BeyondHeadlines Event Desk
Dear friends, colleagues and saathies,
As a follow up to the Right to Hearing Camps organized in four panchayats of Rajsamand district, the MKSS invites you to Kaladeo Gram Panchayat to participate in another grievance redress camp camp on the 21st of January, 2013, that the MKSS is organizing along with the Rajsamand District administration. This exercise will also be a part of the ongoing official statewide ‘Prashasan Gaon Ki Oar’ campaign where government officials from the block and district are taking governance to the doorstep of the village residents.
One additional input in the Kaladeo camp is a wall painting effort, where proactive disclosure will be institutionalized by painting the names of beneficiaries, and summary of benefits on the walls of every Government office in the Panchayat. Each of 16 government departments will publicly disclose (through wall painting) details of goods and services it is supposed to provide, as well as records detailing the names of beneficiaries and what they have been given over the last year.
The State of Rajasthan passed a ‘Right to Hearing Act’ in August 2012, making it mandatory for State departments to receive complaints, provide dated receipts, conduct a hearing or ‘sunvai’ of the aggrieved with the concerned department official, and provide written responses within a 21 day cycle. On the 27th of December, 2012, the MKSS experimented with organizing ‘Right to Hearing Camps’ in four panchayats in Rajsamand District. At the camps, people came together to file their grievances under the Right to Hearing Act. Government officials were present to receive complaints, give dated receipts and answer queries related to non-payment or non delivery of a particular service or entitlement. Complainants were given a date for a hearing to be able to express their individual grievances.
The experiment proved to be hugely successful. More than 2000 people living without rations, pensions, electricity, water after years of trying to make themselves heard, tired of failed visits to government offices finally got a chance to be heard. Implementing the Act through grievance redress camps also resulted in action being taken. Many were common complainants strengthened by collective pressure. Many people received ration cards, and got complaints on electricity, water etc sorted out. The largest category of beneficiaries were those who had in pensions. These were some of the immediate effects of the camp. Following this exercise, the Rajasthan government was briefed with a request that they implement the Right to Hearing Act through the (PGKO) camps in every Panchayat in the State.
The MKSS believes that institutionalising an effective structure for the redress of grievances is a necessary progression that emerges from the Right to Information Act, to ensure accountability of governance. Public disclosure through wall painting is one mode for the implementation of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act. However, under the Right to Hearing Act, this is not only an act of transparency but the necessary first stage of a grievance redress mechanism. The Kaladeo experience should help highlight the practical challenges in formulating and implementing a grievance redress law with wider applicability.
Hoping for your support, participation and involvement, Do let us know if you will be able to come.
Aruna, Shamkar and Nikhil
For The MKSS team
How to get there :
Kaladeo is near the town of Bhim (roughly 5 km away). To get here is an overnight journey by bus from Delhi. You can take the sleeper bus and come to Bhim. You could also take a bus from Bikaner house, break journey at Jaipur or Ajmer and then hop on to another state bus for Bhim. There is also a train from Delhi, I think the Ahmedabad Mail which comes to Beawar and then Bhimi is a one hours bus journey from there.
Who to contact
Digvijay– 08890464202, Nikhil – 09414004180