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Public Record of Operations and Finance (PROOF) was launched in 2002 with the objective of creating a systematic structure of government performance reporting along the lines of the private sector. Four NGOs, Janaagraha, Public Affairs Centre (PAC), Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS) and Voices came together to spearhead the process. In the second year of the campaign, Akshara Foundation has joined as a partner to evolve a comprehensive performance measurement system for elementary education, in the PROOF in Education campaign.

The PROOF campaign is the first of its kind in India in getting the government to disclose its budget and be accountable to the citizens. PROOF in Education essentially seeks to make government schools those of first choice rather than last resort. Seven Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) schools have been selected in the pilot phase, and toolkits have been created to develop performance measures. Over 45 indicators have been identified for the Education Department covering the dimensions of Infrastructure, Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff, Scholastic Achievement, Community Involvement and Financials, and these have been benchmarked against the best in practice. An action plan for intervention is being executed to improve service delivery in the selected schools.

First on the list will be the improvement of toilets and equipping the 7 schools with better drinking water facilities. Teacher training sessions will be conducted by the BMP. Remedial education classes will be conducted for students as required, following their performance in baseline tests to be conducted by Akshara, and Akshara volunteers will coach, monitor and evaluate students till they are up to the Minimum Levels of Learning (MLL) prescribed by the government. Parent Teacher Associations will be formed in every school. It is hoped that gradually, these schools will become model schools. It is also believed that during the course of and at the end of the pilot study, and based on the data collection process, several recommendations for process re-engineering will be developed, that will in the long term greatly enhance the quality of education.

The PROOF campaign is based on the premise that in a well-functioning democracy, it is important for citizens to keep a check on government performance, so that they will be motivated to deliver better services. Education has for long been ignored in India. The PROOF in Education campaign aims to change this, with co-operation from the government, schools and the community.

PROOF in Education: Memorandum of Understanding signed in third quarter of 2003, action plan was executed from September 1, 2003 and is still underway.


BMP wins CRISIL Award for PROOF

CRISIL has instituted awards that recognize reform initiatives that local government bodies are undertaking to improve the urban landscape of the country.

The Bangalore Mahanagar Palike's (BMP) initiative is a pioneering effort towards greater transparency in public accounts and more efficient governance through full and accurate disclosure of its finances.The initiative, entitled 'Public Record of Operations and Finance' (PROOF), was undertaken in collabaration with Bangalore's prominent NGOs including Akshara Foundation.The dissemination of this information is facilitated through public discussions, where BMP officials present the financial performance to a gathering of citizens.

Since its inception, eight PROOF sessions have been held in the city.The system of presenting financial records for public security and debate has enhanced the confidence of people in the municipal body. By involving PROOF, which is a non-Government body, BMP has also introduced an element of independence. Disclosure of important financial information to citizens so far restricted only to the authorities has made BMP more accountable to its citizens.The initiative has thus served as an effective vigilance mechanism, wherein citizens keep a close watch on the functioning of the Corporation.

The initial results have earned wide appreciation from stakeholders in Bangalore as well as from the urban community. Concrete results, however, will be visible only in the long term. Nevertheless, the initiative has been chosen as a best practice in ensuring greater transparency and accountability.BMP is a deserving winner of the CRISIL Award for engaging with PROOF partners to disseminate information on its financial performance.

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