Skip to Content

Is there citizens role in local governance?

up
251 users have liked.
Urban DevelopmentGovernance

Muralidhar Rao, Member, Praja, said that under the ambit of the Right to Information Act, citizens are allowed to visit the offices of city civic organisations and look into the files. He also adds that they can obtain photocopies of specific information. But he feels that there needs to be a citizen forum that will help organise a meeting between citizens across the city and the officials.

Source

This I think is the way to go. I think it is shameful to be "exploring" this concept or public participation in a so called democracy when the rest of the world has embraced public consultation as a part of governance.

I just fell off my chair laughing at the ignorance of the deputy mayor (same guy who has made sankey road widening his life mission) when he made this comment

 "We are open to citizen participation. In fact, we are planning an e-governance initiative where all project details will be uploaded on the internet for citizens to see," said S Harish, Deputy Mayor. He spoke of the Web Based Project Management System that has been revamped recently to help people keep track of various projects under BBMP

Either he doesnt know that the so called egovernance project has been rolled out 2 years ago or he is not aware how "revamped" the WGPMS really is. Because he hasnt seen it or even use it for his work. It is just a media showpiece. Maybe they thougt in the tech city everybody will sleep thru their nonsense doings.

Comments

psaram42's picture

RTI Vs Public participation

up
100 users have liked.

I would like to share my experience during my visit to DULT. During my conversation with Mr. Shailendra Singh on Road Standards, I heard him saying if public wants any information RTI is there. Why we should discuss with the public about our projects, or share our reports in soft copies.

Smt M Manjula an IAS officer is the Current commissioner of DULT. DULT has released a “foot path standard”. I could not get a hard [Xerox] copy. It was not possible for our friend Singh, to give me the soft copy ie CD, either.

Is RTI making government officials averse to discuss with general public about their projects?

psaram42's picture

Concept of public participation

up
111 users have liked.

This I think is the way to go. I think it is shameful to be "exploring" this concept or public participation in a so called democracy when the rest of the world has embraced public consultation as a part of governance. - IDS

I would like to remind IDS that Ours is a 3 tier democracy.

  1. Gram Panchayat / Wards
  2. Legislative Assembly
  3. Parliament

74th Constitutional Amendment Act provides for / mandates a local ward committee in City wards, as compared to a gram Panchayat in rural context. All local developmental work originates and is executed at level 1. The other 2 tiers are basically responsible for making required legislations, meaning they are the law makers. They naturally are responsible for conceiving and executing state and national level projects obviously. The same is true about law making and governance. 

Public consultation is there from the beginning. It is the so called public which is taking it lying low.

psaram42's picture

Ward Committee and Panchyati Raj

up
101 users have liked.

Panchayats have been the backbone of the Indian villages since the beginning of recorded history. Gandhiji, the father of the nation, in 1946 had aptly remarked that the Indian Independence must begin at the bottom and every village ought to be a Republic or Panchayat having powers. Gandhiji.s dream has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier Panchayati Raj system to ensure people.s participation in rural reconstruction. 

The recent 74th ammendment brings the concept into the (BBMP) wards of a  city (Bangalore) or metrpolice in line with the gram Panchayats. My earlier coment above Refers.

 

sanjayv's picture

The recent 74th amendment

up
95 users have liked.

PSA sir.  The 74th amendment was in 1992.  I think it is time to drop the adjective "recent" when referring to it.  19 years later, we (India as a whole and Bangalore) is still nowhere close to implementing it in spirit.  Notice that 19 years is almost 5 full terms for governments, if they last that long.

psaram42's picture

We the citizens are not up to the mark

up
105 users have liked.

Thanks Sanjay for pointing out my slip. However the point I was trying to make is about the structure of our democratic set up which is bottom up. People have a direct say with their corporater as far as local amenities and governance is concerned. The Corporaters in turn can influence the MLAs to address the larger issues and so on. In essence we the people have enough teeth in governance, once in every 5 years. I was only expressing my surprise at the atrocious question put by IDS.

Is there citizen’s role in local governance?

Answer is in the affirmative. 

idontspam's picture

citizens participation

up
97 users have liked.

 I was only expressing my surprise at the atrocious question put by IDS.

Tell me how many issues taken up by your corporator in the BBMP council has he tabled before the citizens? How many times has he come asking for inputs & suggestions on what citizens want in the area. How many times has he placed designs & plans before the residents asking for feedback?

Since you agree that you participate in governance, do define what constitutes participations. Outside of Praja, how have you participated in association with your local corporator (not her husband)? 

Also tell me how is the 74th amendment being implemented in your area? Do you have a ward comittee? How many times does it meet? Hw many decisions has it taken & what percentage of them have been implemented?

 

sanjayv's picture

Token local governance, yes

up
106 users have liked.

PSA sir... i concede your point that maybe people probably do not go to their corporator often enough.  In fact, I agree that most people do not participate in the existing avenues.  However, this can also partly mean that the existing options are poor.  

Do you remember the period where for years we had no corporators?  How many cities in India have regularly elected corporators? How empowered are they to take real decisions?

How financially independent are our local bodies?  What is the formal method for us citizens to impact anything in our ward?  How often is our opinion taken?  Is there a formal structure and process for citizens to provide their input?

We have a long way to go, and from that perspective, i agree with the question posed by IDS.  It is not an atrocious question,

psaram42's picture

IDS : I have never talked to the corporater of my ward54

up
98 users have liked.

 

Tell me how many issues taken up by your corporater in the BBMP council has he tabled before the citizens?

I have no idea, because I am not in the committee.

How many times has he come asking for inputs & suggestions on what citizens want in the area?

No Idea. But committee members should be alert. I hope they are

How many times has he placed designs & plans before the residents asking for feedback?

None? But the actual corporater does meet general public at her house I hope. I have met our MLA a couple of times. These have been discussed in praja by me fro time to time.

Since you agree that you participate in governance, do define what constitutes participations. Outside of Praja, how have you participated in association with your local corporater (not her husband)? 

I have once called the Husband of the corporater to my place.

Also tell me how is the 74th amendment being implemented in your area? Do you have a ward committee? How many times does it meet? How many decisions has it taken & what percentage of them have been implemented?

No idea. I am not a member of our ward committee

The other day your aborted meting with bbmp officials was a damper. The obvious conclusion:- we the praja get what we deserve.  

 

kbsyed61's picture

Transitioning from actvism state to enabling the change!

up
121 users have liked.

For a meaningful and effective governance, citizen participation is a must. But for meaningful citizen participation, it is a must that citizen should flag the issues, force the govt for recognition of the issues and then become agent or participator in actual change and implementation.

in past 2-3 decades there is a progress on the front of citizen's taking up the issues that impacts people specially the vulnerable. Agitation against Narmada Dam, is one example on national scene, protest against NICE in our backyard is another example.

I would like to focus on a local issue that has been discussed on PRAJA as well. Concerned citizens vehemently opposed the tree cutting on Jaymahal Road. After intense opposition authorities took cognizant of the matter and asked the leaders of the spearheading movement to come up with the alternatives. It is sad that till date no acceptable alternate solution has been provided.

Is anything wrong here? A careful analysis reveals that as in most cases, citizens, NGOs do not recognize the need or simply do not know when to switch from activist mode to enabling mode. Basically it is important to have an alternative that is rational, meaningful, doable, cost effective and most importantly inclusive in nature before issues of public importance is raised and taken up. Most concerned citizens end their participation with agitating and submitting their case. Expectation is that authorities knows all and will implement the change. Reality is authorities in most cases are blind to the viable alternatives and most cases illiterate in the matters. They need to be educated about the matter, its importance, what is wrong with their approach, what is a good approach and how to go about it. The reason for such illiteracy stems from many factors including absence of experienced and skillful people in govt agency and their recruitment methodology.

I have been associated with Praja since early 2008. In the company of many illustrate and knowledgeable, PRAJA has achieved a moderate success in raising the issues and also in bringing the desired changes. Take the example of Namma Railu and NMT bicycle-share projects, in contrast to the above example of Jaymahal Road.

The difference here is, both in Namma Railu and NMT projects, we have not only succeeded in getting the govt to acknowledge the issues but also helped them understand the changes that are needed. What is important to note here is, PRAJA members did not remained in "ACTIVISM" mode. When time came, challenged, switched into change enabling mode by working out the details of alternate solutions with facts and figures, technical details etc. One important aspect to be kept in mind is the importance of working relationship with govt agencies and officials. This is important because ultimately these are the very people who would be the executioners in the end. You can't always be in confrontational mode with these entities. Trust them, help them, in turn they will trust you and help you in your cause. I think that is the mantra that I have learned from these experiences.

One more important aspect that I have now acknowledge is we should be working to make the govt do the job efficiently not doing by ourselves. If we do govt works ourselves we are weakening the govt institutions. Public participation should be to strengthen the govt by partnering with it.

 

Praja.in comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!



about seo | blog