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Indians depend on political bodies, social networks to access govt services

People from different socio-economic groups, communities and educational levels approach for tasks that require state intervention

Indians disadvantaged by class, caste or education, and thus without access to public services or government bodies, often use political institutions and social networks to get their work done and disputes resolved, according to a new study. To access public services or get official work done (for example, secure water connection, get a below-poverty-line card, manage admission to a hospital or a school), nearly 50 per cent of 16,680 respondents across 22 assembly constituencies in eight states, on average, picked elected representatives in panchayats or municipal wards, according to the study conducted by Azim Premji University (APU) and Lokniti (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Company The next most-preferred intermediary was an elder outside the family (10 per cent), followed by government officials (8.5 per cent).

ALSO READ: Delhi govt allows charging Rs 50 extra for home delivery of public services These findings are significant because they indicate whom people from different socio-economic groups, communities and educational levels approach for tasks that require state intervention. The decision on whom to approach depended on 10 socio-economic factors that included caste, class and education, as per the study. Respondents were given the following choices for intermediaries: Member of Parliament (MP), member of legislative assembly (MLA), government official, local political leader, counsellor or sarpanch (elected head of village constitutional body), caste leader or elder outside of the family. In Chhattisgarh, four out of five respondents said they would approach the sarpanch or counsellor, while 23 per cent in Bihar said that they would rather approach government officials, the study noted. “In our field research we find that local elected members like the sarpanch or councillor are increasingly becoming important players in resolving issues related to services across states,” said Siddharth Swaminathan, one of the authors of the study.

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First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 18:43 IST
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