFAR has been closely associated with in its design and public monitoring. In addition to sharing our experiences with the department, we have put in place a transparent and participatory process of consultation to facilitate national and state level subject matter specialists and civil society organizations to provide suggestions and inputs based on their ground experience of working on the issue of public grievances. We are also advocating for a legal framework for the iPGRS in form of a State Grievance Redress and Accountability law, which shall enable this system to become an overarching and a one-stop solution for all types of citizen grievances in the State.

Transparency and Accountability Protocol for Jan Soochna Portal, Rajasthan

The Digital Dialogues co-hosted by the Government of Rajasthan and Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan (SR Abhiyan) created a platform for civil society organizations to deliberate and decide what information should be collected, how it should be stored and disclosed. Through these dialogues, we have developed a legal framework for Jan Soochna Portal , and the institutionalization of civil society participation for its monitoring.