Praja Foundation a non-partisan organisation working towards enabling accountable governance has released its report on state of civic services provided by Municipal Corporation of Delhi and State Government of Delhi through the Delhi Jal (Water) Board.
Three Municipal Corporations, State government, Delhi Jal Board, Central Government, LG (Lieutenant Governor), DDA (Delhi Development Authority) etc. are all responsible for the smooth functioning of Delhi. This multiplicity of organisations and Authorities and added to that a bitter political rivalry has been a complete Disaster as far has the Governance of this City is concerned. The outbreak of Dengue and Chikungunya and the recent ‘floods’ is a direct outcome of this, nobody is responsible and everybody is to blame.
Nitai Mehta, Managing Trustee, Praja Foundation says: “While the governing authorities of the city continue to battle over jurisdictions and are locked in a state of constant power struggle, it is the CITIZEN who suffers through it all.”
MilindMhaske, Project Director, Praja Foundation continues “An average citizen is mostly concerned with three things: (i) Efficient civic services; (ii) When he or she faces a problem with the service provided – then an easy to access grievance redressal system where he/she can register a complaint and get the problem resolved in prescribed time limit; (iii) Transparent and Accountable Authorities and Responsive Elected Representatives (ER).”
Take for example some of the ground realities in the city: While there were 151,118 complaints registered on issues relevant to Water Supply, only 179 issues have been raised by our ERs (Councillors in ward committees during 2014 & 2015 and MLAs on civic issues in 2015 sessions).
- On, Sewerage, 64,534 complaints were registered and only 114 issues were raised.
- On, Unauthorised constructions, 82,127 complaints were registered and only 532 issues were raised.
- On, Drainage chokes & blockages, 25,351 complaints were registered and only 146 issues were raised.
- On, Nuisance due to stray dogs, monkeys, etc., 40,005 complaints were registered and only 375 issues were raised.
- On, Mosquito nuisance & fogging, 13,529 complaints were registered and only 234 issues were raised.
Addressing citizens’ issues and actively trying to ensure effective solutions to those issues is “THE” job of an elected representative (ER). Ideally, a responsible ER would be looking at the data (citizens’ complaints) and raise relevant issues and deliberate this in the elected forum. ERs have at their disposal various instruments to ensure effective deliberation. ‘Ward committees’, is one such crucial instrument that is available to Municipal Councillors for initiating these deliberations on local civic issues for delivering subsequent effective governance. Similarly, the state assembly sessions are for MLAs.
Mhaske comments, “However, while ERs have clearly not been using the forum to its full potential, there is also a deeper issue here: the Municipal Corporation Delhi, State, and Central Government – Mayor, CM, and LG – all using the multiple layer of the system as a shield to pass blame on each other and shirk away from taking responsibility.”
Mehta concludes by adding, “So what we see today is a growing need to seriously consider a complete restructuring of the governance infrastructure in the city. To put simply, Delhi today needs citizen-centric simplified governance that is capable of addressing citizens’ concerns responsibly, transparently and efficiently. While the political leadership of the city has clearly shown a lack of maturity and initiative in addressing this issue till now, it would be in the best interest of the city’s citizens if its custodians start taking a collaborative effort in addressing the many issues relating to urban governance and proactively trying to simplify the citizens lives.”
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