About the Course

Public systems across sectors in India are inadequate and lack of accountability is a binding constraint. Weak technical and administrative capacity of public authorities act as an impediment in running a transparent, decentralised and well-functioning state.

‘Understanding State Capabilities’ places state capability at the front of this debate on governance and accountability. By underlining the capability gap in the governance structure, participants are equipped to understand the root causes of administrative failure on the ground. The course will take you  on a journey through India’s complex government system from the lens of decentralisation. You  will undertake a critical analysis of the two mechanics of government functioning- public administration and public finance, and finally evaluate your  own role as citizens in strengthening accountability.

The course draws on real examples from Accountability Initative’s own research work in sectors such as education, health, sanitation, nutrition from across India. Through a mix of presentations, videos, handouts, quizzes and interactive learning tools, you  will:

  • Build a nuanced understanding of government structures

  • Learn why state capability matters in service delivery implementation

  • Be able to assess weaknesses and gaps in service delivery implementation based on the foundation of your  understanding of state capability

  • Learn about the importance and relevance of social accountability

  • Be able to apply a systems thinking approach to building state capability at the frontline

Who should participate?

If you are a young professional in the development sector or a student interested in knowing more about the Indian state, this course is for you.

Format: The course is entirely online and delivered in English. It is self-paced.

Duration: Through the year.You will have access to the course for 2 months from the date of payment/access .

Effort: Approximately 20 hours (recommended: 4 hours a week for 5 weeks)

Certificate:You will receive a certificate from the Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research on  successful completion of the course.

Fee: This course is priced at Rs 9499 + GST. We are currently running a special early bird offer where the course is priced at Rs 6650+ GST. You can avail of this offer by enrolling for the course now!

For more details and queries, write to usc@accountabilityindia.org

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Module 0:Introduction

    • What is Understanding State Capabilities about?

    • Introduction to Government and Government Functioning

    • What does the government do?

  • 2

    Module 1:Decentralisation

    • What will you learn this week?

    • 1.1 Introduction to decentralisation

    • 1.2.1 Understanding Theory : Forms of Decentralisation

    • Review Quiz 1

    • 1.2.2 Understanding Theory: Assigning functions

    • 1.2.3 Understanding Theory: Deep Dive into Political and Fiscal Decentralisation

    • 1.2.4 Understanding Theory: Why Do We Need Multi-Level Governments?

    • Review Quiz 2

    • 1.3 Will Decentralisation Work? How Can it be Made to Work?

    • 1.4 How Can Decentralisation be Designed Better?

    • 1.5 Assigning Functions for Decentralisation

    • 1.6 India's Commitment to Decentralisation

    • Review Quiz 3

    • 1.7 Decentralised Structure of India

    • 1.8 Decentralisation in India: Reality Today and Way Forward (In Conversation with TR Raghunandan)

    • List of References

  • 3

    Week 2: Public Administration in India

    • What will you learn this week?

    • 2.1 Who are Bureaucrats and Why is it Important to Understand Them?

    • 2.2 Important Theoretical Concepts

    • Review Quiz 1

    • 2.3 The Structure of Public Administration in India

    • 2.4 Bureaucracy and Motivation

    • 2.4.1 What Motivates Bureaucrats to Join the Public Sector?

    • 2.4.2 What Motivates Bureaucrats on the Job?

    • 2.5 Recruitment and Capacity Building

    • 2.5.1 Recruitment and Capacity Building

    • Review Quiz 2

    • 2.6 Transfers in the Bureaucracy

    • AI Hacks: Engaging with the Bureaucracy

    • Review Quiz 3

    • 2.7 A Day in the Life of a Bureaucrat

    • 2.7.1 A Day in the Life of a Bureaucrat

    • AI Hacks: Engaging with the Bureaucracy

    • 2.8 Communication in the Bureaucracy

    • Review Quiz 4

    • 2.9 Complications in the Public Administrative Structure

    • 2.10 What are some of the key institutional challenges that the bureaucracy needs to address: TR Raghunandan Answers

    • 2.11 In Conversation with TR Raghunandan on the Indian Bureaucracy Today

    • 2.12 In Conversation with Yamini Aiyar on the 'Way Forward for the Indian Bureaucracy: Challenges and Reforms'

    • 2.13 Additional Reading: The Second Administrative Reforms Commission

    • List of References

  • 4

    Week 3:Modalities of Public Finance

    • What will you learn this week?

    • 3.1 Centre-State Fiscal Transfers in India: Where Does the Government Get its Money From?

    • 3.2 Centre-State Fiscal Transfers in India: How Does the Government Spend its Money?

    • Review Quiz 1

    • Why is Fiscal Federalism Important in India?

    • 3.3 Centre-State Fiscal Transfers in India: Institutional Set-Up

    • Activity: Imagine that You are the Finance Commission Chair!

    • 3.4 Centre-State Fiscal Transfers in India: Impact of COVID19

    • 3.5.1 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Theory vs Reality

    • Why is Fiscal Federalism Important in India? More Examples

    • 3.5.2 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Planning

    • Review Quiz 2

    • 3.5.3 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Releases

    • 3.5.4 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Expenditure

    • 3.5.5 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Reasons for Low Expenditure

    • 3.5.6 Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Can Governments Do Better?

    • Review Quiz 3

    • 3.6 Introduction to Budgets

    • 3.7 Why must You Look at Budgets?

    • 3.8 Key Terms and Processes in the Budget

    • Review Quiz 4

    • 3.9 Union and State Budget Processes

    • 3.10 Why do Budgets Matter to You?

    • 3.11 Challenges of Working with Budgets

    • Exercise: Reading the Budget

  • 5

    Week 4: Planning and Impact on Service Delivery

    • What will you learn in this section?

    • 4.1 Introduction to Planning

    • 4.2 History of Planning

    • Review Quiz 1

    • 4.3 Planning in the Era of the Planning Commission

    • 4.4A The Planning Process: GPDP

    • 4.4B The Planning process: Planning Under a Scheme

    • Review Quiz 2

    • 4.5 How does planning impact service delivery

    • 4.6 In Conversation with TR Raghunandan: Are there any examples of good planning?

    • 4.7 In Conversation with TR Raghunandan: What are some key challenges in the planning process?

    • 4.8 Impact on Service Delivery

    • Review Quiz 3

  • 6

    Week 5: Citizen Participation and Social Accountability

    • What will you learn in this section?

    • 5.1.1 Citizen Participation

    • 5.1.2 The Relationship between Citizens and State

    • 5. 2.1 What is Social Accountability?

    • 5.2.2 What is Social Accountability

    • 5.3 Social Accountability Movements: Examples from India and the World

    • 5.4 Social Accountability: The Story So Far

    • Review Quiz 1

    • 5.5.1 Social Accountability: The Story So Far (In Conversation with Nikhil Dey)

    • 5.5.2 Social Accountability: The Story So Far (In Conversation with Sowmya Kidambi)

    • 5.5.3 Social Accountability: The Story So Far (In Conversation with Avani Kapur)

    • 5.6 Doing Social Accountability Differently

    • Review Quiz 2

    • List of References

  • 7

    Signing Off

    • Congratulations!

    • Feedback Form: Let Us Know What You Thought

Registration and Fee

Step 1

Signing up for this course is a 2-step process. Register for the course using this form.

Registration and Fee

Step 2

This course is priced at Rs 9499 + GST. We are currently running a special early bird offer where the course is priced at Rs 6650+ GST. You can avail of this offer buy enrolling for the course now! If you are a student currently enrolled in a full-time study programme, write to us at usc@accountabilityindia.org with a valid student ID, to avail a further Rs 1500 discount.