Mr. Gururaja Budhya welcomed all the members of Karnataka Social Watch and welcomed Mr. Jagadanand, one of the founders of National Social Watch-India and a former Information Commissioner, Odisha Information Commission.
Mr. Jagadanand while narrating the journey of National Social Watch process in India, said that watching the governance process began in a small and modest way (10 years ago) with a focus on Parliament, Bureaucracy, Judiciary and Local Self Governments. The initial response of the Parliament was not so encouraging, but slowly the work of National Social Watch started reflecting in speeches and writings (for ex, Mr. Somanath Chatterjee, Former Speaker). The Planning Commission of India collaborated with the National Social Watch in conducting consultation with civil society for the 12th plan. Presently about 15 states in India have Social Watch processes going on at different levels.
Mr. Jagadanand emphasized that checking the health of governance institutions is very important; the ideal situation would be to have a Social Watch process at very Panchayath and Municipality level. He stressed that Social Watch must not be NGO-Centric and not in a project mode. Mr. Jagadananda said that there are no dearth of social policies and progressive laws. Also one will observe that resource allocation in various government departments/ministries has gone up. So, it becomes important that Social Watch process must question the way things are being governed, he said. He also said that Social Watch must create questioning culture and active citizenship.
Mr. Jagadananda also shared a few state processes status and the specific activities planned. He also emphasized over – functioning of various legislative and parliamentary committees, and the way bills are passed in the assembly/ parliament; ideal way/ objective of civil society participation in the form of 'Panchayat Social Watch'; under spending, a major setback for many governmental committees/ establishments and observing the status of District Planning Committees.
Later there was a general discussion session, where participants interacted with Mr. Jagadananada.Mr. Vasudeva Sharma thanked Mr. Jagadananda and the participants.