Citizen Action Support Group converts the research at PAC into sustainable action, facilitating conversations with different governing bodies and the civil society. While CASG works on a diverse range of issues, the crux of its focus remains issues of corruption in various sectors, transparency in the public services and good governance. It aims to bridge the gap between citizens and the government and provides platforms for citizen-government dialogue at the city, national and international level. CASG organizes regular workshops to train and enhance the capacity of its partner organizations, public lectures on issues pertinent to its work, Round table discussions on themes related to “good governance” and school level events to raise awareness on issues of good governance to the youth.
The aims of the Citizen Action Support Group are:
- To develop replicable models and requisite tools for civic engagement.
- To enhance the capacity of civil society organizations for civic engagement through action, research and application of replicable models and tools in different parts of the country.
- To institutionalize democracy (civic) education focused on children and youth.
- To complement PAC’s research activities by providing advocacy support.
- To effectively respond to topical issues and problems of local governance in Bangalore, the laboratory for PAC’s citizen action.
- To develop a systematic approach for impact tracking and documentation.
- Sustaining and expanding the ongoing initiatives in core areas such as electoral reforms, anti-corruption, transparency and public accountability mechanisms.
Some of the recent projects under the Citizen Action Support Group:
Coalition Against Corruption
Coalition Against Corruption (CAC) is a joint initiative of Public Affairs Centre, along with Swabhimana, Towards Rural Urban Training and Housing (TRUTH), Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT), Consumer Care Society (CCS) and Karuna Trust, which are dedicated non-profit organizations. CAC aims to combat corruption in government departments and agencies and to impart information about and assist with the Right to Information Act. CAC seeks to achieve its aims by facilitating cooperation among governmental institutions, NGOs and individuals towards implementation of actions that raise accountability in Government. CAC has established a HELPLINE- 6573-4444, where anti-corruption and RTI experts assist and support citizens in the redressal of complaints and grievances relating to corruption faced from public departments and agencies and for information on RTI related issues.
Citizen Monitoring of Rural Road Construction Under Pradhan mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
The main objective of monitoring is to enhance the transparency and accountability and thereby improve the implementation of the programme. The monitoring mechanism works by training villagers to examine the rural roads which are constructed or are being constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. The other critical aspect is to include citizen voices and realize the collective responsibility of maintaining the important assets, which in this case are roads. The programme has implemented in seven states which are Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand.
The project revolves around community involvement to monitor and evaluate their PMGSY roads by:
- Understanding the process of PMGSY road construction
- To test, validate and evolve the tools, techniques and a model process for Citizen Monitoring of PMGSY roads that can be replicated/institutionalized in PMGSY implementation
- To enhance the transparency and accountability and thereby improve the implementation of the programme.
A Study on School Development and Management Committees (SDMC)
The CASG group is currently undertaking a study on the performance of the School Development and Management Committees (SMCs/SDMCs) under the RTE Act 2006 in Karnataka. School Development and Management Committees are important citizen oriented mechanisms which have been formulated to make the functioning of Government Schools more effective. The committee is important as the citizens which includes important stakeholders like Parents of the children studying in the school have the responsibility to make sure that the education imparted in these government schools is up to the mark. The Annual Status and Educational Reports (ASER) have been regularly reporting the undignified picture of the current learning levels of children studying in government schools. This study covers all the 34 Educational Districts of Karnataka and is structured in a way where the current functioning of SDMCs in the state of Karnataka could be understood. The study also intends to strengthen the SDMCs and school along with the collection of data. The study intends to cover all the 34 districts, 102 Blocks, interview about 3500 SDMC members from 204 schools including “Parents” of the children studying in the schools in Karnataka.