The Hindu, March 24, 2008

JAIPUR: Community Score Card (CSC), a new technique among the available social accountability tools, was used in Rajasthan recently to assess the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Sirohi district.

The CSC was put to use for the first time in the State by CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CUTS CART) under a social accountability project to assess NREGS in Sirohi in a four-day orientation cum field exercise in Rohida Gram Panchayat of Pindwara block from March 12 to15.

The CSC process is a community-based monitoring tool that is a hybrid of the techniques of social audit and citizen report cards. Like the citizen report card, the CSC process is an instrument to extract social and public accountability and responsiveness from service providers. By linking service providers to the community, citizens are empowered to provide immediate feedback to service providers.

The CSC process uses the “community” as its unit of analysis, and is focused on monitoring at the local/grassroots levels.

The CSC solicits user perceptions on quality, efficiency and transparency. This includes tracking inputs or expenditures, monitoring the quality of services/projects, generating benchmark performance criteria that can be used in resource allocation and budget decisions, comparing performance across districts, generating direct feedback mechanisms between providers and users, building local capacity, and strengthening citizen voice and community empowerment.

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