Tackling poverty by improving governance

Supporting the Government of India in implementing capacity building initiatives for the benefit of poor and vulnerable groups

A third of the world’s poorest people live in India amongst a population of some 1.3 billion. Much of the international aid India has received historically has now been scaled back as a result of a number of years of strong economic growth, however poverty remains pervasive and so efforts to develop Government of India capacity to help the poor are still important.

We were asked by the Department for International Development to provide technical expertise to the Indian Government, following the announcement of the 10th National Plan. Over a 6 year period, we implemented a £7 million programme to enhance capacity and support the implementation of pro-poor reforms.

The Adam Smith International team worked closely with the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel to improve public administration and service delivery. We developed a number of innovative schemes to improve public service delivery for the poorest and most vulnerable, including strengthening agriculture support to farmers, creating a virtual classroom for disadvantaged students, delivering mobile computer labs for primary school students and enhancing poverty alleviation schemes.

As part of the project, at the Federal level in India, we also helped develop a Citizen’s Charter for all income taxpayers and supported the establishment of Taxpayer Service Centres across all income tax departments through a quality management system. This system is now being piloted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in the Income Tax Department in Mumbai and Udaipur. We also helped improve and clarify aspects of tax supervision and regulation and provided an environment which is more conducive to, and supportive of, appeals and related action. At the state level we supported the Central Taxation Departments of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa States with the introduction of VAT, with a particular focus on the development of IT systems to support VAT.

Our technical assistance successfully increased the capacity of the Government to deliver greater levels of public services to the poor, which has ultimately contributed to the reduction in poverty in India, both during the project implementation period and beyond.