Controlling "Last-Mile" Corruption Through Open Governance

Seminar

Speaker(s)

Rajesh Veeraraghavan, UC Berkeley

Date and Time

November 21, 2013 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Availability

Open to the public.

No RSVP required

Location

Wallenberg Theater

FSI Contact

Kathleen Barcos


Abstract
To what extent can information and technology be used to eliminate government corruption? In this talk, I examine an ambitious "open governance" experiment by the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within a bureaucracy to reduce corruption. In this talk, I examine attempts of the state in achieving transparency through intra-state surveillance using technologies and by creating a hybrid state-civil society institution to involve beneficiaries to openly inspect formerly closed government records through a process of "social audits". While, acknowledging that endemic corruption that tends to happen in the local "last mile" of such schemes have reduced, I show how local bureaucrats and politicians also discovered ways to subvert these efforts of control. My work suggests that the future of such informational transparency government programs lies in recognizing that the move towards "openness" is more of a political project than a technological and bureaucratic one that needs wider participation from those it intends to benefit.

 Rajesh Veeraraghavan is a Ph.D. candidate at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Information. Prior to his doctoral work, he was an associate researcher at Microsoft Research, India, where his work focused on building appropriate technologies for agriculture. In his past, he worked as a software developer at Microsoft in the US for several years. He has volunteered for the non-profit Association for India's Development in the US for a decade. Veeraraghavan holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from Clemson University, Master's degree in Economics from Cleveland State University, and Bachelor's degrees in Economics and Management from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India.

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