National Social Watch organized a Methodology Workshop to Assess and Monitor the Institutions of Governance on 6th June, 2011 at India Islamic Cultural Centre.
The Chair Mr. John Samuel welcomed all the participants. He gave brief overview about the workshop. He started with the history of the Social Watch and its objectives. Afterwards the discussion about the Report began. The discussion was around the topics like, what is the strength of the report as a whole? How each section of the report looks like? What are our sources of date? How we can do the value addition to this? Then all four institutions Parliament, executive, judiciary and local governance were analyzed one after another.
Some general suggestions from participants:
The credibility of the civil society organization is being questioned by many and there has been slight dip in the image of it, so there is need to monitor the performance of all the institutions including media and civil society.
Social Watch Report should do more in-depth analysis of the current issues being undertaken rather than expanding to the new institutions like media and civil society organizations.
Report may also look into the judicial and quasi judicial bodies. There are some of the quasi judicial bodies like National Safai Karmchari Commission etc. National Social Watch can analyze their functioning which will catalyze their work.
There are challenges in linkages between micro and macro level. We have to identify the missing links in the citizen’s report. Federal character of the relation has to be kept in mind while doing analysis.
Functions of the political parties are hardly scrutinized. National Social Watch can analyze their function in depth. National Social Watch can have a matrix and other information on them like in parliament how many parties asked questions on corruption etc.
There is need to build strong networking with related organization. National Social Watch should have strong linkages with other organizations on specific issues, like on budget coordinate with CBGA, on parliament work with PRS, on local governance partner with PRI, ISS etc.
The challenge before National Social Watch is, how to develop indicators for each institution so that consistency can be ensured every year. Apart from desk research, National Social Watch should look at the operational level also. There should be some novelty in the report every year and it should not be monotonous and predictable.
Institution wise suggestions:
It was suggested to prepare an analytical framework of 2 pages for the forthcoming report. Social Watch Report looks like an academic report, so there is a need to incorporate the citizen’s voice.
Assurances and committees are neglected by media Social Watch Report has to highlight it because they are highly relevant to the people.
The Index should be defensible. National Social Watch can look at the performance of the each minister along with the performance of the MPs.
Simple data on parliament inside and outside will not give a true picture. It would be better to evaluate party-wise performance. National Social Watch can do 10 assemblies around 2 – 3 parameters each year.
Peer perception of the MPs can be done on the parameters like quality of debate, sincerity in attending parliament etc. Since there are large numbers of the MPs so this will be very difficult. However, National Social Watch may confine itself only to operational part.
Look at the functions of the Ministry of Law, Law Commission etc. National Social Watch can look at some of the international judicial bodies and analyze data like pendency of the cases, rate of the disposal etc. and compare it with Indian system. Also look at the use of the RTI in judiciary.
National Social Watch has not been able to map the relation of local level judiciary with the Local Governance, which may be focused in the coming years.
National Social Watch can also study the fast track courts. Judge to population ratio on state basis) may be a parameter for measuring the functions of the judiciary. If possible it can be compared with other countries having similar judicial set up.
Functioning of the Family court can be evaluated. Judicial system at district level has been de-institutionalized. High court is not so much de-institutionalized to that extent. We may represent case study on them.
Find out how many bail application were rejected and how many were granted bail and try to explore the percentage of rejected PILs, when they are against the government.
One angle to analyze the judicial system is to take 10 criminal cases, 10 civil and evaluate them.
There is no micro level data uniformly available on meetings of Grame Sabhas, Ward Sabhas, frequency of the meetings, decision taken, participation of the women at the grass root level, their performance. National Social Watch must develop a frame work, and then work on micro level data.
National Social Watch may take one or two important schemes to analyze their functioning follow it for one or two years. However, it would be very challenging to monitor the performance of such schemes, because of the joint expenditure of the state and central government.
There should be three main sections in Local Governance chapter- Urban local body, Rural Local Body and Panchayat. Extension to Schedule Areas Act should be the regularly featured in the Local Governance section. Continuously monitor the functioning of institutions like DPC, SFC, SEC etc and do their analysis at ministries, central and state level.