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World Bank ICT in Sanitation World Bank ICT in Sanitation

Mainstreaming citizen feedback on service delivery using ICTs : findings and lessons from ICT-based feedback surveys on water supply and sanitation services in Indian cities

The water and sanitation sector in Indian cities is characterized by weak accountability processes and lack of customer orientation. The institutional focus of service providers tends to be on creating new assets, rather than delivery of services and performance efficiency. Moreover, in the absence of reliable service data, the planning processes that inform the creation of new assets are often not aligned with the needs and priorities of citizens. In 2009, the Service Level Benchmarks (SLB) program was introduced by the Government of India’s Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to strengthen the focus on service delivery. Under this program, service providers reportperformance on a standardized set of indicators for delivery of water supply, wastewater, solid waste management and storm-water drainage services. While the SLB data have gradually become an integral component of India’s urban reform formulations, the availability and quality of this data have tended to remain poor. It is also seen to reflect only the service providers’ point of view, not the citizens’ perspective on service delivery. In recent years, various social accountability tools and participation processes have also been introduced in India to strengthen pressures for improved public services and foster citizens’ involvement in planning processes. While these initiatives have helped strengthen the overall focus on service delivery, basic services such as water and sanitation have largely remained outside their purview. This report presents the findings, achievements and lessons that emerged from implementing the SLB-C initiative in Indian cities with varied contexts, and its subsequent use under a national urban program. It provides recommendations for future similar initiatives.