In a moment of candour several years ago, Dr Samuel Paul bemoaned the state of management of public services in India: “…pride plays no place in the delivery of citizen entitlements, often it is viewed as a favour, an opportunity to abuse the asymmetry of knowledge to make a quick buck….”. Samuel Paul constructed the Public Affairs Centre (PAC) as a model of pride in protecting the citizen from the vagaries of service delivery, and in ensuring her or his rightful place in the flow diagram of procedures and access.
PAC, established in the last decades of his eventful life, crystallised the phenomenon of social accountability and made real the avenues by which this could be achieved in ordinary transactions with governments, banks and bureaucrats. The creation of PAC involved the mobilization of a vast amount of goodwill founded upon a cheery optimism and faith in humanity. Dr. Paul utilized his enormous fund of connects with academicians, bureaucrats, researchers, and a number of students to invite them to co-habit a fresh space in Indian governance thinking, bringing with them a wide range of experiences with governments and service providers. He indulged the many ideas that flowed in, sifted them for feasibility, and chose those ideas that indicated potential for application in real life situations. Around this nucleus of work, a team was born, dedicated to the protection of the values of transparency and public responsibility.
Dr Paul’s profile
Dr. Samuel Paul (1930-2015) was an Indian scholar, economist, former visiting professor at Harvard Business School, advisor to the World Bank and the UN Commission on Transnational Corporations, and was a professor and the second director of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He served from 8 September 1972 to 30 June 1978. He also taught at the Kennedy School of Government and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs, Princeton University.
Upon his return from Washington to India, he pioneered the creation of citizen report cards, a tool for social accountability. He later went on to be the founding chairperson of a new think tank, the Public Affairs Centre that has taken his work forward.
Other organisations that he helped launch include the Public Affairs Foundation, the Coalition Against Corruption and the Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness. He was on the Boards of State Bank of India and several other international research centres. In recent years, his focus remained public governance and related issues. He was the first Asian to be awarded the Jit Gill Memorial Award by the World Bank, in 2006 and was also the recipient of the Fred Riggs Award of the American Society of Public Administration, and the Nohria award of the All India Management Association. Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 2004. [Courtesy: Wikipedia]