Synopsis: The state and central government can learn from the good practices of Rajasthan on dialogue and deliberation with beneficiaries while policy making to transform from mere governance to good governance.
- The recently enacted Farm laws were passed without any consultation with the farmer community.
- Even when policies are made in good principles, for effective programme implementation, consultations and deliberations are needed during the initial stages of law making.
- If the farm laws were made by taking consultations from the relevant stakeholders especially from the farming community, we could have avoided the ongoing Farmers protest in Delhi.
- The case of Rajasthan, that has a healthy tradition of consulting with worker groups and civil society organisations during the initial stage of policy formulation and to take continuous feedback from the field to carry out periodic midway course corrections serves as a shining example for effective policy making.
How Rajasthan shines as a text book example for effective policy making?
- The example of the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Rajasthan can illustrate this better.
- Though MGNREGA wages are now directly credited from the central government to a worker’s bank account this system faces the Issue of payment rejections. There are numerous reasons for rejection, for example,
- There are instances where block level data entry operators make errors in entering the account or Aadhaar details of workers.
- There are instances where money does not get credited due to technical issues, for example, the issue of ‘Inactive Aadhaar’. This happens when the linkage of the worker’s Aadhaar and their bank account is broken in the software maintained by the NPCI.
- Sometimes banks are not able to transfer money as the beneficiary account remains
How the Rajasthan government was able to solve the Issue of payment rejections?
- To resolve payment rejections, the Department of Rural Development of the Government of Rajasthan has held numerous discussions which resulted in conducting periodic workshops with the relevant stake holders.
- Through workshops the worker groups and civil society organisations interacted directly with the aggrieved workers, administrative officers from the village level to the State level, and bankers.
- Through Continuous dialogues with aggrieved workers, they were able to finalise a detailed guideline with well-defined responsibility, clear timelines, and monitoring and protocols to be followed by officials to resolve the issue.
- This has resulted in a significant reduction in payment rejections in Rajasthan. Within a period of 1 year, the Rajasthan government was able to clear ₹380 crore worth of payments to workers that were earlier stuck due to rejections.
- By resolving the payment issue through dialogues, deliberations and constant feedback, the government ensured that every person who has worked, gets their full payment on time
- There is also another case of Jan Soochna Portal similar to MGNREGA where government through a ‘digital dialogue’ involving government officials and numerous civil society organisation have designed and formatted each scheme of Jan Soochna Portal.
- Jan Soochna Portal was launched to facilitate The Right to Information (RTI) Act that was obscured by issues such as ill-defined formats, inaccessibility
- The JSP is a single platform in the public domain providing information across 60 departments of over 104 schemes. The JSP makes disclosure of information accessible for all.
Federalism and good governance require constant constructive engagement between people and officials through Deliberation and debate. A constitutionally committed government should listen to the voices of the marginalised before making welfare policies.