State-Citizen Interfaces

SAFAR builds platforms for dialogue between civil society organizations, government authorities, and IT service providers to move from opaque “Management Information Systems” towards open “Janta Information Systems.” These open systems give citizens a role in deciding what information should be collected and how it should be stored, disclosed, and used. 

Digital Dialogues, Rajasthan

SAFAR in collaboration with Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan facilitates a monthly dialogue with the Department of IT, Government of Rajasthan on how digital technology can be leveraged to enhance information disclosure and accountability. The dialogues draw in around 30 representatives from movements, unions and civil society organizations. These groups have decades of experience in empowering people to access their rights and entitlements such as employment under NREGA, PDS grain, loan waivers, compensation from mining leaseholders, education, healthcare etc. The dialogues between civil society representatives, line departments and the IT department focus on what information should be made public and in what form. The objective is to make data available for citizens in digestible formats so they can use this information to claim their rights and monitor expenditure in their villages and wards. In these dialogues, digital applications are also co-designed to make them less bureaucracy-facing and more citizen-facing.

Strengthening Ward Committees, Karnataka

To strengthen accountability in urban governance, SAFAR works on implementing the Nagarapalika and Karnataka Municipal Corporations acts, which decentralise power to Ward and Area Sabhas. Collaborating with the Citizens’ Voluntary Initiative for the City of Bangalore (CIVIC), SAFAR conducts workshops to improve decision making by Ward Committees and Area Sabhas in select wards across Bengaluru and municipal corporations of Karnataka. We are also providing inputs to amend the KMC Act to strengthen provisions for citizen participation.

SAFAR in collaboration with CIVIC is also involved towards enabling the working of Ward Disaster Management Cells in Bengaluru City, as mandated by the Karnataka High Court (WP No. 6435 of 2020).

Facilitation of Registration Under BoCW Act, Meghalaya

To facilitate the registration of BoCW in Meghalaya, SAFAR conducted awareness campaigns and brought together unions working in the state to provide assistance to construction workers. and then supported them in tracking their registration with the concerned department. 

Judgement of the HC on WP No. 6435 of 2020 Primer on People’s Participation in Urban Local Governance, Karnataka
Credit: Digvijay Singh