In an effort to increase accountability in public service delivery, Samarthan has developed an electronic grievance redressal mechanism that allows citizens to demand and track the provision of service entitlements under various government schemes. The year 2011-12 was marked by the soft launch (trial run) of the online grievance monitoring platform Samadhan for the Sehore district (http://sehore.samadhan.org.in/).
The platform allows citizens to file complaints online, by sms or by calling a toll-free number. Samadhan represents an alternative to and an improvement over other manual mechanisms offered by the state government such as Jan Sunwai and Jan Shruti. In fact, over 500 pending complaints that had been filed manually under Jan Sunwai and 8000 under Jan Shruti have also been digitized and fed into the Samadhan system and Samarthan continues to do so for new manual complaints.
Concurrent with the soft launch of the Samadhan platform, Samarthan has also kicked off an awareness campaign in 275 villages of all the five blocks of Sehore district and 31 wards of the Sehore town to orient people on the utility and functioning of Samadhan. Till now 584 complaints have been received through SMS and almost 400 people have called the toll-free number to log their complaints.
Indians use cellphones to plug holes in governance
Leading international newspaper Washington Post has prominently covered Samarthan’s Samadhan initative:
“Almost everyone in this village in central India has a complaint. Electricity comes only three hours a day. The road has potholes. Widows’ pensions arrive late. The school lunch program often runs low on food.
Villagers say they send letters, call a government complaint line and wait outside officials’ offices for help, but never get a response. “All our complaints go into a blind well of the government,” said Mukesh Chandravanshi, 30, a farmer.”
Read the Washington Post article here.
Based on the implementation of all activities and through capacity building we achieved some successes at the community level. The villagers are registering complaints with the Jansunwai and Panchayat, and getting a positive response from them. Some success stories are mentioned below:
Case Study 1
Distance: 11 km from District Headquarters
The midday meals were not being supplied to the children of the school as well as the Anganwadi for the last 7 months.
As part of the UNMC project, a capacity building workshop was organised for the youth facilitators of all Panchayats. Mr Vedprakash, a youth facilitator from the village Dhaboti was part of this training; where it came to his attention that the state government had initiated a toll free number for grievance redressal (155343). With this knowledge Vedprakash made up his mind to register a complaint from his own village.
On 27/11/2010, a complaint was registered by the applicant on the toll free number 155343; its complaint number being 20870.
3 days after the complaint had been registered, the applicant received a call on the verification of the complaint and period of 4 days was given for its follow up. On the said day, a joint team visited the village of Dhaboti for inspection where the complaint was seen to be true. At this both the school teacher as well as the Anganwadi worker were scolded in front of everyone and instructed to serve midday meals regularly.
From that day onwards the midday meal has been supplied regularly to the children.
Through the UNMC program, for the purpose of general awareness on the various government schemes in the state of Madhya Pradesh, a training workshop was organised for the Panchayat representatives at village Haiderganj by Samarthan Sehore.
In the village of Haidarganj (Ghansoda), the aganwadi centre was being organised by the CDPO. The anganwadi worker, although being from a influential family, was not doing her job effectively. The centre was not opening on time. women and children were not receiving nutritional supplements on time. even the weekly adolescent day allotted within its sub scheme was not being celebrated which was causing much disappointment among the adolescent girls in the village.
In the workshop conducted for the capacity building of the panchayat representatives through the UNMC program, active members of the village were identified and trained. Among them was, mr. Dharmendra rathore who was made aware of the ‘Jan Shruti Abiyaan’ as well as the Toll Free Number initiated by the state government to address issues in the rural areas. With this information, Mr. Dharmendra tried to solve the anganwadi problem in his village. But that failed; there was no improvement in the services of the Anganwadi centre. After this, he decided to register the complaint under the toll free number 155343.
Three days after the complaint was registered, the inspection of the said Anganwadi centre took place. The faulty running of the Anganwadi centre was seen during this inspection. A written application was given to the centre along with instructions to improve this scenario. It was also stated that if the Anganwadi continued to run in this manner, the Anganwadi worker will be penalized.
After this day, there was considerable improvement in the functioning of the Anganwadi; it began running on time and all the benefits were made available to its beneficiaries.
Karanjkheda village is based 30 km form district headquarters Sehore.
The school hand pump was damaged for the past two months. The school children were facing problems for drinking water.
On 30/11/2010, a complaint was registered by the applicant Mr. Gaur on the toll free number 155343; its complaint number being 21039.
After seven days a joint team visited the village of Karanjkheda for departmental inspection; the team met the applicant and discussed the problem. The team called for a mechanic immediately and repaired the school hand pump at the site itself. After that, 65 children have been receiving safe drinking water in school and much of the time that was wasted in going home to drink water was saved.
Lasudiya Parihaar village is based 15 km from the district headquarters of Sehore.
For the last 20 days, three of the village hand pumps had been damaged; Mrs. Laxmi from the village had been complaining to the Sarpanch 2-3 times by then.
On 30/11/2010, a complaint was registered by the applicant Ms.Laxmi on the toll free number 155343; its complaint number being 21070.
After five days, a joint team visited the village of Lasudiya Parihar for departmental inspection, the team met with Laxmi and an inspection was undertaken of all 3 hand pumps. The team called a mechanic immediately and started the repair work, in which three new rods were fixed in the foundation to grasp the water level.
After this effort 40 families have been using these hand pumps regularly and also saving the time which was wasted earlier in carrying water from one place to another.
Success through Jansunwai
Panchayat Nme: Jawar
Village Name: Jawra
Applicant Name: Saira Bi
In the panchayat of Jawar, Mrs. Saira bi, wife of late Spayed khan, resided in ward # 3. Due to an illness of some kind her husband had passed away. Under this circumstance, if a family owns a BPL card, they are entitled to the National Family Support Scheme fielded by the government of Madhya Pradesh.
Saira bi went to file her application under the Family Support Scheme on 14/12/2010 in the municipal ward office of Jawar where she was instructed to come back after a month. When she went after the said month she was told to come the next day and then the next. In this way she was duped with no help at any end. Saira bi was quite angry and disappointed and went next to the district collectorate to complain. This is where she met the project volunteer for ‘Samadhaan Ek Din Mein’ scheme from Samarthan.
Being a Tuesday, the volunteer took out a written application and helped her write her complain and put it for the weekly public hearing (Jan Sunvahi) at the colectorate. Her issue was thus taken to the collector who himself instructed the municipal office of Jawar to get on the case with immediate effect.
Thus, Saira bi got her cheque for 10,000 rupees through the family support scheme on 03/03/2011, via cheque number 1049329. In this way, through the ‘Jan Sunvahi’, Saira bi got her deserved benefit in an immediate manner.