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About DAC

Decentralization Analysis Cell (DAC)

1. BACKGROUND
The Local Self Government Department (LSGD) of Government of Kerala has been implementing, “Kerala Local Government Service Delivery Project” (KLGSDP), with the objective of strengthening the institutional capacity of the local governments system in Kerala to deliver services and undertake basic administrative and governance functions effectively in a sustainable manner” with the support of the world bank. Direct beneficiaries of the project are the 978 GPs and 60 Municipalities in Kerala. The long term vision is that the systems introduced through this project must be made an integral part of the PRI’s fiscal framework with the support of state budget.

2. DECENTRALISATION ANALYSIS CELL (DAC)
Functions
Decentralisation Analysis Cell (DAC) envisaged under Component 3 of the project with the set objectives to: (a) collect, store, compile and report GP/Municipal level fiscal and service delivery data and (b) carry out policy advisory functions for the key clients including LSGD, Department of Finance, LGs, SFC, NGOs and other stake holders. Hence:

(i) The DAC has been engaging in setting up database of LSGs which encompasses basic information regarding LSGs and municipal profiles such as population, livelihood, employment, education, water and sanitation, employment, education, revenue, expenditures, physical assets and other vital statistics. DAC is also supposed to update the data, generate reports, undertake studies and impart policy suggestions for betterment of the LGs in regard to its fiscal, physical and service delivery performance

(ii) The DAC will have to carry out policy advisory functions for improvement of the fiscal and service delivery functions of LGs. It is presumed to take up independent analysis of performance of the intergovernmental and intra-governmental fiscal relations and service delivery systems and provide policy advice to GoK and the State Finance Commission (SFC) on fiscal and other key institutional issues such as property taxation, borrowing, intergovernmental transfers etc.). The DAC is expected to prepare annual fiscal report.

(iii) LSG Service Delivery Survey. As part of the KLGSD Project surveys have to be conducted to assess the trends on LSG service delivery performance and citizen’s satisfaction in the state. The survey will examine delivery trends statewide in sectors where LSGs and municipalities have responsibility, explore usage of basic services as well as awareness on LGs on planning and budget processes. The DAC will produce reports of its findings in the surveys, and will disseminate through the media and web.

3. Role of GIFT in DAC project
The Local Self Government Department of Government of Kerala entrusted GIFT to execute and implement the activities of DAC as described in Component 3of the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) and the Project Implementation Manual (PIM). Accordingly, DAC is housed at GIFT as per the terms of Government order vide G.O(Ms)No.2/2011/LSGD dated 01.01.2011. As part of the implementation of the KLGSDP, Project Management Unit (PMU) of KLGSDP and Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (GIFT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 1st June 2011. According to the terms of the MoU, DAC is under the overall governance structure and the administrative control of GIFT. However, a Steering Committee headed by LSGD comprising of Finance Department, GIFT, PMU and DAC (Director) will provide overall strategic oversight for the DAC and will approve its annual work plan. The DAC will submit its annual work plan to the PMU (Project Management Unit) which will report to the LGSD on DAC activities.
Whereas the Governing Body of GIFT held on 10.04.2012 had accorded sanction for providing necessary infrastructure at GIFT for accommodating the Decentralization Analysis Cell (DAC) utilizing the fund received for this purpose from PMU from time to time. The Governing Body of GIFT also authorized the Director, GIFT to carry out the activities of DAC as per the approved Action Plan of the project including recruitment of staff required for the project in association with the Project Management Unit (PMU).
Being a National Institute in the field of Public Finance and Taxation, GIFT over the period has attained adequate strength and expertise in the field of Research, Training, Consultancy and Publication with proven track record in the respective areas. GIFT has a pool of experts from sectors such as Public Finance and Taxation apart from its own core Faculty in Multi-disciplinary areas.

4. STAFFING PATTERN OF DAC.
(i) Earlier Position
DAC was in need of professional and administrative staff for its management, consolidation of knowledge, referral support and other knowledge services. According to the terms of original project design, its staffing would comprise a full time Director, a Deputy-Director (Data) and Deputy-Director (Policy Advisor), Computer Programmer, Service Delivery Specialist, Financial Management/ Procurement Specialist, Administrative Assistant, Research Analyst, and two Data Analysts. On behalf of DAC, the PMU had recruited the required staff for DAC. Out of the 9 manpower positions recruited by PMU vide G.O(Rt).No. 1528/12/LSGD dated 02.06.2012,G.O(Rt)No. 1638/12/LSGD/dated 16.06.2012, and G.O.(Rt)No.912/2012/TD dated 30.11.2012 only 7 persons joined in their respective posts. The post of Service Delivery Specialist and Administrative Assistant were vacant from the very beginning.

(ii) Present Position
On completion of one year service of the Deputy Director (Data), the Deputy Director (Policy Advisor), the Research Analyst and the Data Analyst were terminated as their service had not been satisfactory. The Procurement Specialist had resigned from job w.e.f. 01.05.2014. Now altogether, out of the nine sanctioned posts, Seven (7) posts remain vacant and only two persons remain to carry out the DAC functions. The Vacant positions are already notified for filling with some modifications in the nomenclature and ToR based on the past experience. The post of two Deputy Directors were re-designated as Chief (data & accounting practices) and Chief (research programs), the Service Delivery Specialist is also re-designated as `Research Associate` and the Research Analyst is re-designated as Research Assistant. At present, 12 posts are identified at DAC including Director and the two staff available on the basis of the work plan. Out of which 7 posts were already advertised for filling and in the post of the Chief (data & accounting practices), Dr Thomas Thoomkuzhy, Associate Professor, GIFT was appointed on deputation basis in compliance with the Mid-term Review decisions. The post of Chief (research programs) will be advertised after obtaining permission from PMU. Two Senior Consultants were appointed at DAC to bring out two study reports as required by the Mission w.e.f 17th Feb 2014. Altogether, it comes to 14 man-power positions at DAC during the year 2014-15 besides the temporary staff such as Attender-cum-Peon, Data Entry Operators, Field Survey Staff etc will be appointed on contract/daily wage basis as and when required for the proper functioning of DAC for which necessary provision has been made in the Annual Action Plan of DAC for the year 2014-15.

5. Mid-Term Review –Changes brought out in the functioning of the DAC.
In Mid-term Review, detailed discussion was held about the issues and steps to be taken to put on right track to achieve the set goals of the DAC. The bottlenecks were identified and suggestions were brought forth to make the DAC fully functional and get the best result on time. It was highlighted in the review meeting that the basic idea of placing the DAC at GIFT was to institutionalize and retain the cell as part of GIFT by enabling it to supply policy inputs for the strengthening of democratic decentralization. The outcome of the mid-term review meeting was that a new road map has been put forth to strengthen the functioning the DAC with the whole hearted co-operation and support of all the GIFT community. The decision taken by the World Bank Mission on the basis of the Mid-term Review meeting of DAC held on 03.02.2014 at PMU with regard to the scope of institutionalization of DAC at GIFT with the faculty support of GIFT is well appreciated in the faculty meeting held at GIFT on 09.04.25014. After a lengthy discussion on various aspects of the action plan as per Aid Memoire of Mid-Term Review, the GIFT faculty meeting arrived at the following decisions:

6. Institutionalisation of DAC at GIFT.
The DAC is to be able to deliver periodical policy briefs based on rigorous analysis of the data base and produce discussion papers and policy inputs for amplification of the decentralization process. Once it is proved its presence in the field, the cell can be retained and made part of GIFT as a permanent set up. Such integration is envisioned in the long run for the realization of the set objectives of formulation of the DAC. But this process has failed to take off owing to the ambiguities existing in the past regarding the role of GIFT faculty in DAC's functioning and its remuneration. These confusions were now resolved and the path for better integration was opened in the meeting by the World Bank Officials.The actions taken by GIFT in compliance with the decisions taken during the course of mid-term review in relation to the implementation of DAC project through the intervention of GIFT are as follows:

(i) GIFT had convened its Governing body under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble Minister for Finance, Law & Housing on 27th May 2014 and obtained permission/ approval of the Governing body in respect of the various actions taken by GIFT in the institutionalization process of DAC at GIFT.

(ii) The Governing body of GIFT held on 27.05.2014 had accorded permission to depute Dr.Thomas Joseph Thoomkuzhy, Associate Professor, Department of Commerce and Management, to work at DAC on full-time basis under deputation /Working arrangements w.e.f. 01.04.2014.

(iii) The GIFT had appointed 2 senior consultants as per approved ToR, viz. (i) Prof. M.A.Oommen, formerly Chairman, 4th State Finance Commission to conduct study on revenue and expenditure analysis of LSGs in Kerala and (ii) Prof.K. Pushpangadan, formerly Professor, Centre for Development Studies to conduct study on analysis of Service delivery status of LSGs in Kerala.The studies are in progress and a workshop is tentatively scheduled on 22.08.2014 to present the pilot study report of the respective studies.

(iv) As decided in mid-term review meeting, the GIFT, Director continues to serve as DAC, Director.

(v) As decided in Mid-term-review, GIFT faculty had proposed 4 independent research projects during year 2014, the gist of the said study proposals are given in the Action Plan of DAC annexed separately. The data collection in respect of such studies are in progress and a status report will be presented within one month and upon the approval of the Action Plan along with sanction of fund requested in the Action Plan.

(vi) On the basis of the decisions taken in the Mid-term Review meeting, the GIFT had submitted a detailed Action Plan of DAC for the year 2014-15 incorporating the studies viz. (i) Studies identified by the World Bank Mission, (ii) Independent Studies entrusted GIFT (iii) pilot studies proposed by GIFT, (iv) the studies proposed to be initiated by DAC on filling the vacant positions and (v). Studies identified for outsourcing. The budget proposed for carrying out the above identified studies would be worked out within the sanctioned limits as per the Project Implementation Manual (PIM) and incorporated in the Action Plan of DAC for the year 2014-15. The total budget as per the Action Plan 2014-15 is Rs. 245.87 lakhs under the following approved budgetary heads :

SL No. Particulers Amount
(a) Remuneration –DAC Rs. 70.97 lakhs
(b) Administrative Expenses Rs. 23.23 lakhs
(c) Research projects Rs. 96.05 lakhs
(d) Data collection &Analysis Rs. 8.01 lakhs
(e) Training & Workshops Rs. 7.61 lakhs
TOTAL Rs. 245.87 lakhs