Anjali Bharadwaj is creating mechanisms for a transparent and responsive governance system. Through her performance-based “report cards”, Anjali holds representatives accountable and allows voters to make informed choices.
Anjali has leveraged the Right to Information Act to facilitate both mid-term and end-term report card exercises in Delhi for elected representatives. Working with communities in the city, (training, workshops, accountability) she has set up institutional mechanisms to encourage people’s participation such as ensuring there is an elected representative in every Ward. These combined efforts have allowed her to achieve her overarching goal of moving the community understanding on government transparency from informed engagement to meaningful action from officials.
Since 2009, Anjali has taken her report card exercise to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, besides working with groups and communities in Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. In 2013, Anjali published 120 councilors reports cards in the Hindustan Times. As a result of the complaints and the public hearing instigated by report card results, the Central Information Commission made two significant decisions. It ordered both the Delhi Government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to install boards in every ward of Delhi, displaying expenditure details of local area development funds of the MLA and Councillor of that area. This expansion of her report card system has popularized and inspired a demand for government accountability across India.
Today, Anjali is, with the organization National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), pushing for the passage of the Jan Lokpal bill, an anti-corruption bill that would among other things, guarantee citizens rights to investigation and address grievances. With increasing incidents of intimidation, Anjali advocated to protect the people who are getting threatened for using the rights available to them to ask for greater accountability. In response to her efforts, in May 2014, the Whistle Blowers Act was passed by Parliament, towards ensuring that RTI activists, and communities, across the board remained safe from threat and harm. She is now focusing on the Grievance Redressal bill through which she hopes to create a framework for a timely, transparent and proper system to address the grievances of citizens. Through partnerships with local media, leaders and legislators, Anjali is building awareness around the bill and inspiring other activists to join her in advocating for greater transparency, accessibility and accountability.
Note: This was updated in September,2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile.