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E-solution for public complaints

Aug 31, 2011

The Indian state government of Orissa has launched a new technology platform to solve the grievances of its citizens. Supported by the UN Millennium Campaign, 'Samadhan' will send real-time feedback to people on government service delivery to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs.

Bhubaneswar: Honorable Chief Minister of Orissa, Mr. Naveen Patnaik inaugurated an Internet-based technology platform called "Samadhan: Citizens Action for Governance" on Friday 26 August 2011 at the Hotel Swosti Premium. Samadhan will allow citizens to directly track and monitor their entitlements under various national and state government schemes. Your NREGA wage has not been fully paid, a mother has not received her Janani Suraksha Yojana money, an Anganwaadi worker is not opening the nutrition center everyday – citizens can take any such problem they are facing and send a simple text message, call in at a toll-free number or visit the District Collector's Office to demand or file complaints through Samadhan. 

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A joint initiative of District Collectorate of Koraput, the United Nations Millennium Campaign, and civil society organizations South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Samadhan is also a tool to support the government in delivering the services to citizens in a more efficient, accountable and transparent manner. Once complaints are registered in Samadhan through facilitation by CSO partners, local administration will process the complaints and respond with appropriate actions to resolve them. 

After witnessing how the first case has been acknowledged and will be monitored on a user-friendly online platform, Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik said, "The Government of Orissa is committed to addressing grievances of the people of Orissa in a time bound and transparent manner. Today, I am delighted to launch the Samadhan platform, which will certainly strengthen our existing efforts to respond to citizens'grievances and concerns with the active engagement of the UN in India and civil society partners." 

"With only less than five years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it is very encouraging to witness that the District Government itself, with the full support of State Government, is initiating such a participatory tool for citizens to monitor and track their MDG entitlements and for improving service delivery." said Ms. Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, who travelled from New York to attend the launch. 

Responsible government officials in Koraput have been assigned as the focal point for responding to Samadhan complaints and taking timely actions, and they are expected to provide updates on the progress in resolving each case. On the other hand, citizens who have submitted complaints can log into the Samadhan website to keep track of their own case and see the progress themselves. In the meantime, media and public can also view a summary report showing what types of issues are being raised and how those are resolved. In the medium- and long-term, Samadhan will also help the government identify persistent bottlenecks, systematic constraints and other outstanding issues by analyzing the data and information about the submitted complaints and the processes of resolving those issues. Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP who represented the UN system in India said: "The unique community monitoring tool 'Paheli' piloted by the Government of Orissa with support from UNDP and other UN agencies is one such example of empowering communities through an easy-to-understand survey of people's own perception of delivery of critical public services in health, education and livelihood. Such real-time feedback can help bring governance closer to the people."  

Mr. Sanjit Patnayak, Secretary of SOVA – one of the primary civil society organizations who coordinate this initiative in Orissa – shared his excitement by saying: "We believe that today's launch of Samadhan is the beginning of a strategic partnership between the government and citizens backed up by civil society organizations and facilitated by the UN, to ensure that people of Orissa, especially the tribal and the most marginalized, will receive the services they are entitled to under various government schemes."

Ms. Shairose Mawji, Chief of UNICEF Orissa, said, "I congratulate the Government of Orissa in launching this excellent initiative which we hope will empower mothers, families and care-givers to seek those entitlements that will make a real difference to the lives of children in Koraput."

The MDGs are eight goals that world leaders committed to achieving by 2015 during the MDG Summit in New York in 2000. The MDGs contain concrete, specific, and time-bound targets on improving the lives of the world's poorest people. These goals are: 1) end extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieve universal primary education; 3) promote gender equality and empower women; 4) reduce child mortality; 5) improve maternal health; 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) ensure environmental sustainability; and 8) develop a global partnership for development. 

About Samadhan

Samadhan, being piloted in Koraput District in Orissa, is a joint initiative of Collectorate of Koraput District,  Government of Orissa, the United Nations Millennium Campaign and civil society partners VSO India Trust and South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA), along with local media and civil society networks. Besides the ability to register and track a complaint through SMS, Samadhan's distinguishing features include geographical mapping of complaints making it possible to identify the location of the complaint and the ability to meaningfully analyze data and information to allow civil society organizations, the government and media to analyze and highlight systemic challenges in public service delivery. Since Samadhan is an open-access platform, information on complaints will be in the public domain and can be viewed easily and in a user-friendly manner. Samadhan will also be integrated with the government's existing grievance mechanisms for speedy redressal.

Visit Samadhan website.

View press coverage of Samadhan launch.

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