JawabdehiAndolan, demanding Rajasthan State Accountability Bill wins Agami Prize 2022

Jaipur, December, 2022.

Agami Prize recognizes innovative ideas that serve justice. Ideas that are backed by entrepreneurs who are paving the way for more of us to participate in making justice. JawabdehiAndolan, advocated by a people’s collective SR Abhiyan Soochna for a State Accountability Bill from Rajasthan won the prestigious Shamnad Basheer Prize 2022 under Agami Prize 2022.

With over 30 lakhs for the taking, the Prize is known to build a strong network of innovators, entrepreneurs and changemakers in the field of law and justice. It offers a thriving platform for them to be recognised for their work and get access to resources and support.

In the 3nd edition of Agami Prize, the team reviewed 648 nominations and shortlisted 50 after an exhaustive research and interview process. 14 finalists were selected after another round of interviews with the founders / team members & field visits. The 14 finalists were then brought before a grand jury made up of eminent persons across India. After several rounds of analysis and interviews, the grand jury submitted its winners for this year’s Agami Prize 2022.

Members of the Grand Jury included:

  • ArunMaira – Former Member, Planning Commission of India
  • Vidya Shah – Executive Chairperson, Edelgive Foundation
  • Justice Gita Mittal – former Chief Justice of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court
  • Kailash Nadh – Co-Founder, CTO, Zerodha
  • Osama Manzar – Founder, Digital Empowerment Foundation

Talking about the Agami Prize, SachinMalhan, Co-Founder, Agami said, “The Agami Prize celebrates ideas that make justice more accessible, inclusive and effective by tackling well-known problems in legal and justice systems. We would like to congratulate and applaud all the participants and winners of Agami Prize 2022 for their innovative ideas which will enable the law & justice system in India. For the winners, while the prize money is certainly valuable, it’s more about the access to influencers, to mentors, and to opportunities to collaborate at a high level and make sectoral and policy changes that are just not possible individually.We are confident that these innovators and changemakers will radically reshape and reform the law & justice India, making justice accessible to all.”

In context to the ideas they were looking for, ArunMaira, former member of Planning Commission of India and former Chairman (India) of Boston Consulting Group said, “We were looking today for innovations in the design – not only of the products that people were selling or the service they are providing – but the design of the system together in which there are beneficiaries. We call them “beneficiaries”, but what if they could be the motif force for change itself. It is a free resource – that’s the one thing that we have – our own energy and passion to make change.”

The biennial Prize, conceived and first held in 2018, serves to support and catalyze such ideas in 2 categories – Shamnad Basheer Prize and Idea Prize.

The Shamnad Basheer Prize is awarded to two initiatives that are innovatively transforming our systems of law and justice. The Shamnad Basheer Prize for Agami Prize 2022 has been awarded to JawabdehiAndolan, advocated by a people’s collective SR Abhiyan Soochna and Indus Action founded by TarunCherukuri. Building on top of the work done by the movement with the Right to Information Act, 2005, JawabdehiAndolan is advocating for a new law in the State of Rajasthan demanding for institutionalized state accountability. The advocacy for the law has resulted in the Government publishing a draft law in October 2022 asking for public comments. Indus Action’s core idea lies in recognising that there is an imbalance between the number of schemes being made by the state and those fully being implemented to the citizens’ satisfaction. With an audacious goal to eventually reframe our collective framing and understanding of schemes and entitlements, they worked across 12 states to build state capacity to deliver schemes & entitlements, and CSO & citizen capacity to be changemakers and leaders.

Citizens are not aware of their basic rights and entitlements in India. What schemes and benefits are eligible for, how can they claim them, and need to repeatedly navigate extreme hurdles for enforcing their rights. JawabdehiAndolan started asking: why isn’t the onus on the government to do their job? Why is there no process to enforce accountability of the state and its functionaries? And how do we now get them to carry out their mandate – do their job? That is how the Jawabdehi (Accountability) Andolan (Movement) began in the State of Rajasthan. The advocacy of JawabdehiAndolan has resulted in a commitment from the Government of Rajasthan and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to pass an accountability law. In October 2022, the Government put out a draft law in the public domain asking for comments. The movement has started reaching out to citizens to submit informed responses so that a strong and effective accountability law is passed and implemented. The movement intends to press for it not only till it is passed, but also to work towards ensuring effective implementation.