Understanding Accountability: The role of social cohesion and local community dynamics in strengthening public accountability
Conference Room, Centre For Policy Reseach, Dharam Marg, Chanakypuri
By Araddhya Mehtta, Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford
Venue of the Event :
Conference Room II, Centre for Policy Research, Dharam Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021
Date: 7th January, 2009
This paper points out how the Right to Food campaign has successfully deployed various strategies (media, research, judicial activism, social and political action) in eliciting government entitlements in the delivery of mid- day meals in government schools. However, in so doing this has led to framing entitlements as solely a government related problem. The campaign has been unable to give adequate attention to more micro level governance issues that are internal to the community i.e. citizen-citizen accountability. A general lack of ‘togetherness’ or social cohesion between members of a community prevents the creation of conditions for the proper delivery of the mid-day meals. This paper proposes a broader understanding of accountability and governance issues, where the government is one component of the different stakeholders. The citizen-citizen accountability within members of a community is an essential ingredient in creating better service delivery, perhaps as important as creating rights vis-à-vis the government. Development approaches can be and need to be more sensitive to bolstering the community internally in order to create the social base for both self-governance and government accountability. A more allied approach of involving ‘citizen-citizen’ accountability along with conventional public action, aimed at eliciting government accountability can be a possible way in which the approach towards social accountability is enriched.