About Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Jagdeep S. Chhokar was a professor (teacher, trainer, researcher, and advisor) of Management and Organisational Behaviour at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, from 1985 till November 2006, when he retired after reaching the mandatory age of superannuation. He is also a citizen-activist for improving democracy and governance in the country; a bird watcher and conservationist; and a trained lawyer. Before becoming a professor he was an engineer-manager with the Indian Railways, and worked as an international marketing manager for four years.

He is one of the founding members of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR, http://www.adrindia.org).

His educational qualifications are LL.B. (2005); Ph.D. (1983), MBA (1977), Grad. Mech. Engg. (1967); Grad. Prod. Engg. (1967).

He has taught in several countries including Australia, France, Japan, and the US. His professional interests cover all aspects of organisational functioning, cross-cultural management; international marketing; international management; international business; human resource management; business strategy and policy; management in government, and in public systems/sector; and industrial and occupational safety.  His broader interests include electoral and political reforms, informed choice (freedom of information), world affairs, and ornithology (bird watching).

His research has appeared in several international journals. He has also contributed chapters to edited books and has written several teaching cases.  His writing has also appeared in the business and popular press. He is the lead editor of a volume titled Culture and leadership across the world:  The GLOBE Book of in-depth studies of 25 societies, brought out by the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research Programme, and published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, N.J. (now Routledge/Psychology Press), in 2007.

You can learn more about him by visiting his home page at http://jchhokar.googlepages.com

He also maintains another blog at

http://whither-indian-democracy.blogspot.com/


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5 Responses to “About Jagdeep S. Chhokar”

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Your presentation at ” Freedom from Corruption Summit” on 27.4.2011 was outstanding. The next question to be addressed is what can a citizen like you and me do about eradicating all-pervasive corruption ?

Social Audit is one practical field, where every citizen can participate. RTI Act enables every citizen to access public records- social audit is the next logical step.

There is need to render professional support to citizens to enable right questions to be raised, for the sake of accountability of public authorities.

Thank you for your comment, Dhirendra. I believe every citizen can certainly make a difference…it depends on one’s desire and capability, and what one considers difference. Even helping a neighbour in what might be considered a small way is actually making a difference. And making large differences seems to take a long time, effort, and persistence. So, each one of us has to make a choice…as the saying goes, we should choose to fight the battles that we can win. On corruption, the first thing that comes to mind is that we should not indulge in it ourselves. Admittedly, the proportion of people who can afford not to indulge in it is not very high but at least they should desist from it, and not be seduced by avoiding minor discomforts such as standing in line to get a job done.

Yes, social audit is a very powerful technique and there are many success stories but the so-called vested interests are fighting that too. The sarpanches in Rajasthan in cahoots with the local politicians and patwaris etc. is a case in point. It is certainly worth replicating but large scale replication creates its own dynamics that one has to guard against.

About “professional support to citizens” for raising the “right questions”, a former judge of the US Supreme Court said, “No office in the land is more important than that of being a citizen.” Each citizen has to discharge that “most important” office to the best of his/her abilities. The risk in “professional support” is that this “support” has the potential of becoming a vested interest itself. Citizens, therefore, need to empower themselves, and in whatever way they find do-able. Yes, public spirited individuals can and must help but that is best left to individual initiative.

Thank you, again, Dhirendra. This is very useful. I can only highlight the excerpt “Are improvements needed in quality of disclosure by each public authority under Section 4 of RTI Act, for transparency and effective public accountability?” The compliance with the proactive disclosure required under Section 4 of the RTI Act is actually pathetic. More active RTI folks can tell us more about it.

While doubts have been raised about the integrity of civil society actors also in the aftermath of the Jantar Mantar episode involving Anna Hazare and the Jan Lokpal Bill, the only answer is transparency…even in the workings of civil society.

Your presentation at Freedom from Corruption Summit was brilliant,Sir. The next issue to be considered is whether a citizen like you and me can make a difference? Enabled by RTI Act, every citizen can access public records. Therefore, Social Audit at large scale is the next logical step. There are number of success stories of Social Audit, that need to be replicated.

These issues were also emphasized in Speech by Shri Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India on 18.3.2011 on “Corruption free Governance” [ available as CAG Speech at http://www.cag.gov.in/ ] ,extracts reproduced below:

“It is indeed most ironical that whilst on the one hand India is poised to be one of the most robust economies in the world and prepares to be counted as a super power, the quality of our governance has fallen to levels to which I have just drawn attention. All of you distinguished invitees today would agree with me that the issue of corruption has been addressed on the basic premise that governments are designed, interested, determined and in fact ought to be fighting it in our society. However, I place the proposition before you that time has come when we need to recognize the fact that this mindset has failed us. If we have to fight corruption we need to look elsewhere. I wish to place before you the proposition for the participation of civil society in Government programmes and how such participation is critically linked to good governance and effective delivery of Government services. I also wish to add how public oversight of such delivery channels would add value and not hinder the process of delivery. “

“In the vein of public participation I would also like to show how social audit can improve the processes of Government spending and thereby increase accountability. In this context, I advocate a major paradigm shift – a shift from the old paradigm of Government action and civil society inaction, to one wherein the ultimate stakeholder, which is civil society at large, takes on to itself, the responsibility of cleansing the quality of governance.”

Issues for consideration

There are several practical and administrative issues in effective Social Audit and some of them are highlighted below:

i. What are the professional implications of the “paradigm shift”, where Social Audit can supplements audit by C&AG? What are the vital areas of public expenditure beyond the reach of C&AG, where Social Audit can fill in a gap?

ii. What are the practical examples of Social Audit, based upon experiences since citizens access public records under RTI Act 2005? How can these examples be replicated at larger scale?

iii. Are improvements needed in quality of disclosure by each public authority under Section 4 of RTI Act, for transparency and effective public accountability? How can such mandatory disclosure trigger public scrutiny and audit? Can improved mandatory disclosure become a part of preventive vigilance measures at all levels of administration, including grass- root public authorities?

iv. There is Chapter on Social Audit in NREGA, that has triggered public participation in several states and there are well-documented cases regarding gains from Social Audit. There is need to study the practical achievements of Social Audit of NREGA. The problems in implementing Social Audit at ground level have also become evident and there is need for finding administration solutions to improve its effectiveness.

v. Is it desirable to frame guidelines identical to the chapter on Social Audit for all activities of Government, similar to Social Audit Chapter of NREGA? Central Government should take initiatives to enable social audit by the beneficiaries of other Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Few flagship schemes, with heavy financial outlay, in current financial year are listed below:

Ø Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Rs 63,363 crore)

Ø Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Rs 87,844 Cr.)

Ø Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (Rs 60,573 Cr.)

Ø National Rural Health Mission (Rs 30,456 Cr.)

Ø Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Rs 18,217 Cr.)

Ø Integrated Child Development (Rs 12,733Cr.)

Ø Mid Day Meal Scheme (Rs 10,380 crore)

vi. How can the involvement of NGOs in Social Audit be promoted? Is there necessity of an institution to ensure action by concerned Government Department on the findings of Social Audit ? How can press and media help?

vii. What are guidelines for IA&AD about Social Audit and implement RTI Act? Can these be further improved for pro-active role of IA&AD in facilitating effective implementation?

viii. The Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) has emerged as a dominant concept in business, propelled by C.K Prahalad’s “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”. (http://www.oifc.in/Article/Innovation-in-Rural-India-Treasures-from-India's-Bottom-of-Pyramid.) This concept has the potential to impact the public administration system by democratic empowerment, effective decentralization and involving citizen’s participation for improved outcome from socio-economic development schemes. Social Audit by the beneficiaries of the development schemes would provide better assurance about achievement of intended outcomes. Recent events culminating in successful anti-corruption movement by Anna Hazare shows new resurgence of civil societies. Central and State Governments have to evolve effective measures for facilitating evolution of Social Audit; C&AG has to consider interventions by Indian Audit and Accounts Department for accelerating the process.

ix. Central Information Commission has issued directive for time-bound implementation of the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act, under the powers vested in it under Section 19(8)(a) of the RTI Act It has been clarified in December 2010 that “The institution of Transparency Officer is in fact an administrative arrangement for promotion of institutional transparency within the public authority, through proactive and effective implementation of the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005. These include effective record management, digitization of records, networking and incremental proactive disclosures.” Transparency Officer would also facilitate Social Audit , by improving the interface between Public authorities and citizens. There is need to consider professional needs of the Transparency Officers, to enable greater transparency in public authorities.

x. There is need to document replicable “success stories”, that indicate the existing state of professional evolution in Social Audit and efforts made to promote public participation for improving governance processes

xi. Synergy between Internal Audit and Social Audit is an unexplored area. Internal audit and controls can be strengthened by social audit, by providing a realistic feedback from the beneficiary of development schemes and other activities.


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