Thursday, March 02, 2006

Transparency & active participation of the citizen

Transparency & active participation of the citizen is the core concept of public system

Objective of Transparency & active participation of the citizen

1. Help cities to work on the simplification of laws, rules and procedures within their purview that are easily intelligible to an average person.
2. Assist cities in the development of transparent public procurement processes.
3. Assist cities in holding wide consultations on city budgeting and planning including social and gender budgeting and auditing.
4. Prepare school textbooks that include and promote good civic sense in real terms.
5. Ensure regular audit of the accounts of local bodies.
6. Encourage public-private partnership through legislative and regulatory framework, public education, resource mobilization, good leadership and transparent processes-apply in municipal finance and development work.
7. Reducing municipality of authorities and roles by coordinating city development, integrated city development plans, development activities to involve local bodies.
8. The local bodies need to make public commitments of what services it will provide to the citizen’s as per entitlements, with clear stated information about standards and quality.
9. If the services are not provided there must be clear-cut grievance redressal process.
10. There should be right to information on all matters pertaining to local government.
11. Electoral reforms should be introduced at the local level
12. Transparent engagement of private sector
13. Citizen’s charter should be brought out by all local bodies. Standards of service should be specified.
14. Replication of good practices.

Formation of Local Area Citizens' Committees-

Citizens' participation through the involvement of Community Based Organisations and NGOs in improving the delivery of civic services and improving the urban environment has been encouraged by the M.C.G.M through the various mechanisms and schemes such as Advanced Locality Management (ALM); Dattak Vasti Yojana; Online Complaint Management System (OCMS); adoption of garden and footpaths; construction, operation and maintenance of toilets etc.

Under the ALM set-up local citizens' groups called ALMs interact with M.C.G.M officials once a month in the Ward office. The meetings are normally chaired by Asst. Municipal Commissioner of the concerned Ward and are attended by all Sectional Heads of the Ward. In order to ensure delivery and proper monitoring of quality civic services with the full participation of community, it has been found necessary to further decentralize the monitoring mechanism.

Based on the feedback about the urgent need to strengthen Citizens' participation with greater involvement of elected representatives and voluntary citizens' groups in the improvement of the urban environment and delivery of civic services at the local level, it has now been decided to create a de-centralized mechanism for regular interaction between Voluntary Citizens' Groups, representing a Beat of 3 -5 roads, elected Councilors and Municipal officials by forming Local Area Citizens' Committees taking each Councilor Ward as a unit. This will help to develop proper understanding and co-ordination between Voluntary Citizens' Groups, elected Councilors and Municipal Officials for achieving timely and efficient delivery of municipal services and bringing about a better physical environment at the local level by creating awareness among citizens about their civic rights and responsibilities.

A Local Area Citizens' Committee can be formed at each local level to deal with the following subjects:
1. Cleanliness and Garbage Collection
2. Water Supply and Sanitation
3. Regulation of hawking
4. Safety of pedestrians and parking of vehicles
5. Maintenance of Roads, Footpath and Storm Water Drains, including installation and maintenance of street furniture and bus stops and proper regulation of digging and re-instatement of trenches excavated by utilities
6. Road side and public gardens
7. Disaster Management
8. Any other matter relating to public safety, public health and public amenities and decided by the Committee.

Example: Transparency & Active participation of the citizen

Civic Services And Alms (Advanced Locality Management)
AGNI started out by tackling civic services with the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) and citizen groups. Soon it was facilitating formation of Advanced Locality Management (ALM) groups. An ALM is the MCGM's own framework for citizen participation in civic work. It is meant to provide single window access to all services managed by the Ward Office.

Success stories are numerous eg drains in Kurla left open and uncleared for 30 years which were cleaned; encroachments in Wadala and elsewhere and bad traffic routing. Garbage clearance, water supply, the condition of roads and pavements and illegal building have also been addressed by AGNI JAAGs.

Clean & Green Mumbai
Concerned with the alarming rise in pollution levels, lack of cleanliness and the rapid disappearance of trees and open spaces in the city, AGNI collaborated with college and school students and the Times of India Group to take up Cleaning and Greening Mumbai.

The project began with a two-day workshop at Lonavala involving 150 College students and programme officers besides AGNI volunteers. A "Clean and Green Mumbai" week was conceived and launched at a mass meeting. Volunteer groups were set up in 11 Wards to spread awareness before a cleaning, greening and vermi-composting operation in and around Mumbai.

Swachchha Mumbai Abhiyaan
AGNI has been actively involved in formulating and implementating this ongoing program of the MCGM, launched on 15th August 2002.

A core group of senior MCGM officers and AGNI members formulated an action plan based on data about waste generation, collection and disposal. AGNI-JAAGs promoted community participation and media notice. AGNI and MCGM organised a sensitization workshop for civic staff and AGNI. Volunteers were mobilised by AGNI at Ward level to join MCGM 'Nuisance Detector' teams and monitor clearing of garbage. Information on garbage clearance timings, control room numbers etc was spread by AGNI volunteers, who also found sponsors for litterbins and security guards.

Girgaum Chowpatty Beach Project
AGNI - JAAG in D Ward helped evolve a plan to accommodate bhelpuri stall owners on Girgaum-Chowpatty beach after courts had held the area to be recreational and for citizens. Where were stall owners to go? AGNI participated in site visits, court hearings and numerous discussions with civic authorities. Architect and urban planner Rahul Mahrotra designed a solution. It has been implemented by a court-appointed committee on which AGNI is represented.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great site
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