Direct democracy dobara in Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party is all set for its second tryst with people’s participation in budget spending. Will it receive Delhi’s support this time?

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | May 6, 2016 | New Delhi


#Arvind Kejriwal   #people's budget   #mohalla sabha   #AAP   #Aam Aadmi Party  
Matiala MLA Gulab Singh at one of the  mohalla sabhas in west Delhi in 2015
Matiala MLA Gulab Singh at one of the mohalla sabhas in west Delhi in 2015

Installation of CCTV cameras. Setting up of a library. Putting up streetlights. Setting up of Mother Dairy booths. Opening of dispensaries.
 
These were some of the basic demands that had emerged when the Delhi government last year went to the people to hear from them their needs through mohalla sabhas ahead of the state budget. 
 
It was the first participatory budget-making exercise introduced to bring governance closer to people. Through this innovative concept, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government aimed to provide a platform to people to interact directly with the authorities and demand their rights.
 
The ‘janta ka budget’ exercise was conducted on a pilot basis across 11 constituencies in April 2015. For each of these constituencies '20 crore was allotted, which came to '50 lakh for each mohalla, with an average of 40 mohallas per constituency. In the process, citizens were asked to vote for development work they wanted the government to undertake in their areas. 
 
After the entire process of mohalla sabha, the expenditure estimates for the civil work was made by the district magistrate’s (DM) office with the help of the engineering wing of PWD. Most of the demands made by people in various sabhas, like the opening of a dispensary or repairing or installing street lights, were covered under the existing schemes. But for many, like installation of CCTV cameras, there was no existing scheme which could cover it. Also, people were told that they can monitor the progress of a project and lodge their complaints at the DM’s office in case of a grievance. 
 
Common people came up with problems affecting their day-to-day lives. This was the first time when the government reached out to people, involving them directly in the budget-making process. Earlier, it was the DM who alone decided which works had to be undertaken and what were the priorities of the area. In some cases only a fraction of the budget was used to meet most of the demands of the citizens. 
 
Yet, the exercise last year received only a lukewarm response. Some blame it on lack of mobilisation at short notice and lack of awareness, while some believe that it was an experiment which was bound to fail. 
 
 
Learning lessons from the last year’s pilot project, the AAP government has introduced several changes in this year’s mohalla sabhas and expects a lot more participation from people. This year, all the 70 constituencies will hold mohalla sabhas, enabling people to have a say on what civic projects are undertaken in their areas. All the departments have been directed to appoint nodal officers for each mohalla sabha. Each sabha will cover four polling booths, on an average covering a population of 4,500. This year the government has allocated '350 crore under the Swaraj Nidhi Yojna, covering 2,969 mohalla sabhas across the national capital.

jasleen@governancenow.com

(The article appears in May 1-15, 2016 edition of Governance Now)

Comments

 

Other News

Fewer and fewer parliament sittings

The winter session of parliament this year is going to be from December 15 to January 5, which will result in fewer sittings and impact legislative productivity. When parliament meets for a fewer days, it is bound to have an adverse impact on the work. The parliamentarians do get to spend mo

Indians most affected by global internet policies: Aruna Sundararajan

 People in India are most affected by global internet policies, said secretary, department of telecommunications, Aruna Sundararajan. Flagging the challenges of national governance, Sundararajan said on social media India has the largest number of users.   

Three killed as train derails in UP

Three passengers were killed and around a dozen sustained grievous injuries after nine coaches of Vasco Da Gama-Patna express derailed near Manikpur railway station in Uttar Pradesh on Friday morning. Similarly, 14 wagons of a goods train also jumped off the track near Cuttack in Odisha. 

Should Patidars of Gujarat be given reservation?

Should Patidars of Gujarat be given reservation?

Job market is currently experiencing structural change: Nathan

SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India spoke to Praggya Guptaa about the current job market situation and the upcoming opportunities in India. How would you assess the job market situation in India? If you look at the economy today

Are we seriously fighting malnutrition?

It did not surprise me when the India: health of the nation’s states, the India state-level disease burden initiative report released recently reported malnutrition the prime risk factor driving the most deaths and disability in Madhya Pradesh. Even in 1990 malnutrition was the frontrunner and after



Video

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter