Civil Society assisted grievance aggregation and resolution using IVR and smart phones

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Motivation

The Central and the State Governments in India run several social welfare programmes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the Public Distribution System (PDS) and the Kanyashree Scheme. Often the beneficiaries are not able to air their grievances regarding gaps in delivery of these schemes owing to the lack of a proper grievance redressal platform. Web-based grievance portals are out of reach for many beneficiaries who are not connected to the Internet (or have very unreliable connectivity at best) and call centres have been found to have very poor usage besides being resource-intensive. In such a situation, beneficiaries often approach a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) to get the grievance registered and to follow up on the grievance. There are several CSOs in the country who assist beneficiaries in obtaining public services, and also help them in lodging and following up on grievances regarding these services. However, this is currently done in a completely ad-hoc and unorganised manner. Organising this process would be beneficial in several ways. For example, statistics on which departments attract more grievances, which departments resolve grievances actively and which parts of the country attract more grievances can help in understanding the nature of the public services and the nuances in their implementation. To consolidate and study the grievances and issues that the CSOs are dealing with, we are building a repository of grievances. We take advantage of the high penetration of mobile phones and the increasing presence of smart phones in India. Beneficiaries can call a number and record their grievances, while CSO volunteers can select grievances in their area of expertise and which they are willing to solve, either by calling into the same number or through an Android app.

 

Phase 1 Status Report |    Flyer

 

Publications:


Building Citizen Engagement into the Implementation of Welfare Schemes in Rural India - D. Chakraborty and A. Seth. ICTD, 2015 (poster)

Airavat: an automated system to increase transparency and accountability in social welfare schemes in India - V. Srinivasan, V. Vardhan, S. Kar, S. Asthana, R. Narayanan, P. Singh, D. Chakraborty, A. Singh, and A. Seth. ICTD, 2013 (poster)

Application of Mobile Phones and Social Media to Improve Grievance Redressal in Public Services - A. Seth, A. Katyal, R. Bhatia (IIT Delhi), D. Kapoor, Balachandran C, V. Venkat, A. Moitra, S. Chatterjee, M. Shivam, Z. Koradia (Gram Vaani), and P. Naidu (Action India). M4D Web Foundation workshop 2012 [talk]