Public Affairs Centre(PAC), Bangalore, carried out the Social Audit of Public Service Delivery in Karnataka, based on the Citizen Report Card methodology pioneered by PAC. The following seven services were covered under the study:
- Public Bus Transport
- Food and Civil Supplies through Public Distribution System
- Veterinary Health Care 4. Pension Schemes
- Services of PHCs and District Hospitals 6. Government High Schools
- Nemmadi Kendras (documentation and issue of Certificates)
This Social Audit was based on user feedback generated through a scientific sample survey of users and households in rural areas. Responses from 2,688 individuals across the State were collected on the above services in pre-designed questionnaires. The salient findings and observations that emerged from this Social Audit are presented below:
- While access per-se is not a serious barrier in the seven public services covered in this study, there is substantial evidence of excessive delays in the process of availing of their benefits. Such delays are notable especially in the delivery of ration cards, veterinary services at home, and pensions.
- Gaining access to services does not necessarily guarantee their delivery with acceptable quality and reliability. A significant exception to this pattern is the services provided by Nemmadi Kendras. A major manifestation of the quality problem is the gap between established norms of services and the actual delivery experienced by the people. Multiple visits to agencies to obtain services, irregular pension payments, non-issue of receipts for payments, non-responsiveness of staff, etc. are examples of unreliable service quality.
- Corruption (payment of extra money by users) is prevalent in all services except in Nemmadi Kendras. Bribes or illegal payments have been paid by 10 to 32 per cent of the people who interacted with the service providers. The highest proportion of bribes paid is in the pension scheme that deals with the most vulnerable people.
- People’s awareness of their entitlements and conditions of service is extremely low across most services. Awareness of citizen charters, where they exist, is also abysmally low (< 8 per cent).
- Complete satisfaction with services ranges between 59 and 91 per cent. The highest score was for Nemmadi Kendras while the lowest was for Pensions.
- On the whole, satisfaction scores look rather high, given the track records of the quality of services. A major factor that explains this outcome is the extremely low awareness of the citizens about their entitlements and conditions and norms of service delivery. When people are ignorant or ill informed, they tend to be grateful for whatever they can get.
- There is some improvement in most services over the past two years, according to a majority of the respondents. Improvement was the least in PDS.
- Just as there are wide variations between the services on many parameters, there are significant variations in service quality and satisfaction with specific services between the four divisions too. Belgaum and Mysore are the two divisions that have received lower ratings for several service dimensions and overall satisfaction. For example, full satisfaction with service quality in PHCs is below 30 per cent in Belgaum. In Mysore, full satisfaction with pensions is 33 per cent.