Notes from the Right to Food Campaign 1

2.5 Monitoring and accountability

It is not an uncommon experience to see that allocated funds are returned unused. It is still more common to find that a facility exists, but is dysfunctional. The administration may have heard of cases of starvation and take no steps to intervene. The administration can get away with it without even having to explain their action or the lack of it. This problem is massive particularly in the least developed states. Currently neither do we have a viable system of monitoring the performance of administration nor do we have a way of enforcing accountability in case of non-performance.

This is one of the many issues that plagues the campaign, and it has responded with several measures. One the one hand a monitoring system based on the commissioners is being set up. Further, measures of building pressure through public action is being tried especially with the institution of public hearings and social audits.

Building accountability through the commissioners

The interim orders of the Supreme Court have primarily focussed on full implementation of existing schemes. This has automatically meant that one of the prime tasks of the commissioners is to ensure that the resources available for the purpose are utilised fully. A system of monitoring is evolving to ensure the usage of funds.

Information on the availability of funds, its utilisation, and of various targets that have to be met within the given resource base are available with the government. They typically escape the hands of the activists. As a first step in the monitoring system, the governments were asked to provide these reports on a regular basis. We shall consider the example of Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yogana (SGRY) here.

About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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One thought on “Notes from the Right to Food Campaign

  • Tanuj

    I started reading about right to food after the bill was passed, and got to know about the campaign that ran behind it for more than 10 years. I grew more interested in the campaign and activism that supported it, after I read a few snippets about it in a few articles, specially about the action day for mdm in 2002. I was searching about it, and landed up in this site. These notes give a great structure to the ideas behind the campaign.
    If there are any notes or articles or books that have a memoirs of being part of this campaign, or talk of the different activities that were carried out through out the campaign, then I would be really obliged if you can direct me to such resource.