Projects that can serve as guideposts for UNDP project development -3: Implementing rights-based programmes and access to entitlements

Ensuring right to food through process computerisation: The case of Chhattisgarh's Public Distribution System

Short description: Since 2004, Chhattisgarh has been investing in measures to revive the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the state, including measures that involve ICTs. Right now,Chhattisgarh has become one of the model states in the implementation of PDS. This is because Chhattisgarh has been able to effectively deal with the widespread challenges that implementers of PDS face – errors of exclusion that result in beneficiaries falling out of the state safety net, corruption by private dealers running the Fair Price Shops under the PDS, corruption and leakages in the paddy procurement process and leakages during the transportation of food grains to the Fair Price Shops.

Firstly, the government of Chhattisgarh passed an order in 2004 shifting the management of the Fair Price Shops from private dealers to self help groups, cooperatives and panchayats. Secondly, to overcome errors of exclusion, the state government launched the Mukhyamantri Khadyann Sahayata Yojana in 2007, to provide ration cards to all households identified as living below the poverty line (BPL) in the 1991 and 1997 BPL surveys. These households had been excluded from the 2002 BPL survey because of the caps enforced by the Planning Commission on poverty figures. 1 Thirdly, the state government innovatively used ICT platforms to check corruption in the paddy procurement and food transportation process, as well as to enhance citizen awareness of their PDS entitlements. After identifying the recycling of custom milled rice as the biggest source of leakage in paddy procurement, the state government identified the solution in a process computerisation model that would involve online mill registration, online issue of delivery orders, online securitisation of paddy and custom mill receipts, and online reconciliation of stocks. This was achieved through the e-procurement project. Chhattisgarh state also developed a web based application for tracking the transport trucks carrying the food grains to the Fair Price Shops, and also launched a SMS service through which alerts about truck dispatch information can be sent to citizens. The state also runs a widely publicised call centre for receiving citizen complaints about the PDS.

Finally, the state has launched the citizen portal for the public disclosure of all information pertaining to the PDS - ranging from procurement of food grains to grain supply at the local ration shops- to enable effective citizen monitoring.


Reason for selection: Chattisgarh has revamped its entire mechanism of managing the PDS, fully tapping into the potential of ICTs, to not only improve administrative efficiency but also strengthen entitlement-seeking by communities. The process computerisation has also focused on eliciting greater citizen-participation in the monitoring of the PDS as well as building awareness among citizens about their rights.


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Networked governance for improving service delivery to marginalised groups: The case of Mission Convergence

Short description: The Mission Convergence ( programme was conceptualised by the Government of Delhi in February 2008 and formally launched later that year, in August 2008. The programme has mainly focussed on providing a single window access to various social security schemes, for marginalised groups, throughout the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. The main achievements of the programme are :

  1. Identifying and recommending welfare schemes which can be provided in a converged manner after consultation and coordination with the appropriate departments.


  1. Rationalising and streamlining welfare scheme implementation through a network of community level centres, (Gender Resource Centres-Suvidha Kendras), through a Public-Private-Community-Partnership model with the involvement of civil society organisations.


Mission Convergence has a complex institutional structure. Its daily management is under the Programme Management Unit (PMU) headed by the Managing Director. Above the PMU, to support the convergence of nine departments, is the State Convergence Forum headed by the Chief Secretary. Below the PMU are the nine District Resource Centres (DRCs) located at the office of the Deputy Commissioners of each district , which are managed by sanctioned NGOs. These DRCs undertake the responsibility of monitoring the community level structures.


Unique to Mission Convergence is its strong information technology backbone that has been created and built upon, right from the conceptualisation of the programme. At the start of the programme , the Gender Resource Centre-Suvidha Kendras conducted a vulnerability index based survey in their communities. The survey data was digitised and centrally maintained at the PMU with a strong process of field-based authentication from an early period ,to ensure transparency and accountability. This database has been actively used by the PMU to monitor and plan for the project. The PMU has also been in the process of evolving a systems integration platform to provide an integrated interface at the Gender Resource Centre-Suvidha Kendra level through which a common dynamic database of beneficiaries can be maintained, automated tracking systems for the services can be created, redundancies and errors can be recognised and most importantly, field level authentication of data can take place2. These ICT-enabled processes, as they develop, will become fundamental to streamlining and transparency within the project.

Reason for selection: Mission Convergence has been very innovative in using ICTs both for convergence and for ensuring that arbitrariness in beneficiary selection is progressively reduced. Secondly, the programme has avoided the temptation of using private sector partners which would bring a profit orientation to core governance activities that involve marginalised people. Lastly, the manner in which the best competencies of NGOs and public bodies are combined and used, provides very good insights on how one can shape new age networked institutions and their governance systems for effective service delivery to marginalised sections.

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Ensuring and monitoring rights and entitlements: The case of the Mother and Child Health(MCH) Tracking System

Short description: The MCH tracking system ( was launched by the Ministry of Health (MoH) as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), in 2010. The Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) is designed “to collate information of all pregnant women and infants so as to ensure delivery of maternal and child health services from conception till 42 days after delivery in the case of pregnant women and up to five years of age in the case of children so as to ensure that all pregnant women and all new born receive full maternal and immunisation services3.

Under the MCH Tracking System, an online registration system has been developed in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, for creating a centralised database of the range of medical services provided to a woman by the health system, from the moment her name is registered for the Antenatal check up up to 42 days after delivery, after which the system will record the medical services provided to the child up to the age of five years. Basic health indicators at the time of pregnancy and childbirth are also recorded. The last mile health extension workers enter these details on the database, and the tracking system allows allows the cross-linking of information availed by a pregnant woman and her identification details, with the details of the concerned Auxiliary Nurse Midwife. The system also records basic health indicators at the time of pregnancy. Additionally, it generates a database for identifying the women who are eligible to receive benefits under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (SJY), and also has a provision for recording birth details for issuing birth certificates. A call centre has been established in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to directly contact pregnant women and parents of the new born registered under the system to verify the services that they have received4.

Reason for selection: The information generated through the system is very helpful for planning maternal and child health services at the grass roots level by the female health worker (ANMS) in association with village level volunteers like ASHA and Aanganwadi Worker. The database also provides useful information for tracking macro health indicators such as the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). Such a database also enables health departments to provide context-specific trainings to the grass-roots health workers, after understanding the specific requirements in each area.

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Using ICTs to empower women in accessing entitlements : The case of the Mahiti Manthana project5

Short description: The Mahiti Manthana project is an initiative of IT for Change and its Mysore field centre, Prakriye- Centre for Community Informatics and Development,which has been taken up in partnership with Mahila Samakhya Karnataka. Since its inception in 2005, the project has primarily aimed at exploring the possibilities offered by community informatics, for strengthening the empowerment processes of marginalised women's collectives (locally known as sanghas) formed under the Mahila Samakhya programme of the Government of India, in three blocks (taluks) of Mysore district (Hunsur, H.D. Kote and Nanjangud). Mahila Samakhya is a pan Indian governmental programme which works towards the education and empowerment of women from socially and economically disadvantaged sections in rural areas, through a collectivisation strategy of mobilising and organising women into village level collectives (locally known as sanghas).

The project has primarily employed a three-pronged ICT strategy comprising of community radio, community video and telecentres. The radio component consists of a weekly radio broadcast on the Karnataka State Open University FM, that brings the sangha women's own voices into the local public sphere. Under the video component, the project has set up an on-demand as well as push- based6 video system, that supports collective learning-action processes, on the ground. The third component is a village based telecentre model for public information access called the Namma Mahiti Kendra (Our information centre). It is run by sangha women in select villages through a adolescent girl, trained by the women and the field staff of the project, so that she can address directly, the need for public information, as well as concerns of institutional non-transparency and apathy. These telecentres function in the manner of a community computing initiative through which sangha women are able to guide the larger community in accessing government information and availing of entitlements.


Reason for selection: Effectively exercising their rights and transacting with the State for their entitlements, is an important part of the struggles of poor and disadvantaged women. The Mahiti Manthana strategy is geared towards this – especially the telecentres set up under the project, which primarily aim at building sangha women's linkages with public institutions and increasing their awareness levels about government schemes and services. Though the telecentres also provide a few revenue-based computer services to the community, their primary purpose of enabling women to overcome information gate-keeping at the local level is never lost sight of. Additionally Mahiti Manthana project telecentres are engaged in collecting community data, and helping public service providers to use this data for targeted interventions (like health interventions for pregnant women, and infants), and also to demand accountability for due services not provided, and matching data of actual health interventions with those listed in public records obtained through the use of RTI.

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1Puri, R. (2012), Reforming the Public Distribution System: Lessons from Chhattisgarh, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 47, No. 5, 2012

2For more details, see , Retrieved July 30 2012

5Disclosure: This project is spearheaded by IT for Change, the organisation where the author of this document work,in partnership with government of India women's empowerment project, Mahila Samakhaya

6Under the Mahiti Manthana project, the videos produced have been screened at meetings of the women's collectives at the village and block level, and at the information centres established under the project. Videos have also been screened for the entire community in the project villages. The videos have also been pushed through the Mahila Samakhya system, by persuading the staff to add the videos to their resources and toolkits for training and capacity-building activities.


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