There are less than four years left for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – a series of ambitious commitments that countries made across the globe to reduce poverty, eliminate preventable disease and protect the earth’s environment by 2015. Given the urgency, SAMADHAN is a way for citizens in India to play a direct and active role in achieving the MDGs by demanding what their government has already promised them. The Government of India’s own targets in the 11th and upcoming 12th Five-Year Plan are even more ambitious than the MDGs. Many development schemes are in place to achieve them but there is a need for more efficient, accountable and transparent delivery of services. SAMADHAN aims to fill this gap.
What is SAMADHAN?
SAMADHAN is an internet-based platform primarily for citizens to directly demand and track their service entitlements under national and state government schemes. Your NREGA wage has not been fully paid, a mother has not received her Janani Suraksha Yojana money, an Anganwaadi worker is not opening the nutrition center everyday – citizens can take any such problem they are facing and send a simple text message, call in at a toll-free number or visit the District Collector’s Office to demand or file complaints through SAMADHAN. Once demands or complaints are registered, local administration will process the complaints and respond with appropriate action to resolve them. Citizens can track the status of their complaint through an ID number. After the government has taken action, a message is sent to the citizen requesting them to verify that the action has taken place.
SAMADHAN is a multi-purpose system that will also allow civil society organizations, the government and media to use the data and information for analyzing and highlighting systemic challenges. Since the information on complaints will be in the public domain, they will be able to view it easily and in a user-friendly manner. SAMADHAN will be integrated with the government’s existing grievance mechanisms for speedy redressal. View the Demo Page for more details.
Where is SAMADHAN?
SAMADHAN is being piloted in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh and Koraput District in Orissa. In Madhya Pradesh, a partnership has been formed between the Collector of Sehore District, Government of Madhya Pradesh, the civil society organization called Samarthan and local media and civil society networks. In Orissa, it is led by the Collector of Koraput District, Government of Orissa, civil society partners VSO India Trust and South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA), along with local media and civil society networks. The United Nations Millennium Campaign is an interagency initiative of the UN to support citizens in holding governments accountable for achievement of the MDGs.
Samadhan – Citizen’s Action for Governance aims to provide an accountability framework to the marginalized and poor people to monitor the various flagship programmes implemented at the panchayat level on one hand and develop a platform at the district level to gather information and strengthen quality of services delivered by the district administration on the other hand.
The main objectives of this initiative are the following.
• To strengthen service delivery of various government schemes through effective use of technology at the district level there by bringing about systemic changes in the governance functioning in the district administration;
• To empower poor and marginalized communities of Gram Panchayats of Koraput district to have a powerful voice in the development process and access their entitlements; and
• To build a cadre of active citizens having capacity to strengthen community monitoring processes at the district level.
The initiative has three components: 1) community engagement at the grass roots level & civil society action to mobilize volunteers; 2) district administration response and engagement to strengthen service delivery; and 3) the technology platform to ensure real-time tracking of government flagship schemes.
The initiative is to be piloted in the district of Koraput in the state of Orissa, which has 226 panchayats, and most of the parts are very inaccessible and has a majority of tribal population where illiteracy is high. Over 100 community level volunteers will be mobilized who will be trained on various aspects of development and government schemes, community mobilization and trained to use the mobile technology for tracking flagship programmes. The volunteers mobilization and management will be done by a network of civil society organizations in Koraput lead by SOVA (South Orissa Voluntary Action). In addition the district administration will be on board along with a social analysis, technology support and to be monitored by the district administration designated programme officer.
A technology platform is crucial to the success of this initiative. The delivery of flagship scheme and people’s entitlements will be tracked by a simple SMS or voice messaging system which is user friendly and enables real-time monitoring of services delivery and recording it at a district hub. The information gathered at the technology hub will serve two purposes 1) enable district administration to know the gaps in implementation and 2) will enable them to make appropriate changes. Most importantly it gives poor and excluded people a say in the governance process.
SAMADHAN is a joint initiative among District of Koraput, Government of Orissa, civil society partners – South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA), VSO India Trust, along with local media and civil society networks – and the UN Millennium Campaign.Role of stakeholders
District administration • Identify and suggest areas for monitoring services including NREGS, PDS etc. • Assign a programme officer for enhancing accountability and support to the initiative. The
programme officer will also suggest mechanisms for implementation, support in planning and also
be a liaison between the coalition and the district administration. • Integrate existing 1077 system into the technology hub. • Ensure government orders or circulars are issued to the block offices and panchayats as
appropriate to enhance efficiency and knowledge of the project initiative so that there is greater
ownership. • Suggest means for improvement and leverage support of the infrastructure of the administration
in terms of access to areas. • Provide support in training of volunteers wherever necessary. • Provide data on population accessing services at the panchayat. • Advise on improvements on the process during the bi-monthly meetings. • Look at the real time data and ensure systemic changes are made as per recommendations and or
policy changes wherever necessary.
Role of the Koraput Active Citizenship Coalition • Identify and train volunteers or vikaas sathis from the panchayats. • Identify and suggest technology platform to the district administration. • Identify and designate a project coordinator for the project implementation. • Maintain frequent interaction with district collector and the programme director (DRDA)
for updates and getting their inputs into the project implementation, schemes to be
tracked, and improvements. • Train coalition members on volunteer’s management. • Mentor and support community level volunteers who will be engaged in community
mobilization and using the SMS technology. • Support in data analysis of the information, which has been gathered from the real time
tracking mechanism. • Identify and designate a social analyst for the data analysis.
Role of UNMC and VSO • Provide financial and technical support to the initiative. • Facilitate exchange of information, knowledge, and lessons learned among all the pilot countries in
Asia and Africa.
CASE 1: Prakash Sends a Complaint by toll-free call ‘1077’
1. Prakash lives in the village of Khilaput in the GP of Umuri in the block of Koraput. He has an MGNREGA job card and has worked 10 days last month on a project. He has not yet received his wages for the work.
2. Prakash calls the toll-free 1077 help-line. A person answers the phone and logs the complaint on the SAMADHAN website.
3. Prakash gets an SMS on his mobile that acknowledges his complaint and assigns him a complaint ID number.
4. A District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Prakash’s complaint as “open”. This means the department has taken up the complaint and is working to resolve it.
5. Prakash gets an SMS on his mobile that tells him the DRDA department is working on his complaint and it will be resolved within 7 days.
6. The DRDA department sends the due wages to Prakash.
7. A DRDA department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Prakash’s complaint as resolved.
8. Prakash gets an SMS on his mobile that tells him the complaint is now resolved and that if he is not satisfied he should contact the 1077 help-line immediately.
9. After 7 days, Prakash’s complaint is automatically closed by the SAMADHAN system. 10. Prakash receives a final SMS telling him the complaint has been closed.
CASE 2: Tapasmita Sends a Complaint by SMS
1. Tapasmita lives in the village of Lima in the GP of Lima in the block of Kundra. She is sending her children to school every day, but for the last 15 days, the school has been closed.
2. Tapasmita sends the following SMS to 9437582015:
(The message can be in Oriya)
– The first three numbers are the location codes from her husband’s MGNREGA job card. These numbers indicate that she lives in the Kundra block (16), the Lima GP (10), and the village of Lima (21).
– Then Tapasmita must put her name, followed by her complaint.
“16-10-21 Tapasmita The school has been closed for 15 days”3. The CMH staff calls Tapasmita back and confirms the details of her complaint.
4. Tapasmita gets an SMS on his mobile that acknowledges her complaint and assigns her a complaint ID number.
5. An education department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Tapasmita’s complaint as “open”. This means the department has taken up the complaint and is working to resolve it.
6. Tapasmita gets an SMS on her mobile that tells him the education department is working on her complaint and it will be resolved within 7 days.
7. The education department works with the teacher to open the school in Lima village.
8. An education department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Tapasmita’s complaint as resolved.
9. Tapasmita gets an SMS on her mobile that tells her the complaint is now resolved and that if she is not satisfied she should contact the CMH immediately.
10. After 7 days, Tapasmita’s complaint is automatically closed by the SAMADHAN system. 11. Tapasmita receives a final SMS telling her the complaint has been closed.
CASE 3: Gouri Files a Grievance on a Saturday
1. Gouri lives in the village of Dasamantapur in the GP of Dasamantapur in the block of Dasmanthpur. He has applied for a BPL card but has not yet received it.
2. Gouri visits the Collectorate on a Saturday to file his grievance with the Collector.
3. The Collector’s grievance officer records the details of the complaint in a special Excel document, including the Collector’s comments and a “reminder date”. The complaint is forwarded to the Food and Civil Supplies department.
4. The Collector’s grievance officer sends a soft copy of the Excel document to SOVA/Collector’s grievance cell. They uploads all of the complaints, including Gouri’s, to the SAMADHAN system.
5. Gouri gets an SMS on his mobile that acknowledges his complaint and assigns him a complaint ID number.
6. An FCS department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Gouri’s complaint as “open”. This means the department has taken up the complaint and is working to resolve it.
7. Gouri gets an SMS on his mobile that tells him the FCS department is working on his complaint and it will be resolved within 7 days.
8. The FCS department sends the BPL card to Gouri.
9. An FCS department official logs in to the SAMADHAN website and marks Gouri’s complaint as resolved.
10. Gouri gets an SMS on his mobile that tells him the complaint is now resolved and that if he is not satisfied he should contact the 1077 help-line immediately.
11. After 7 days, Gouri’s complaint is automatically closed by the SAMADHAN system. 12. Gouri receives a final SMS telling him the complaint has been closed.