Giving Compass’ Take:
• Here are some insights into how policies and programs can improve and bridge the connectivity gap to reach every person in India.
• How can donors play a role in helping bridge this gap in India? What are the policy implications?
• Learn about tapping into individual giving in India.
In order to try and address poverty and inequality, states need to actively redistribute resources, and provide social and economic security to the marginalised. Since India’s independence, numerous public programmes and schemes aimed at improving welfare have been formulated. But most policies and programmes face challenges in reaching every last person—often termed the last mile connectivity gap.
Over-centralisation, corruption and leakages, and lack of transparency and accountability are some of the major bottlenecks. This, paired with a lack of information about eligibility and availability of schemes, poor allocation of resources, and existing power dynamics often lead to weak demand from the very people these schemes could serve best.
- Access to information is the first step: Apart from knowledge about availability of schemes and eligibility for them, citizens also require information about budgets, expenditure, and targets. This information is constantly being revised and updated, and even after collating it, dissemination remains a major challenge.
- Build for the margins: Social and economic exclusion in India is often perpetuated by structural inequalities—caste, gender, class, age, ability, and others. People often experience a double or even triple burden of exclusion, and as a result, are unable to avail of schemes and policies.
- Participatory development can lead to more inclusion: The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act established the institutionalisation of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). This was aimed at challenging the pervasive top-down, expert-driven nature of development, and entrusted PRIs to prepare development plans. But today the question remains: to what extent has power actually been decentralised?
- Hold the government accountable: A lack of transparency with regard to resource allocation, planning, and delivery hinders access to public schemes and programmes. However, many people are unaware of where, when, and how to ask questions or lodge grievances.
Read the full article about the connectivity gap by Ayesha Marfatia at India Development Review.
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