At CEGIS, we believe that three fundamental principles should underpin effective governance. And we work with state governments to put these principles into practice across sectors.
Across sectors, state governments largely focus on input-based programme implementation instead of improving outcomes. This is partly because there simply is a lack of accurate, regular and representative data on outcomes or beneficiary experience (especially in core sectors like education and health). CEGIS helps state governments in not just collecting this type of data but also incorporating this data into government goal-setting, performance monitoring and general functioning.
High-performing organisations give autonomy to frontline staff and managers on how to do their job - but hold them accountable to outcomes. Yet many state governments do the opposite: micro-managing officials on process, with no accountability for outcomes. CEGIS aims to transform the organisational culture of state governments by using data from high-quality outcome measurement for goal setting and accountability of workers.
Across India, the traditional solution to ailing public services and programmes has been greater spending. Yet research has shown that simply spending more on sectors like education and health does not necessarily improve learning or health outcomes. And given limited resources, this ineffective expenditure is costly. CEGIS works with state governments to both improve their quality of public expenditure and mobilise revenues. We help governments raise revenues without hurting economic activity while allocating funds in a way that rewards departments for performance, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
State and Markets
While most services are largely market driven, there is limited State capacity to manage their market interfaces. Governments have three distinct roles in the service delivery ecosystem – policy, provision and regulation. While Governments have traditionally focused more on the “provision” function, a combination of fiscal constraints, efficiency differential and incentive mismatches make it important for the State to engage with non-State actors (both for and not for profit) through appropriate models. CEGIS supports Governments in improving capacities for such engagement on public procurement, regulation and policy margins. This will help States in developing service delivery ecosystems in view of both market and government (in)efficiencies.
These principles can and should be applied across a broad range of government departments and sectors - but we believe they will be especially powerful when applied to these sectors:
Better education is the foundation of development. Yet across India, despite significant expenditure, states have struggled to improve learning outcomes of children. At CEGIS, we work with state governments to improve learning outcomes through outcome measurement, personnel management and strategic budgeting. In practice, this could mean helping a state education department invest in a measurement tool that captures children’s learning outcomes across the state and then use this data to guide personnel management and public expenditure.
Like education, nutrition is a foundational element of development. And like with education, Indian states fare poorly in delivering essential nutrition to its children. CEGIS can support states to improve nutrition outcomes by strengthening the delivery of key nutrition programmes. For instance, one immediate application of outcome measurement in nutrition could be performance-linked pay where frontline workers (e.g. Angwanwadi workers) are paid based on their productivity (measured through nutrition outcomes).
Jobs, Investment and Productivity
Economic growth is the engine for development. To help state governments spur economic growth in their states, CEGIS will work with state governments to implement policies that create jobs, attract investment and boost productivity. This could involve a data collection exercise that identifies the constraints facing firms at the district-level complemented with personnel policy that encourages district industrial officers to ease these constraints.