Empowering Women in Urban Slums to Fight Corruption in Service Delivery in Bangalore, India

Empowering Women in Urban Slums to Fight Corruption in Service Delivery in Bangalore, India

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR)
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $13,850
THEMES: Public Saftey Nets

Corruption in a variety of government administered safety net programs has prompted the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), an Indian Public Charitable Trust, headquartered in Delhi, to take action. CFAR is working on a range of issues such as advocating for the rights of the urban poor, strengthening implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, and HIV/AIDS. CFAR is active in 37 slum settlements across 7 cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Bangalore. A key intervention of CFAR in Karnataka, is ‘Monitoring of Government Food Schemes and Schemes for Vulnerable Women through Community Participation and Action to Create Transparent Governance’, supported by PTF. The project aims at empowering women to advocate for corruption-free service delivery, giving power to communities to hold the government accountable in five slums in Bangalore City.

Corruption Problem Addressed
Corruption is pervasive in India’s welfare and social safety net programs and has deprived citizens, especially the poor and most vulnerable, of their rights and entitlements frequently and across the country. Building on its prior work with communities in four slum settlements in Bangalore City, CFAR held group discussions with community member to identify roots, effects and symptoms of corruption targeting the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.

During the deliberations, one of the participants concluded, “We do not even know when the shopkeeper opens his shop [Fair Price Shop (FPS) – mandated to distribute food entitlements to eligible families under the PDS scheme]. Moreover the quality of food grains that we get is not good at all. We have filed complaints several times but to date have not received any response.” This sentiment was echoed by other citizens, “When we ask the personnel why such a small quantity is being given, she says this is what the government has allotted.”

CFAR confirmed these observations conducting a pilot baseline survey. Out of a sample size of 302 households, only 135 respondents had a ration card. The analysis of the 135 card holders revealed that 127 were BPL (Below Poverty Line) card holders, however only 63 card holders were distributed rations. Further research revealed a number of malpractices in the distribution of rations and improper functioning of ration shops and the non-functioning of vigilance committees.

Similarly, and with respect to the ICDS program, the survey showed that although there were 60 children that had been enlisted with the Department of Women and Child Development, there was no actual Anganwadi center for children to visit. Furthermore, the existent ICDS centers served the improper quality and quantity of food to children. Development committees were not functioning and there was a lack of basic amenities at the Centers.

Actions Taken by CFAR
The first phase of the project focused on the identification and prioritization of corruption problems to be tackled. This effort included strengthening and scaling up women-led forums across 5 slum settlements in Bangalore. CFAR concentrated on establishing and strengthening women-led community collectives. These women’s collectives consist of members who have decided to come together under a common banner, Daksha Samuha, to claim their rights and entitlements. After being trained in filing RTI applications, the women were divided into two groups: Community Advocates who actively participate and initiate action, and Community Volunteers, who converge during large scale events, such as public hearings, consultations, demonstrations, etc.

CFAR facilitated conducting five public hearings

CFAR facilitated conducting five public hearings

Thanks to the reputation CFAR has built over the years, and though informal in nature, these women’s forums have become a sought space for the community to seek justice and address grievances. Some of the forum members also participate in government-mandated grass-roots bodies, such as AnganwadiDevelopment Committees under the ICDS scheme and in vigilance committees under the PDS.

CFAR focused on capacity building and community empowerment and established a variety of advocacy tools through which the communities’ voices could be heard and government authorities targeted: The RTI-trained community advocates filed petitions, held public hearings, requested and conducted social audits, advocated with government agencies, and networked with other campaigns and movements. Emphasis was placed on evidence-based advocacy using visual documentation and case studies to show the horrific and often times appalling state of public service delivery.

Over the course of the project, three public hearings were held on issues affecting basic amenities in the ICDS, and four consultations (two on the Food Security Act, one with FPS owners, and a fourth to declare and publicize two model ration shops). For the consultation with FPS owners, the ground work was laid through establishing a relationship with the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies (KFCS) officials, and the President of FPS owners’ association.

Sample of an RTI Application

Sample of an RTI Application

Impact and Results Achieved
Results of the first phase include:

  • 47 RTI applications submitted.
  • 28 trained members of the Daksha Samuha (community group), including in-depth knowledge on the usage of the RTI Act, entitlements under various ration card formats, and social benefits.
  • Training on conducting negotiations with the government and other stakeholder, including engaging with the media.
  • Filing of new applications for BPL ration cards for approximately 1,000 people (out of 1,030 who did not have ration cards) which resulted in 371 newly issued BPL cards.
  • Three public hearings covering 550 people or 67% of the 820 households on issues of basic amenities, PDS and Right to Housing.
  • Based on the complaints filed by the Daksha Samuha, the KFCS took back twice inedible grain allotted to FPS shops. Furthermore, one ration shop was seized.
  • Following a public hearing, two new bore wells and two additional water tanks were installed to ensure proper water supply for the 242 residents. Additionally, all households were given an electricity connection, the main road was paved and proper drainage lines were laid. A sweeper was assigned to clean the area three times a week

Based on the feedback received from the community, corruption in the area appears to be declining. Some 362 BPL cards were issued without any bribes being paid. Similarly, other beneficiaries, such as widows (275), senior citizens (170) and disabled persons (7) are receiving pensions, and 400 senior citizens now avail of the mid-day meals without paying bribes.

More significantly, a culture of fighting corruption has been created amongst the forum members and is not limited to PDS and ICDS. The Daksha Samuha now works with government maternity hospitals. The women trained by CFAR no longer depend on the CSO, but show the courage to fight independently and organize the community to achieve additional results.

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Empowering Communities to Demand Accountability of Safety Net Entitlements in Odisha State, India

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: People’s Rural Education Movement (PREM)
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $21,000
THEMES: Social Saftey Nets

Reports indicate that amounts of up to 75% of all funds allocated to social safety net programs are embezzled by corrupt government officials in India every year. The ‘People’s Rural Education Movement’ (PREM), a local CSO in Odisha State, India, decided to implement a Citizens Against Corruption (CAC) project in 12 Gram Pachayats (GPs) of Nuagad Block in the Gajapati District. The project’s name was ’Reduction of corruption in NREGA, FRA and PDS in Nuagad Block’.

The project succeeded in preparing the ground for citizen monitors and community based organizations (CBOs) to further hold government officials to account. It also realized significant progress in fighting corruption in the three targeted social safety net schemes. A second phase of the project is currently underway.

Corruption Problem Addressed
A high level of corruption in public service delivery often correlates with equally high levels of mass poverty, illiteracy and under-development in other areas. Institutionalized corruption and the inability of politicians to curb corruption is a serious challenge holding India back in its efforts to eradicate poverty. It is precisely low-income households that are affected most severely by corruption, mismanagement and misuse of public resources that should otherwise guarantee local service delivery, spurring economic growth and greater equity.

The prevalence of corruption in Nuagad Block, is reflected in the statistics on various welfare schemes such as the ‘National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ (NREGA), the ‘Forest Rights Act’ (FRA) and the ‘Public Distribution System’ (PDS). A study by the ‘National Institute of Rural Development’ (NIRD), Hyderabad, and the ‘Centre for Environment and Food Security’ (CEFS), New Delhi, on corruption in the implementation of NREGA in Odisha, found that 75% of the total of all allocated funds were misappropriated by corrupt government officials and middlemen in the financial year 2007/2008. Perpetrators are commonly identified as local level officials who act in collusion with middlemen, contractors, bank officials and Block level employees.

Key factors preventing effective mechanisms to counteract continued mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds are:

  • Lack of awareness about a) entitlements and b) the tools to fight corruption within the affected communities
  • Lack of communication materials and targeted government outreach provided in local languages
  • Poor (or limited) empowerment of institutions at the local level of government
  • Lack of proper sensitization of government officials to issues and challenges facing citizens at the grass roots level

Actions Taken by PREM
PREM geared its project interventions toward raising awareness, mobilizing the community, building capacity and engaging constructively with different stakeholders involved in local service delivery schemes. The aim was to rally the community and local officials around the mutual aim to advocate for and eventually guarantee corruption-free services. PREM worked with community based organizations (CBOs), citizen monitors, village committees, block level government officials and elected PRI representatives. In addition, PREM established and fostered links with local media and the Tribal and Dalit Peoples network. In collaboration with community volunteers, PREM introduced various peer learning tools, including teaching citizens how to use Right-to-Information (RTI) Act tools and introduced the concept of public hearings and social audits. Specifically, PREM:

  •  held – in collaboration with community level activists – regular village meetings to build capacity, improve planning and problem-solving skills of interested community members
  • organized orientation meetings with PRI members and joint workshops of community members, PRI and government officials – building capacity and introducing the overall strategy for project implementation
  • organized Block level media workshop to highlight corruption issues and sensitize the media to be part of constructively engaging officials
  • set up a muster roll watch conducted by local government activists at an NREGA work site
  • selected 2-3 social watch monitors from each village and conducted capacity building on RTI tools
  • established two RTI clinics to help community members file RTI inquiries on different issues
  • collected information material on FRA, NREGA, RTI, food security and other government provisions in local languages from government bodies and other CSOs to disseminate this information among the community
  • painted walls with information about RTI, FRA, NREGA and other entitlements in every  village or town
  • telecast a documentary film on NREGA and RTI
  • facilitated the FRA land verification process with local government activists and in collaboration with the revenue department
  • built capacity to guarantee participation and assert direct democracy mechanisms as set out in PESA with the aim to properly exert oversight over village management
  • introduced social audit and public hearing concepts

Obstacles and Challenges encountered
Most of the tribal villages are hard to access as they are situated in hilly terrain. Some areas are deemed insecure as they are home to various Naxalite groups, considered terrorist groups by the Indian government. This serves as a legitimate concern as well as sometimes excuse for government personnel to not visit villages and provide government services. Strikes called for by these Maoist groups restrict movement further, both for government officials as well as the PREM project team. Another challenge, and directly connected to the politics in the affected area, are corrupt officials threatening to brand project staff as Maoist when community activists engaged in anti corruption campaigns.

Impact and Results Achieved
First results of this CAC project include successful information mainstreaming of entitlements under the PDS within the communities and a significant rise in the communities’ awareness of the need and possibility to raise their voice against corruption.

Mr. Nahasan Majhi, a GP level activist whose knowledge about RTI tools gained through the project have led to unintended but hugely beneficial outcomes in other areas than targeted by the initial project.

Mr. Nahasan Majhi, a GP level activist whose knowledge about RTI tools gained through the project have led to unintended but hugely beneficial outcomes in other areas than targeted by the initial project.

  • All BPL card holders now receive the correct PDS entitlements every month with right quantity in all the GPs observed. While quality issues on rice grains persist, the kerosene ration has been distributed correctly.
  • Corrupt practices in the verification stage of FRA claim have been reduced by the engagement and monitoring exercised through project staff, CBOs and social watch monitors.
  • The average working days allotted through the NREGA implementation has increased from 31 days to 52 days. Wage payment delays have been reduced from 30 days to 15 days.
  • The fight against corruption is not limited to  NREGA, FRA and PDS; Communities started raising their voice against other forms of corruption, e.g. the case of Punjab National Bank where a community member with the support of the local government and the use of  RTI tools filed an application seeking information regarding his loan, which in turn helped revealing huge discrepancies on loan amounts for more than 200 loan applicants. This incident led to the detention of the bank manager.
  • Gradual growth and empowerment of the CBOs ‘Palli Vikas’ and ‘Margdarsini’ taking on ownership of this CAC project to ensure the sustainability of project impact over the long term.
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Empowering the Youth to Demand Corruption-Free Service Delivery in India

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM)
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $19,400
THEMES: Public Saftey Nets

Corruption and poor service delivery in the distribution of social safety net entitlements under the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the Mysore District of Karnataka State, has prompted the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) to increase citizen awareness, empower youth groups and launch a fully fledged Right-to-Information (RTI) campaign to enable communities to demand responsiveness and better service delivery from the Fair Price Shops (FPS) responsible for the PDS entitlement distribution. SVYM has successfully implemented the “Community Movement against Corruption” project and is currently building on that success conducting a second phase with the objective to further institutionalize citizen oversight, particularly Citizen Vigilance Committees ensuring financial, technical, social and institutional sustainability of the results achieved thus far.

Corruption Problem Addressed
SVYM conducted a baseline survey that identified irregularities and documented the extent of corruption experienced. These issues included the quality and quantity of food grains distributed under the PDS scheme, the maintenance of records, insufficient supply and overpricing, faulty measuring devices, hoarding grains and black marketing. Eligible citizens did not receive ration cards while ineligible persons received Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards. Vigilance committees and community oversight to demand better service delivery were not well functioning.

FPS owners routinely denied citizens their mandated rations, keenly aware that beneficiaries would not approach the oversight authorities due to a lack of awareness and information about their rights. Not all FPSs displayed correct information, including stock positions and prices on the display boards. 41% of households said there was sufficient information displayed while 42.4% said it was incomplete. Roughly 16% reported that there was either no display board or no information written on it. About 5% had no knowledge about the necessity for a display board at all. At the same time it was found that if individual beneficiaries demanded the full entitlement, FPS owners tended to issue the allotted rations without demur.

Actions Taken by SVYM
At the outset of the project SVYM conducted an extensive baseline survey, which helped to pinpoint particular issues and weaknesses in the PDS distribution scheme. Upon analysis of the survey, SVYM organized recurring multi-stakeholder meetings bringing together government officials, FPS owners, CSOs, CBOs and community members in order to foster constructive engagement between the different parties.

SVYM engaged in a variety of activities geared toward awareness raising and capacity building that included tools and strategies such as street plays and video showings, the use of various media outlets, street painting and even door-to-door campaigning. Overall SVYM trained some 1075 students in 17 schools and empowered 80 youth groups to as well as 60 NGO representatives to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a tool to demand information. The trainings often included government officials.  SVYM furthermore laid the groundwork to install and empower citizen vigilance committees, a task to be implemented during the second phase of the project. To achieve sustainability, SVYM has paid special attention toward fostering young leaders with the intention to groom youths to take the fight against corruption forward in the future.

Impact and Results Achieved
The results achieved include:

  • 300 new BPL cardholders from within the project area, out of a total of 536 newly distributed cards.
  • Critically augmented awareness levels regarding beneficiaries’ rights and responsibilities toward entitlements from FPS owners by the community.
  • Government officials maintain closer contact with the public and have become more responsive. FPS owners have agreed to work with SVYM and the community.
  • Youth groups have actively started demanding their full entitlements from FPS owners.
  • The number of RTI applications has increased, as has use of SVYM’s RTI Facilitation Center.

Government officials have started attending all meetings organized by SVYM and interact regularly with communities, showing an increased rate of responsiveness and accountability. Another result was the increased focus exhibited by the Food Inspector who now pays special attention to PDS and visits FPSs in the villages and tribal hamlets regularly, along with SVYM team members, taking necessary action if needed.

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Reducing Corruption in Indian Public Services

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: People’s Rural Education Movement (PREM)
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $21,000
THEME: Public Safety Nets

PREM (People’s Rural Education Movement) has been working with the marginalized communities in the states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for the last two decades. It has immense experience in the field of community mobilization and empowerment especially with tribal and dalit sections of the society. It is here that its experiences and knowledge added to the implementation of the CAC programme in the intervened area. However, it was felt that in spite of the numerous efforts put in by the team; there is still ample room for improvement in the project, therefore the overall achievement rating is 3, i.e. moderately satisfactory.

With regard to the project design it was felt that the goal of the project is very clearly stated in the proposal. It aims at reducing corruption in the delivery of three public services (PDS, NREGA and FRA) through citizen monitoring and further advocating reforms to check the same. The objectives designed to realize the same however, are not very clear (detailed explanation given in point 1 of the completion assessment section). The activities mentioned in the project-planning matrix attached with the proposal do not specifically mention the number of such activities to be conducted, which makes it difficult to monitor their implementation status. Also some of the activities planned are not in coherence with the respective objective. For example, the activities under objective four (annexure 1, project completion report) focus more on awareness generation and education rather than on monitoring PDS.

The implementation performance and results too cannot be said to be completely satisfactory as there are certain gaps that have been identified in the same. Although corrupt practices have been exposed and reduced to some extent due to the efforts of the community, but still more needs to be done on the monitoring and tracking implementation of the provisions of the targeted government schemes. However, the project has done a commendable job in terms of forging alliances with the media, government officials and PRI members at the local level as well as capacitating the two people’s organizations, Palli Vikas and Margdarsi.

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Reducing Corruption in India’s Public Distribution System Phase II

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Paraspara Trust
YEARS: 2011-2012
GRANT AMOUNT: $34,999
THEME: Public Food Distribution

An enormous number of working class and marginalized people are roaming in search of food and among them women and children are the most exploited population. The daily income of about three fourth of the nation’s population is only Rs.20 and their buying capacity is decreasing day by day. But the government of India is playing with poor in the name of poverty using of politics and corruption. Governments of India and Karnataka have enough food stocked in huge store enough to distribute for every citizen of India. But these governments are taking their own time to make laws and rules towards distributing food to poor. This has unfortunately resulted in increasing malnutrition among women and children. Fair shops are not identifying the eligible families and they are continuing corruption by keeping extra cards and selling the ration in black market with the help of middlemen.

Paraspara trust initiated new strategy to prevent corruption at Fair price shops by empowering the marginalized community, especially BPL card holders by promoting PDSMCs [Public Distribution System Monitoring Committees] to prevent corruption at fair price shop and a forum called DHV [Dhanya Hakku Vedike] to fight against corruption at government implementation level and policy level by engaging constructively with government and addressing policy issues by making alliances with Right to Food Campaign and other likeminded NGOs in Bengaluru City.

In the phase I, Paraspara trust worked with 30 Fair price shops by collecting information and promoting PDSMCs in all 30 shops with the involvement of shop owners and government officials and declared 3 fair price shops as ‘model shops’ in preventing corruption with model indicators. Also it has built constructive engagement with government officials.

In phase II, Paraspara trust targeted additional 20 fair price shops and totally 50 shops by monitoring 3 model fair price shops and declaring 27 fair price shops as model FPS and preparing 20 FPS towards preventing corruption and declaring as model FPS.

The strength of PDSMCs has increased from 600 members to 1000 members in the phase II. They conducted their regular monthly meeting and sharing the reported corruption at FPS. They fed information on corruption regularly to the DHV forum towards reaching government officials and department to include eligible families. DHV forum with the support of PDSMC members have actively participated in the Campaign Against Corruption and Right To Food Campaign. PDMC members, Shop owners, Vigilance Committee members have actively participated in the Right to Food Bill and in the consultation on Supreme Court order and sensitized on the issue of corruption in PDS system.

A baseline survey by Paraspara in Phase I found 1500 bogus cards in each 50 PDS shops and informed to the Food and Civil supplies department. We convinced the cardholders to re-apply for the new cards through online application. PT with PDSMCs supported cardholders to organize four step strategies to approach Civil Supplies Department to get new cards for eligible poor people in the project area.

  1. Identifying the eligible families and make document on the family and communicate to the respective authority to issue new cards.
  2. Helping the department to identify the bogus cards in the community and report to the authority.
  3. Representation to the authority and convincing the department officials towards issuing the new cards.
  4. Empowering the community and mobilizing  them  to  take  representation  to  the  authority  and demonstrate in front of the department to issue the new cards to the eligible families in the community.

The strategy impacted and forced the department to issue 590 new cards to the eligible families.

The Department Of Food And Civil Supplies informed many eligible people to apply and go for the APL cards, because of the new guidelines for getting new ration cards. As per the suggestion of the department our activists identified the 980 eligible families and applied for the new ration cards through online services. To process the new applications the Food and Civil Supplies department officials visited the community and explained about the process in making new applications without corruption.

Towards sustaining the process PT promoted Public Distribution System Monitoring Committee in each community and at the shop level. It was a group of 15 to 20 members, who eligible to get rations to their families. There were regular meetings to discuss the issues regarding fair price shop. They invited Vigilance Committee (a mandatory committee formed in the PDS system) members to share their problems in getting the stipulated ration for stipulated price from the fair price shop.

The PDSMC members are regularly empowered by the PT members and other resource persons. PDSMC members promoted a Zonal level committee called Dhanya Hakku Vedike [forum for food grains rights] to address the district and state level issues. Dhanya Hakku Vedike had representatives from PDSMCs. The forum had an administrative structure with a President, Secretary, Treasurer and committee members. They participated in State level issues and also participated in the food rights campaign.

PT with the support of Dhanya Hakku Vedike organized two consultations for PDSMC members to empower them to be aware of their own rights and duties against corruption in the fair price shop. Before the consultation, PDSMC members identified community youth and organized a street play training and demonstration in the community on corruption issues. More than 50,000 people observed the street play and were awoken about the bad impact on people and society.

Dhanya Hakku Vedike was the platform for addressing policy issues at District and State level forum. The members of DHV actively participated in the representations, meetings, consultations and demonstrations for the new Food Right Bill which was pending for long time in the Parliament.

In the beginning of the project the Food and Civil Supplies department has constantly neglected our approach and requests. It took nearly a year to convince the department about our programs and finally we approached the Food Ministry to support us. After the recommendation from the Food Ministry, the Department Of Food And Civil Supplies started responding positively to our approach and activities.

Paraspara Trust, PDSMC and DHV arranged for several consultations for the owners of the PDS shops with Food and Civil Supplies Department officials. Towards improving the governance of the PDS organized regular meetings, consultations with to the fair price shop owners and officials as per our plan. Handbills are circulated to the groups in local language about new developments in the area of PDS with other inputs.

In the Second phase PT and PDSMC succeeded in announcing another 19 fair price shops as a model shops. But the department and the owners were not very happy about this process. Because, they found there was no income from the shop after declaring a shop as model and it was an obstacle for their ‘extra’ income. But we succeeded in convincing 19 shops out of 50 shops owners to declare as ‘model shops’.

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Reducing Corruption in India’s Public Distribution System

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Paraspara Trus
YEARS: 2009-2010
GRANT AMOUNT: $17,850
THEME: Public Food Distribution

Public Distribution System (PDS) is a one of the major and widespread poverty alleviation programs in India that contributes towards the social welfare of the people.  Essential commodities like rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene are supposed to be supplied to the people under the PDS at reasonable prices.  PDS was proposed to be a boon to the people living below the poverty line.  It is not possible to neglect the PDS in India, because majority of the migrant population are living in urban slum areas and their standard of living is also poor and they cannot afford to pay the prevailing market prices for the essential commodities.  Central Government has provided Rs. 21,200 crores in 2002-03 in its annual budget. The huge network can play a more meaningful role if only the system is able to translate into micro level and macro level self-sufficiency by ensuring availability of food grains for the poor households. A detailed study done in UP and published in March 2000 found that multiplicities of agencies, poor coordination and low administrative accountability have combined to cripple the delivery machinery. In the same year a study by Tata Economic Consultancy Service found that a large amount of PDS supplies were diverted from the system.

There are examples of successive citizen participation initiatives in the system. The initiated pilot project “Addressing Corruption in public distribution system by citizen’s groups” will be unique in the sense that it will try to get this initiative in an urban setting for the first time. The citizens groups will be permanent rights based groups which will not limit their activity to monitoring the distribution of the commodities in the FPS outlets, but look beyond that as the watchdogs of citizen’s rights and one of them being the right to access to quality service from the PDS.

The objective for this pilot project was to identify and promote 30 citizen’s groups to monitor effective provision of service of 30 FPS outlets in Bangalore, to increase awareness among consumer and public on the issue of corruption in PDS system and to set a model in citizen participation in PDS distribution which reduces opportunities for corruption with the goal of making 30 PDS outlets [Fair Price Shops] function Corruption Free in Bengaluru city by ensuring quality provisions in time to all the eligible poor living in the slums of Bengaluru city.

The pilot project was successfully completed by increasing awareness between consumer and public on the issue of corruption in PDS system through handbills, street play and news media at Bengaluru city level. It effected and motivated consumers to come forward and initiate citizen’s groups to address corruption at fair price shop level in the name of PDSMC [Public distribution system monitoring committee]. With all the resistance by the department of food and civil supplies and owners, the 30 PDSMCs formed and built their capacities to address the issue of corruption at fair price shop level with the support of consumers, community and public. We did a baseline survey of 100 fair price shops to identify the levels of corruptions and used RTI to get more authentic information to advocate with the government officials. The 30 PDSMCs promoted their apex body to advocate with the government department and network with other food right groups at state and national level to address the policy issue. We succeeded in declaring 3 Fair price Shop as model PDS outlets and preparing 27 FPS for the declaration of Model PDS outlets in one year time frame.  The pilot project created a huge space for learning on process, constructive engagement with community, government and other stakeholders. It was also an initiator to mobilize community and general public on reducing corruption in public distribution system. It was a small and effective experiment and we have to take this to next step to reach out more eligible groups and people.

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