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Round Table on 74th CA, Inclusive & Participatory Governance for Bangalore: Opportunities & Challenges

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20 Feb 2010 09:30
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Key-note address by: Dr. A. Ravindra, IAS (Retd.), Urban Advisor to CM, GoK, Former Chief Secretary, GoK
Presided by: Prof. B. K. Chandrashekar, Former Chairperson, Karnataka Legislative Council will preside
Chief Guests: Sri Arvind Kejriwal, Social Activist & Magsaysay Award-Winner, Parivartan, New Delhi; Sri S. Krishna Kumar*, (Retd.) IAS, Former Advisor to Governor, GoK; Sri P. R. Ramesh, Former Mayor of Bangalore; Sri Ashwin Mahesh, Urban Research Strategist, GoK, & Member, ABIDe

Date: Saturday, 20th February 2010
Time: 9.30 to 5.00 PM
Venue: Shikshakara Sadana, District Office Road, Opposite Cauvery Bhavan, near Mysore Bank Circle, Bangalore 560002

Organised by: CIVIC Bangalore, #6, Kasturi Apts., 35/23 Langford Rd. Cross, Shanthinagar, Bangalore 560025 (Ph: 080-22110584, Telefax: 080-41144126, Contact: Kathyayini Chamaraj: 97318 17177, Email:, Website:

Muralidhar Rao


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interesting exchanges in the Hasiru Usiru Y-group

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- in response to a posting by CIVIC inviting members to the Round-Table

Leo Saldanha wrote:

Dear Kathyayini

It is good that CIVIC has taken this initiative of holding this round table.  However, there is a contradiction in this forum which I wish to bring to your attention, and also to the attention of thos involved in the drafting of the people's manifesto for BBMP elections.

The purpose of this round table (which by definition excludes everyone barring the speakers) is to discuss Constitutional 74th Amendment Act and its implications, in particular the formation of the MPC.  But this is sadly based on a power relationship created as that between experts and the others.

Then there is the issue that ABIDE members will teach us how to implement the Act, in fact formation of MPC, when in fact they are living examples of a corruption of the devolution of planning power process.

An even more disturbing factor is that CIVIC is organising this forum by privileging those who have blatantly worked against the meaningful implementation of the Act - ABIDE by illegally acting as a 'clearance' authority subverts the whole purpose of the Act.

That this is an initiative of CIVIC, a group I was part of for years, and which claims its basic rationale as being that of working towards the neutral implementation of 74th Amendment in letter and spirit is truly shocking, to say the least.

I can accept asking 'experts' to present their views, even if it is against the need for decentralisation.  That would only be part of the process of enjoying democracy fully. But to organise forums in which people who have principally acted in violation of the Act to identify "opportunities and challenges" for implemention of the NP Act is an altogether different matter.

BTW, you are aware many many groups and individuals have come together and called for shutting down ABIDE as being violative of the NP Act.  Should you not privilege them to share their opinions?  In this "round table"?  Surely, they would not have titles to claim advisory roles, strategic or otherwise.  But CIVIC's mandate is to ensure full and fair participatory rights of all in urban affairs, isn't it?

best regards,


Vinay Sreenivasa added:
Dear Kathyayini,

Its good to see CIVIC pushing for discussions on ward committees and MPC. you have been pushing for these in the peoples manifesto process also along with other friends and we need to continue to push for MPC and elected ward committe in each ward.

However in the current scenario, looks like we all have to push the government for elections first . We should also ask the esteemed urban advisors and strategists as to whether its a good 'strategy' for them to not have elections!

coming to the session, like Leo, I am also disappointed to see that CIVIC has deemed it fit to have ABIDe members as chairs and chief guests. In the first and only public consultation ABIDe held , when i asked one of their members (on the sidelines of the event) about ABIDe and its role after BBMP council was elected etc he got agitated and said both were seperate. then he mentioned that ABIDe was out to do good work and why i was opposing it. I said we oppose it because the means are not ok and he said , the ends matter and not the means. how can we discuss democracy and participation with people who dont care for the means?

at the second consultation of ABIDe which was for invited ppl only, one of our friends asked about the legitimacy of ABIDe and the MPC etc and was told that those were 'philosophical' matters! so how does one discuss democracy and participation with these people.

ABIDe has also come up with a namma bengalooru action plan with funding from a private foundation and then wants the government to adopt it and implement it.

in such a scenario, one wishes that you would not further legitimise ABIDe by having them chair sessions, have them as chief guests etc.

democracy is about people having the right to shape their lives, their city and country and being able to exercise that right. in the environment that the GoK and ABIDe have created, where they make plans and take policy decisions(for instance forcing BBMP to spend 3300 crores for 7 signal free corridors) and leave people with no space in decision making, one wonders about what is the use of talking to them about democracy?

please do share your thoughts on the same. also no offence intended here, nor claiming to have the 'right' view/standpoint etc, just sharing my personal disappointment here.



Kathyayini responded with:
Dear Leo / Vinay,

I appreciate your concerns, CIVIC being the pioneer and perhaps only CSO in Bangalore working for the full implementation of the 74th CA. The current decision-makers have been invited because Arvind Kejriwal was insistent that they should be present to hear the alternatives being debated and that he was not interested in merely making a presentation to those who may not have any power to implement or influence decisions.  We have also invited all the city MLAs of Bangalore, former mayors, interested former councillors, the heads of all political parties, and concerned officials to make it more respresentative.
We too hoped to have this discussion only after an elected BBMP council was in place.  But we decided to go ahead with the discussion (which had been postponed twice before), given the uncertainty regardin g elections despite the issue being before the court.  We thought that if the elections are indefinite, we should not lose the chance to at least influence the law-making, in case that is pushed in the meantime, which is not at all improbable.  We did not want to miss the bus.
That you have been invited to the Round Table means that you are as much part of it as the others whom we have specifically mentioned.  We deliberately called it a Round Table for that reason.  Also, as you will notice, we have called it a tentative programme schedule and we are still in the process of making it more balanced in terms of representation.  Your suggestions for the same are most welcome.  These are my thoughts for the time being.
With best regards,

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