History

YEAR

CONTEXT & INTERVENTION

WORK/IMPACT

1992-95

Creating platforms for citizen engagement on 74thCAA - The 74th CAA was enacted in 1992. It required all state governments to pass conformity legislation before 1st June 1994. CIVIC suggested consultation with a wider section of people before giving effect to the legislation.

The Government of Karnataka agreed and funded a historic and pioneering meeting on 18 December 1993. Citizens of Bangalore from all walks of life met and discussed each of the clauses of the 74th CAA. Comprehensive recommendations were made by them to give effect to the spirit of the 74th CAA.

 

A ‘Public Hearing on the Nagarapalika Act' was later organised by CIVIC in March 1994, where the public endorsed most of the recommendations suggested by CIVIC.

1995-99

Advocacy for framing rules and constituting wards committees - After the municipal elections in November 2001, wards committees were NOT set up in Bangalore.

 

 

 

CIVIC worked continuously with civic groups during the framing of Rules under the Act and made recommendations to the Government. Rules were framed in 1996. CIVIC worked towards the effective implementation of the Act and Rules, especially the formation of wards committees. It wasarst time in Karnataka in the year 1999, after a delay of almost three years after framing of the Rules.

CIVIC worked with Residents' Welfare Associations to nominate their own candidates to wards committee members, created awareness about these committees among civic groups and enthused them to interact with them for getting better governance at local levels.

2003

Advocacy for setting up ward committees - After the municipal elections in November 2001, wards committees were NOT set up in Bangalore.

 

CIVIC petitioned the Petitions Committees of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Council on this delay. It was only then that wards committees were set up again in July 2003, after a delay of one and half years.

2002-06

Action research to improve implementation - Study (cross sectional - 2003 and longitudinal 03-06) on functioning of wards committees.

CIVIC did a detailed study of the functioning of the wards committees in Bangalore (that functioned between 1999 and 2001) in 2002 with the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, as part of a study in four states. The report of the findings was presented to the Urban Development Department of Karnataka and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. It showed that the formation of ward committees in Bangalore had failed to fulfill the spirit of the 74th CA.

The Right to Information (RTI) Act was used in the 2006 study to get retrospective data on the wards committees. The hard data which was difficult to access showed that the functioning of ward committees had not improved but rather had deteriorated.

2006

Building citizens' support for implementation of 74th CAA in its true spirit - Lack of mobilized citizenry pressing for effective implementation

CIVIC evolved a "Citizens' Charter of Demands on Urban Decentralisation" with a network of organizations. The charter called for greater devolution of powers through changes to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations' Amendment Act and Ward Committee Rules, setting up of the Metropolitan Planning Committee and one ward committee per ward with directly elected members. The charter was presented to His Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, Mr. T.N. Chaturvedi on 12th October 2006, which was followed by a press conference.

2007-2008

Engaging citizens in participatory budgeting - Each year, BMP (now BBMP) in association with CIVIC, conducts a one-time, pre-budget, participatory session with the public to elicit their views and suggestions on the budget.

Grants under 18% Special Component Plan meant for SC/STs were underutilized or mis-utilised.

 

In 2007, CIVIC, along with Citizens' Action Forum (CAF) presented a unique alternative Citizens' Budget (the first of its kind in the country) for BBMP. Instead of merely submitting demands, CIVIC and CAF prepared an ideal budget from the citizens' perspective with actual budget figures to reflect the aspirations of the citizens.

 

Allocation under the 18% SC/ST Special Component Plan which was being unutilized or mis-utilised in BBMP has been tracked by using RTI. CIVIC involved Dalit groups to conduct ward-level exercises in three wards to draw up their list of needs. A city-level meet with Dalit groups was organized to submit recommendations on the use of the 18% grants for 2008-09. As a result, the allocation under this has been increased from Rs. 56 crore in 07-08 to Rs. 220 crore in 08-09 in BBMP.

2007-08

Advocacy for governance reforms - The State government set up an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Kasturirangan, Rajya Sabha MP, to make recommendations on governance of the Bangalore Metropolitan Area and BBMP and the development of a new BBMP Act.

CIVIC was invited to make a presentation to the Expert Committee on how "Transparency, accountability and people's participation" could be built into the new governance structure of the BBMP.

In April 2008 the Expert Committee submitted its report to the government. Most of CIVIC's recommendations, notably one ward committee per ward with direct election of members and formation of a Metropolitan Planning Committee are prominently recommended by the committee.

July 2007

Advocacy for the setting up of an MPC for Bangalore - After 15 years of the passage of the 74th CAA the MPC has not been set up in Bangalore and this is a gross Constitutional violation. Bureaucrats expressed lack of clarity on how to go about constituting an MPC for Bangalore.

CIVIC organized a round-table discussion with all stakeholders. Kolkata being the only city with an Act and Rules on the MPC and a functioning body, the Secretary of the Kolkata MPC was invited to share his insights on its constitution and functioning. The report was submitted to the Kasturirangan Committee. Formation of MPC figures very prominently in the report. It is highly likely that it will be constituted in the near future.

2006-07

Critiquing JNNURM, empowering citizens to intervene and advocating policy changes - In December 2005, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched by the Centre and Bangalore was one of the chosen cities. JNNURM is set to change the course of growth in Bangalore.

CIVIC did an analysis of the JNNURM with its likely implications and brought out a position paper on it in early 2006.

CIVIC was invited by the JNNURM Technical Advisory Group to an NGOs' consultation on JNNURM at the Ministry of Urban Development, New Delhi, in April 2006, where CIVIC strongly presented its views.

A Charter of Demands on changes to the JNNURM was evolved with RWAs and presented to the nodal agency, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development & Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) at a public meeting in September 2006.

CIVIC along with INHAF conducted a two-day national conference on JNNURM at Bangalore, which was attended by the Mission Director-JNNURM. A set of recommendations was drawn up which has been presented to both the Ministries of Urban Development and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation at the Centre.

2006-08

Empowering citizens' groups to participate in local governance - lack of awareness among citizens on 74th CAA.

CIVIC has worked in 10 wards with RWAs in training them on 74th CAA and RTI. A guidebook ‘Power to the People' has been published for the people to understand the 74th CAA. CIVIC has conducted Grievance Redressal Melas (GRMs) with service providers in association with RWAs at ward level. It has organized panel discussions and public debates on various issues impacting the city - traffic and pollution, land acquisition and displacement, waste management, water, etc. Members of RWAs have used RTI vigorously to keep a tab on the building bye-laws, programme of works, expenditure and quality of work in their respective wards.

2006-08

Empowering urban poor with information

CIVIC worked with NGOs working in slums of Bangalore in taking RTI to slum inhabitants. A "Guidebook on RTI for the Urban Poor" and "A Compendium of Government Schemes for the Marginalized" have been published and distributed.

2007

Social audit of services to the urban poor

Grievance Redressal Melas and public hearings with service providers were organised. Slum dwellers have started using the RTI effectively.

A Few notable impacts: One PDS shop owner was fined Rs.2500 and PDS shops in and around Rajendra Nagara slum have started opening regularly now. Regular fees are being charged in Austin Town Maternity Hospital and bribe-taking is avoided by the staff of the hospital. Water in a tanker is now supplied to Chamundinagar slum where water connection was not available though the slum was notified four years ago. After the GRM with Karnataka Slum Clearance Board in April 2008, identity cards are being issued now to slum-dwellers.

2008

Electoral reforms - facilitating change from vote-bank to issue-based elections

Extensive analysis was carried out by CIVIC on the eve of the Karnataka Assembly elections in May 2008 to point out the nature of errors in the electoral rolls. Based on these findings, several citizens' groups have given reports on the structural errors in their ward electoral rolls, which have been presented to the Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi, the CEO-Karnataka, and the District Electoral Officer of BBMP. Based on the reports, a pilot study has been initiated in a ward to implement the suggestions of CIVIC on the electoral rolls which will later be implemented across the State. Many ward-level face-to-face interactions between citizens and candidates from all parties were conducted before the Assembly elections, where citizens presented their charters and manifestos and candidates responded to them to bring about a shift from vote-bank to issue-based elections.

June 2008

Creating data-base on urban poor - Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the ULB realizes that the services to the poor are not reaching them and asks CIVIC to conduct study

CIVIC with Janasahyog had done a study on slums in BMP area in 2003. Based on CIVIC's experience, BBMP asked CIVIC in May 2008 to do a pilot slum study into the status of services in BBMP slums to set the framework for a larger study of slums that is to be undertaken. The pilot study also tries to define who the poor are - as the BBMP itself is not sure who they are.

From 2009-to 2012

Addressing process and deliverables of governance: CIVIC is working in two Wards of BBMP - 55 and 60 and two urban poor neighborhoods, Deshyanagar in 60 and Rajeevgandhinagar in 55. In here CIVIC is studying the process of governance vis a vis transparency, accountability, avenue for grievance redresaal and peoples participation in service delivery. Local government (BBMP) services at ward level, Public Distribution System (Food), Water, Education, Health and Livelihood (SJSRY) at neighborhood level are the deliverables that are being studied and at the same time empowering the citizen to access them.

Anganwadi's sanctioned and operating in two months:

Rajeevgandinagar is a 40-year-old slum with 48 children under six years. Dehsyanagar is a 30-year-old slum with 68 children under six years. Both didn't have Anganwadi (Preschool center) all these years. Based on Supreme Court rulings, Anganwadis were applied for in Rajeevgandinagar in May 2010 and for Deshyanagar in July 2010 with Department of Women & Child. Nothing happened in 30 days in both cases. RTI was used to ask the norms, officer responsible and action taken report on the applications. Anganwadis have started at Rajeevgandinagar in July 2010 and in Dehsyanagar on September 2010 - both inside a month of RTI applications.

Residential Bridge Course sanctioned and Information Commission direction to state government to train all PIOs:

There are 30 out of school children of Deshyanagar. A residential bridge course under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was applied for in March 2010. Nothing happened in 30 days. RTI was used to ask the norms, officer responsible and action taken report on the applications. Course was sanctioned in July 2010, before first hearing, with a budget of Rs.10,000 per child per year.

Children of Rajeevgandinagar to government schools. Appeals to Karnataka Information Commission resulted in:

The commission taking serious note of PIOs inability to put out suo motu declarations and directed the state government to train all PIOs in the state on RTI.

The school bringing out a printed suo motu (being analysed for accuracy) declaration.

The Block Education Office, the state Education Department and the SSA coming out with suo motu declarations.

Slum Board pushed at keep a separate budget for transit housing for the poor families while construction of houses is on:

Under NURM-BSUP the Slum Board was constructing housing for 112 families of Dehsyanagar slum. The Slum Board pushed all the families to the pavement when the construction began in May 2009, without providing transit stay arrangement. A formal application was filed with Slum Board to provide interim stay arrangement and was followed up with RTI under section 7.1 (Life and liberty clause). Hearing was called for in a week's time in the Information Commission. Slum Board was pushed to keep aside a separate budget to provide Interim Stay Arrangement for all families in all its third phase onwards projects thus assuring a safe and sound interim stay for all urban poor families during construction period, which could range from 12-24 months.

PDS shops operate regularly and families get their entitlements:

Under section 4.1.b.ii the public authority puts out powers and duties of an officer. It was realized that unless there is a detailed job chart of activities that an officer needs to do in a month to fulfill his duties, the officer seldom is held responsible for not doing his duty. Food and Civil Supplies Department provided a detailed Job Chart of a Food Inspector. RTIs asking monthly reports filed by the officers based on the Job Chart have activated the entire sub division. Now all the PDS fair price shops open all days except Tuesdays and families get their entitlements. Using this detailed Job Chart, when RTIs were applied to other agencies, officers have started penning their own Job Charts - like doctors in PHCc/Maternity Home, Head masters in Schools. CIVIC is building cases to push the each department and the government to publish authenticated printed Job Charts for all officers at all levels.

Establishing grievance redressal platforms/mechanisms:

Through RTI all government orders/circulars on grievance redressal mechanism in PDS was obtained and again through RTI it was established that no order/circular was adhered to. As a result while hearing the second appeal, where all the six Deputy Directors in Bengaluru were asked to attend, the Commissioner directed all to come up with a time table for the next 6 months and conduct them without fail. Accordingly Food and Civil Supplies Department has issued a circular to all six Deputy Directors.

Similarly CIVIC has gathered from all service agencies the process involved in their respective offices, effectiveness and building cases to push each department to adopt a model system and through DPAR to entire state machinery.

Continuous interaction of Community Development Society's with the Government resulted in better implementation of SJSRY:

SJSRY, livelihood scheme being implemented in urban India to provide loans and subsidies to the urban poor to establish their own enterpreuner. Due to poor administration and prolonged process, the applicants were left for years waiting to receive loan and subsidy amount. Though Community Development Society's (CDS) were formed to look after the implementation, they were not able influence the department for better implementation of the scheme.

CIVIC, along with CDS by continuous interaction with the government tried to bring change in the process. Meeting with lead Bank manager, led to send the circular to all banks for timeframed scrutinisation of the application under the scheme and to reply the applicants with in specified timeframe. Now many aspired applicants are being able to get updates on the status of their applications and loans within time frame.

Participatry Budgeting process in two wards (Ward-55 and 60)

Under the model ward development plan, CIVIC developed a participatory budgeting process in two wards, namely, Devasandra- ward 55 and Sagayapuram- Ward 60. Participatory budgeting exercise involved both poor and well- off community of the ward. By having series of meeting CIVIC was able to sensitise well-being community with the urban poor issues. Series of street meetings resulted in preparation of 3 prioritised lists of the need of ward, where the people had allocated more money for development of urban poor area.

The participatory planning document was handed over to BBMP, local authority of Bangalore through the ward councillor. In the first stage 30% of people's plan of sagayapuram ward was included in the programme of work of BBMP.

State level seminar on 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (Nagarapalika Act) and Ward Committees in Karnataka: Status in 2010 and Future:

To have a look on the implementation of Nagarapalika Act in Karnataka and State level Seminar was organised by CIVIC on 5th January 2011. The seminar highlighted that the implementation of the Act was poor throughout Karnataka. The Seminar also focused on upcoming Community Participation Law and Bangalore Region Governance Bill. People of other districts opposed the inclusion of their area into the Bangalore Region as they felt that it would influence the whole life system of the area and increases urbanisation and industrialisation.

Community Pariticipation Law- 2011

Community Participation Bill was passed in Karnataka legislation as amendment to the KMC Act. Section 13A was amended as Chapter 3A- Area Sabha and Ward committees to provide space for public participation. However, there was no participation during framing the bill. The bill doesn’t have any link between area sabha and Ward committees. Both area sabha representative and ward committee members are nominated separately. Over all of these, the bill provides Veto power to the Councillor to have his final say which completely remove the participatory idea of the citizens in administration.

From 2012

Addressing process and deliverables of governance

CIVIC continuing it work with urban poor to facilitate the urban poor community for better access of services with respect to Food, Water, Health, Education and welfare schemes.

Rapid household survey has been conducted to identify eligible beneficiaries to access the services.

CIVIC In Action

                  ANNUAL REPORT                     Jan - Dec 2012

Activities  

Cash transfers in lieu of PDS refused by citizens – 7.2.12   

A state-level public hearing  was organised by CIVIC along with the Right to Food Campaign – Karnataka on 07.02.12  at the Institution of Agricultural Technologists.  Prior to that, a survey was conducted across several districts of Karnataka of more than 300 persons through a questionnaire developed by CIVIC on the functioning of ration shops, vigilance committees, ahara adalats (grievance redressal system), opinion on cash transfer scheme, etc. and its findings presented at the public hearing.  Vigilance Committees under PDS were found to be dysfunctional and grievance redressal meetings were not taking place.  Citizens had refused to accept cash in lieu of  foodgrains under PDS.  A presentation was also made summarising the Report of the Special Investigating Officer under the Lokayukta on PDS.  

 A report of the public hearing with the recommendations that emerged was prepared and  presented to Mr. Harish Gowda, Secretary, F&CS, who promised to go through the  recommendations.  

Comprehensive primary health care system for Bangalore demanded - 9.3.12   

A public hearing on “Health Systems in Bangalore” was conducted on 9.3.12 in collaboration with BBMP and Janaarogya Andolana –Karnataka, Bangalore District chapter at the Urban Health Research & Training Centre of BBMP.  The findings of the study done earlier by Ms N. Sudha of SPAD on the splintered health services in BBMP area, the lack of public health standards and a primary health care system in urban areas, the lack of sufficient manpower, equipment, medicines, etc., in BBMP area were highlighted.  Mr. Shankaralinge Gowda commended the public hearing as a good initiative. 

Subsequent to the public hearing on health and submission of its report and advocacy on the need for an urban primary health care system for Bangalore, higher-ups in government wrote to the Centre and now Bangalore has been chosen as the pilot city for the introduction of the National Urban Health Mission.  In a unique demonstration of pro-active governance, authorities engaged civil society intensively in consultations to come up with a framework for the National Urban Health Mission and CIVIC is proud to have been an active partner in these dialogues.

Banks asked to process loans under SJSRY without asking for surety - 17.03.12  

A city-level public hearing on the urban self-employment scheme, SJSRY, was held on 17.03.12 at SCM House in collaboration with the Federation of Community Development Societies under SJSRY of BBMP.  Prior to it, a survey was conducted to find out the number of applications for loans that had been submitted by women, the time it took for their disposal and the problems that were faced by them in getting the loans cleared.  The findings were shared with the State lead bank manager, Commissioner and Jt. Director of DMA, etc., while inviting them to the public hearing.  Mr. Venkatachalapathy, DC (Welfare) of BBMP, chaired the meeting and representatives of the Directorate of Municipal Administration which administers the Scheme and representatives of the State Lead Bank, were the chief guests.  The survey findings were much appreciated by the officials as it gave them statistical data on the effectiveness of the Scheme. Mr. Venkatachalapathi promised to call a meeting of all those concerned within a month of the public hearing and look into the recommendations.  Several changes have happened as a result of this advocacy:  no surety is being asked by bank managers and loans are being sanctioned within a timeframe.  

Exhaustive responsibilities given to SDMCs decried - 28.03.12 

A state-level public hearing on the functioning of School Development & Monitoring Committees (SDMCs) was held at SCM House on 28.03.12 in collaboration with Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO).  Prior to it, four divisional-level workshops were held across the state at which the opinions of SDMC members and NGOs working with them were collected through focus-group discussions.  The findings were presented at the public hearing.  The exhaustive role given to SDMCs as per the draft RTE rules was criticised.  Ms Nina Nayak, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), chaired the meeting.  Mr. Jiddimani, from the Rural Development & Panchayat Raj was present to represent the state.  He concurred with the misgivings expressed by the gathering about the provisions to send notices to SDMCs and haul them up for violations foreseen in the draft Rules and promised to convey these to the Secretary, Primary & Education Dept.  .  SDMC members from across the State and NGOs were present.

Most public authorities do poorly in suo motu disclosures under RTI - 28.4.12 

Seven years after the passage of the RTI Act, public authorities have still not fulfilled effectively their responsibility to provide suo motu disclosures under Section 4 of the RTI Act.  CIVIC had hence commissioned a study by Mr. Y.G. Muralidharan of the suo motu disclosures of seven service agencies whose function was very relevant for citizens of Bangalore.  A meeting to release the study was organised at Shikshakara Sadana on 28.4.12.  Mr. AKM Nayak, State Chief Information Commissioner presided over the meeting. Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, DPAR, in charge of implementation of RTI, was the Chief Guest. 

Recommendations were made in the study to set up short-term task forces with retired officials of the concerned departments and advisors from civil society to prepare the suo motu disclosures. Officials from the seven departments and BBMP had been asked by Ms Shalini Rajneesh to be present.  She gave them one month’s time to set right their suo motu disclosures.  Ms Shalini Rajneesh commended CIVIC for the good meeting and Mr. AKM Nayak congratulated Mr. Muralidharan for an excellent study. 

As a result of the meeting Dr. Rajneesh requested the Chief Secretary to convene a meeting of the HighPower Committee looking into RTI implementation, which had not been held for a long time.  The  recommendations that emerged from the meeting were placed before the High-Power Committee and were accepted by it.  She then sought the names of RTI activists who could act as resource persons in the RTI cells to be created in each of the departments, which was  given to her by CIVIC.  Further action is under way.

Water supply to slums still an arid area – 16.11.12

 

CIVIC undertook a survey of slums where the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) -funded project of BWSSB to provide individual water supply and sewerage connections is being implemented in more than 200 slums.  The findings were presented at a public hearing on 16.11.12 at Jain University auditorium.  Mr. Venkatraju, Engineer-in-Chief and Mr. Narayan, CE, of BWSSB, were the chief guests while the meeting was chaired by Mr. V. Balasubramanian, IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary.  The finding that even after three years of the project, hardly any awareness programmes had been held, the water-users’ committees were dysfunctional and no infrastructure development had taken place.  Four NGOs chosen to mobilise the communities voiced their problems in implementing the project.  Mr.

Venkataraju and Mr. Narayan said that there was still enough time to fully implement the project and infrastructure would be put in place and water supplied once the Cauvery IV State, 2nd Phase project was completed.  

 

Huge problems with issual of bio-metric ration cards – 22.11.12

 

With huge problems being faced by citizens in procuring fresh ration cards with their biometric data, Right to Food Campaign-Karnataka, of which CIVIC is  district convenor for Bangalore, organised a public hearing attended by officials of Department of Food & Civil Supplies.  Dr. Govindaraju, Commissioner, Food & Civil Supplies, and Mr. M.C. Gangadhar, Deputy Director were the chief guests.  Officials spoke about the success of the computerisation of all ration card holders’ details, the removal of bogus cards by comparing ration card numbers with that of their electricity RR numbers and the introduction of bio-metric vending machines for food grains.  This was going to be replicated by all other states.  While appreciating these initiatives, activists requested them to issue bio-metric cards within time-frames, conduct awareness programmes about the new system, conduct regular grievance redressal meetings, etc., and remove the difficulties being faced by citizens at bio-metric centres.

 

Poor status of anganwadis in Bangalore – 22.12.12

 

CIVIC conducted a survey of 50 anganwadis in Bangalore city and presented the findings at a public hearing on 22.12.12 at Jain College Auditorium.  The survey found that most of them lacked basic infrastructure and facilities such as toilets and drinking water.  Mothers’ Committees attached to anganwadis were dysfunctional. Mr. N. Muni Reddy, Jt. Director (ICDS), who was the chief guest, said that a request had been to sent to the government to increase the amount of Rs. 750 available for paying rent for anganwadis.  Mr. Clifton D’Rosario, State Advisor to the SC Commissioners in the Right to Food case, pointed out that the health camps being conducted every month to identify malnourished children, as per the High Court directive, were reducing their coverage month by month.  He  asked that all departments had to work jointly if the problem of malnourishment was to be tackled effectively. 

 

Advocacy and Networking

 

National level

 

JNNURM and RAY:  CIVIC participated in a NATIONAL CONSULTATION on JnNURM Phase II and RAJIV AWAS YOJANA organised by Peoples’ Groups of Delhi, attended by Ms Aruna Sunderrajan, from the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) and officials from MoUD, at New Delhi on 03.02.12 and 04.02.12.  The Executive Trustee of CIVIC made a presentation of CIVIC’s study on JNNURMBSUP to the gathering which showed poor community involvement under BSUP projects.

 

Food Security Bill:  CIVIC sent its comments on the National Food Security Bill on 19.02.12 to the Joint Secretary, Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Lok Sabha Secretariat, which had called for public comments on the Bill.  These comments have been uploaded on the Right to Food Campaign’s website.

CIVIC advocates post offices for electoral registration to CEC

On 12.8.12, CIVIC was made a core-committee member of Karnataka Election Watch, hosted by Prof. Trilochan Sastri of IIM-B, chairperson of the national Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) to press for electoral reforms.  CIVIC was asked to represent ADR at a consultation in New Delhi on 26.10.12 called by Chief Election Commissioner at Nirvachan Sadan on “Updating Electoral Rolls in Metropolitan Cities”. 

CIVIC presented a memorandum to CEC, other ECs and CEOs and municipal commissioners from across

India  on needed reforms in updating electoral rolls.   Executive trustee presented the work of CIVIC in getting polling booth areas in Bangalore cleansed.  She suggested that post offices could be used as nodal centres for updation of electoral rolls, which was accepted by CEC. 

State-level advocacy

CIVIC gets poverty line criteria in the state amended 

A memorandum was sent by CIVIC to the Chief Minister (CM), Revenue and Food &Civil Supplies ministers all MLAs, Chief Secretary, Revenue and Food Secretary, etc.,  on problems in obtaining income certificates and on the irrational poverty line in Karnataka of Rs. 17,000 and Rs. 11,000 annual income limit.   

As a result, the CM forwarded our memo to Revenue Secretary for an action taken report.  Also, several meetings were held at CM’s level on the poverty line with Food and other Secretaries.  Consequently, the requirement for an income certificate for obtaining ration card was dropped.  The irrational poverty lines were also given up and a set of new exclusion criteria were announced for determining who is poor not based on income. 

CIVIC’s suggestions on reducing malnourishment accepted 

 

CIVIC attended the full committee meeting on child malnourishment called by Secretary, Women & Child Development (W&CD), on 09.02.12 and submitted our consolidated suggestions on ‘Convergence between departments to overcome malnourishment’ to him. CIVIC was invited to the meeting called on 30.4.12 by the Justice N.K. Patil committee on malnourishment and presented consolidated recommendations on malnourishment to him.   CIVIC is proud to note that several of these recommendations have found a place in the Justice N.K. Patil’s committee recommendations to the government.  CIVIC recommended that eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables should be part of the food given to children in day-care centres and schools to overcome malnourishment.  Another point made was that child brides and under-aged mothers should not be denied maternity benefits, as they were the very girls who were malnourished and who gave birth to under-weight malnourished children.   

CIVIC advocates better garbage management in Bangalore

Garbage disposal reached crisis proportions in Bangalore as the villagers around the landfill where Bangalore’s garbage was being dumped protested and refused to allow any more dumping in their surroundings.  A Public Interest Litigation was also filed by concerned citizens on the failure of BBMP, Bangalore’s municipal corporation, to clear garbage.  CIVIC wrote to the BBMP Commissioner on 3.10.12 with our suggestions for improving garbage collection rules to Commissioner BBMP, etc. On 16.10.12,  CIVIC sent an Integrated SWM Plan to BBMP Commissioner.  CIVIC was  invited by the BBMP Commissioner to discussions on how to handle the crisis.  CIVIC facilitated an awareness meeting for (Residents’ Welfare Associaitons (RWAs) on the new garbage rules along with BBMP, attended by BBMP Commissioner, Dr. Rajneesh Goel.  CIVIC circulated mails to all RWAs on the new garbage rules.

CIVIC calls for transparency in BBMP’s budget-making  process

 

Since its inception, CIVIC has been advocating for a transparent budget-making process within the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). CIVIC believes that involvement of civil society in the city’s budget preparation will enhance the confidence of the citizens and will enable people to track the expenditure. Efforts of CIVIC and other civil society groups in the last two decades have led to some positive results. For the first time the BBMP’s Taxation and Finance Standing Committee Chairman asked CIVIC to come for a pre-budget discussion and give our suggestions. CIVIC used the opportunity to send out invites to all CSOs to attend the pre-budget meeting on 26.5.12. Shri. Muneendra Kumar, the Chairman of the Committee presided over the meeting and other members of the Committee were present. A very good discussion with NGOs and social movements from a wide spectrum ensued.  

 

During the meeting, CIVIC suggested that there is a need for wider public consultation at all stages of budget formulation, implementation and evaluation. CIVIC and other participants urged the BBMP to abide by the Karnataka Local Fund Authorities’ Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003 while framing the budget. It was also suggested that the Medium Term Fiscal Plan (MTFP) should be the base for budget preparation. CIVIC opined that prioritising the works at the Ward level should be left to the citizens.  CIVIC recommended that by providing land rights to slum-dwellers and collecting property tax BBMP could earn substantial revenue. The other recommendations that emerged out of the meeting are:-

 

Public consultation on Revised Master Plan 2035 of BDA for Bangalore

 

The Bangalore Development Authority [BDA] had invited the public to submit their views and suggestions on the Revised Master Plan [RMP] 2035. With a view to elicit public opinion and to enable active participation of interested groups, CIVIC had, on 7th July 2012, organised a public consultation on RMP at Bangalore. 

 

Mr. P.S.S. Thomas, retired IAS officer and former chairman of the Advisory Committee on RMP 2015, initiated the discussion. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the importance of citizens’ involvement in all stages of the planning process. He said that apart from citizens, other civic agencies like BWSSB, BESCOM, BMTC etc should also be part of the consultation. Mr.Thomas said that there was no Action Taken Report on BDA's website on RMP 2015 and no analysis of what challenges were faced and how they were met during its implementation except for the cryptic statement that "challenges were experienced during the implementation".  Mr.Thomas said that there was no institutional mechanism to review the implementation of the RMP 2012. He said the Advisory Committee had recommended that there should be a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to review the implementation of RMP 2015 but this had not been constituted.  He also emphasised the need for civil society organisations to strengthen their own capacities for responding to RMP.

 

Ms. Anjali Mohan, Consulting Urban and Regional Planner, emphasised the need for involving citizens and other line agencies of the government at every stage of the planning. She said that such inclusiveness should start while submitting the Request for Proposal to the consultants. 

 

Round-table on Right to Information Act - Current Challenges and Future Potential

 

Right to Information [RTI] is one of the focus area of CIVIC’s activities. Since the Karnataka Government enacted the RTI Act in 2002, CIVIC has been actively involved in promoting people’s right to information. CIVIC is also collaborating with other civil society organisations like CREAT, KRIA Katte, National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information [NCPRI] etc. to strengthen RTI movement. On 20th July 2012, at the request of Mr. Nikhil Dey from NCPRI, CIVIC had organised a roundtable on RTI related topics. 

 

Mr. Ravindranath Guru, Trustee of KRIA Katte, presented key issues regarding implementation of RTI in Karnataka. He stated that RTI activists are not invited to the annual conventions on RTI organised by the Government of India and also to the meetings held by the High-Level Committee constituted by the State Government. He said that only officials are invited for these meetings, thereby the committee is prevented from getting the full picture on RTI implementation.

 

Ms. Kathyayini Chamaraj of CIVIC stated that the proactive disclosure as required under Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act is not being prepared as required under the Act. She said that Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Secretary to Government of Karnataka [DPAR], had made a suggestion to hire experts to prepare templates for all departments. Ms. Kathyayini also said that the KIC had expressed its helplessness in making the Public Authorities follow the directives given by KIC.

 

Mr. Nikhil Dey informed the participants that NCPRI would like to organise a public hearing on information commissions and selection process of the commissioners. He requested activists to provide a report on the Information Commission and the selection process of the commissioners, tendency of commissioners, pendency of cases, number of cases decided and efforts for effective implementation of Section 4 of the Act. He also stated that he would wish to promote state-level public hearings from which case studies can be selected and presented at national level public hearing.  

 

Grassroots-level activities

 

The current project activities are spread across nine slums in three wards of Bangalore city. The wards and slums were selected after a series of meetings with partner groups and community based organisations. This project is of short span and CIVIC intends to work in a mosaic mode of both need-based and rightsbased approach. CIVIC intends to make the beneficiaries aware of their rights and entitlements under various schemes and also assist the communities in accessing public services. The activities under this project are highlighted below.

 

Baseline Survey 

 

In Nagawara ward a sample base-line survey was carried out to collect basic information about select public services. The survey revealed the following:-

 

  • A majority of the community members did not possess caste and income certificates, which are essential for accessing any of the services provided by the State. 
  • Community members lack information about the quantities to be distributed through the Public Distribution System and the procedures to be followed for availing benefits. 
  • The ward does not have a Primary Health Centre [PHC], Anganwadi and ANMs. 
  • Community members are not covered under any of the health/medical insurance schemes offered by the State. 
  • Some of the community members are denied an electricity connection due to non-availability of house/property ownership documents. 

 

Success Story

 

The community members complained about non-shifting of the electricity distribution transformer, which was causing hardship to the public. CIVIC and NRWA jointly petitioned the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company and was able to get the transformer shifted to a safe place on 12th May 2012.

The Base-line Sample Survey in Devasandra ward slum-dwellers received water once in 10 days. Neither is garbage collected nor are there community toilets. It is observed that the community is not covered by any health insurance scheme. The ANMs are not visiting the houses and there is no Anagawadi in Achari Bande.  

In Lingarajapuram ward base-line survey indicates that many people in the slums are deprived of pensions and senior citizens do not have senior citizens’ cards. Besides, community members do not have caste and income certificates, which are essential to access other benefits. 

 

Awareness and Grievance Redressal Meets

 

On 19th June 2012, CIVIC conducted an awareness program on SJSRY for the community members of all the three slums under the jurisdiction of Nagawara ward. The participants were told about the different pension and livelihood schemes and the eligibility criteria to access these benefits. The participants were also made aware of the procedure for getting Ration cards under the Public Distribution System. CIVIC volunteers assisted over 50 community members in submitting application forms for getting Ration cards. 

An awareness programme focusing on water was held on 23rd June 2012 at Nagawara in which 50 citizens were explained about the Charter on water. They were also informed about the essentials of Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP) with special reference to sanitation facilities for the urban poor. The participants were provided with necessary guidelines for approaching the BWSSB in case of water and sanitation grievances. 

CIVIC also took steps to identify school drop-outs and get them readmitted. Six students got re-admitted. List of 150 children who were eligible for the scholarship was prepared and provided information to the school and parents to apply for the scholarships. Similarly five persons, whose pension was stopped, were identified and CIVIC has taken up their case with the concerned authorities. 

In Achari Bande slum, 25 families have been identified without ration cards. They were informed about the computerisation process that is being done and how they should get their ration cards computerised. 

Similarly 30 pensioners whose pensions have been stopped were identified and documents were collected from them to submit applications for getting pensions. List of 30 children who were eligible for the scholarship was prepared and provided information to the school and parents to apply for the scholarships. 

 

 

Case study Enabling minority community students to get their scholarships

The Ministry of Minorities, Government of India, has a scheme under which students belonging to Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi and other minority communities are eligible for scholarships. Students studying in 1 to 10th standards are eligible under this scheme. The scheme is implemented through the Department of Minority Welfare of the state governments. The state government announces the scheme and invites applications from the schools. It is the duty of the head of the institutions to identify the beneficiaries and get the application filled up and submit it to the state government. The Department of education should issue a circular to all the schools and calls for applications. However the scheme does not reach the beneficiaries due to several administrative loopholes. Ultimately the eligible students suffer.

 

As soon as the Karnataka State Minority Development Board announced the scheme and invited applications, CIVIC intervened and informed the schools in the areas in which CIVIC has its presence. CIVIC was able to get 452 applications filled up from the government schools of Lingarapuram, Govindapura, Achari bande, Thriveni Nagar, Cox Town. It was given to understand that none of these schools had received the circulars from the Government. It was also observed that neither the head of the institution nor the teachers were interested in this exercise. It was explained that each of the applicant has to spend Rs.200 and there was no guarantee that the scholarship will be sanctioned. Further the scheme is applicable only for students who have scored 50% marks in their previous class. CIVIC found that this criterion is not in the interests of the students coming from slums. Further the scheme is not successful because there is an overall cap to the number of beneficiaries i.e. two lakh.

 

 

  

Programme Press Clippings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Programme Photos

 

 

CIVIC’s activities related to Ward Committee Rules -16.1.13

On 16.1.2013, CIVIC in association with ESG, ALF and ATREE organised a Public Meeting in Bengaluru to discuss on the Hon’ble High Court order that the Ward Committees should be set up under the KMC (Amdt.) Act on Community Participation and Rules framed under the law. The representatives of RWAs and NGOs gathered suggestions for the Rules.  CIVIC then met the BBMP Commissioner on 19.1.13 and presented our suggestions on the Community Participation Rules and urged to  frame Rules in the spirit of 74th Amendment of Constitution.

Report of the public hearing on social security pensions -23.1.13

A Public Hearing was organised on 23.1.2013 on Social Security Pensions. The objective of the programme was the submission of the report on the problems related to National Social Assistance Scheme (NSAS) pensions for old-age, widows and the disabled in the city of Bengaluru undertaken by CIVIC & member organizations of  Karnataka State Pension Parishad. The State Government decision to limit/cap on the number of beneficiaries of pensions related “National Social Assistance Scheme(NSAS)”  was adversely affected the pensioners living in the urban poor settlements in the state. Thus, overnight more than 8 lakh pensions from a total of about 45 lakhs were cancelled without giving notice of the cancellation to the pensioners or giving them an opportunity to be heard in the interest of natural justice. 

Officials present were Mr. G.V .Seenappa, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and  Mr. K. Rame Gowda, Assistant Commissioner, from the District Office  of Bengaluru City and Smt. Kathyayini Devi, Deputy Director, from the Directorate of Social Securities & Pensions  addressed the participants and assured that their grievances will be redressed as early as possible.

CIVIC’s initiatives on electoral rolls and voter awareness

CIVIC was invited to the enquiry on 28.02.13 and asked to present its findings and suggestions on slum resident’s inability to produce formats of address proofs as laid out Election Commission, Karnataka.   The result of the meeting was mailed to CEC, New Delhi.  CIVIC also conducted a study in 10 slums about the status of the electoral roll in Bangalore and dispatched the findings to the Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi, CEO-Karnataka and the Special Officer - Elections, BBMP.

CIVIC conducted awareness programmes for voters in three wards just before the Karnataka Assembly elections in May 2013.  The campaign conducted along with local RWA partners carried the message to voters to vote for the right person and not to vote for those who gave them bribes. Such candidates would be looking upon these bribes as an ‘investment’ on which they would make thousand-fold ‘returns’ after the elections.   The ‘returns’ would come through misappropriation of the funds of the government meant for the development of their wards.  By accepting crumbs at the time of elections, citizens would lose in the long run and be deprived of development.   CIVIC printed 50,000 pamphlets designed by Association for Democratic Reforms in 3 local languages and distributed them in the three wards.

Responses to Emerging Issues

CIVIC had to respond to several emerging issues in the State which were not part of the agreed project activities.  Hence a lot of time and effort of CIVIC during this period  was spent on these unforeseen activities, which were, however, very important in shaping the future policies and programmes of the  State government on these critical people-centred issues. 

Public Meeting on Civil Society Forum’s Manifesto for Assembly Elections

On 23.4.13, a Public Meeting was organised on the evolving Manifesto by   CIVIC at SCM House in Bengaluru. The representatives  of more than 30 civil society organisations  joined hands to come up with a ‘Civil Society Forum’s Assembly Election Manifesto’ encompassing the demands of all the marginalised sections of society, including dalits, tribals, physically challenged, women, as well as on other rights-based issues.  It was presented to the representatives of.    JD(S), CPI (M), Lok Satta, Aam Aadmi Party and Social Democratic Party of India. 

CIVIC’s initiatives on voter awareness – April 2013

CIVIC conducted awareness programmes for voters in three wards just before the Karnataka Assembly elections in May 2013.  The campaign conducted along with local RWA partners carried the message to voters to vote for the right person and not to vote for those who gave them bribes. The ‘returns’ would come through misappropriation of the funds of the government meant for the development of their wards.  By accepting crumbs at the time of elections, citizens would lose in the long run and be deprived of development.   CIVIC printed 50,000 pamphlets designed by Association for Democratic Reforms in 3 local languages and distributed them in the three wards.

CIVIC’s Role in PIL on Education

When the Hon’ble High Court took up a suo motto PIL on the issue of out-of-school children in April 2013, CIVIC’s Executive Trustee impleaded herself as party-in-person and made several submissions to the Court on the issue.  CIVIC pleaded for a considerable time during the reporting period and brought in a lot of changes in the education department. 

CIVIC impleads itself in PIL on Right to Education – April 13

Despite the coming into force of the Right to Education Act in 2010 requiring all children to get free and compulsory elementary education for eight years, a newspaper published in March 2013 a report that 54,000+ children were still out-of-school in Karnataka.  The Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court took up suo motto a Public Interest Litigation on the matter in April 2013 and issued notices to the Govt. of Karnataka.  CIVIC’s Executive Trustee impleaded herself as party-in-person and made substantive submissions to the Court on the issue. 

Public Consultation on Effective Implementation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment and Advocate Rules for Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

In June 2013, CIVIC organised Public Consultation on Effective Implementation of  the 74th Constitutional Amendment and Advocate  Rules for Ward Committees and Area Sabhas. The PIL on garbage also resulted in directives by the Court to the BBMP to set up ward committees as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Act (Community Participation Law) and also pass the necessary Rules for the functioning of Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

In August 2013, after the formation of the new State Government, fresh Draft Rules were published in August 2013.  CIVIC was happy that two of its recommendations had been incorporated in the fresh draft of the rules. 

Public Consultation on Draft Rules on ward committees and area sabhas -15.6.13

On 15.6.13, A Public Consultation on Draft Rules on Ward Committees and Area Sabhas was organised by CIVIC in association with Environment Support Group(ESG). The Mayor, Mr. Venkatesh Murthy, Former Mayor Mr. P. R. Ramesh and the JD(S) leader in BBMP were the chief guests.  Recommendations on the Rules from the meeting were again given to UDD but no final notification of the Rules was gazetted.

Draft Rules were published again in August 2013 and we were happy to note that two of our suggestions had been incorporated into the draft Rules this time.  Fresh detailed comments and suggestions on the Draft Rules were again framed by CIVIC based on the rules framed by the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and circulated to various groups asking them to endorse the same.

Several representatives from various urban poor settlements/slum settlements have been discussing CIVIC’s suggestions, selecting those that they can endorse and writing to the urban development department endorsing these.  They are also making plans to take it to the grassroots through skits, street plays, etc. to create awareness on the Rules and create ownership of the community in the functioning of ward committees and area sabhas. The final notification of Rules is yet to be issued by UDD.

 

 

 

CIVIC recommends near-universalisation of PDS

The State Government, taking into account of suggestion by CIVIC, announced that the PDS would adopt near-universalisation and that only income-tax payees, government servants and those owning cars would be excluded from the PDS and all others would be considered as BPL.  An official notification on this is awaited. 

On July 13, CIVIC submitted the Model Rules for consideration by the State Government for framing Rules on the ordinance on the National Food Security Act,. The above policy changes will avoid the huge exclusion and inclusion errors currently plaguing the identification of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in Karnataka which is denying lakhs of families their Right to Food Security.

Recommendations to Law Commission on electoral reforms -31.7.13

CIVIC placed Recommendations to the Law Commission on 31st July 2013 that a number of centres with e-voting facility, or centres where their postal ballots are received, should be opened in every city or Gram Panchayat, to allow migrant and shifting voters to vote from wherever they are currently present, so that this large section of citizens is not deprived of their right to vote. 

Recommendations to Law Commission on electoral reforms were made on shifting / migrating electors who do not reside in one place for six months:  CIVIC’s experience at the grassroots showed that a large number of eligible voters, who are citizens of India are getting left out of the electoral rolls as they are unable to provide proper address proof because they are homeless, pavement-dwellers or migrants with shifting employment and do not stay in one place for six months

Public protest against RTI Amdt. Act – 15.8.13

CIVIC took the lead, along with IT for Change, KRIA Katte and several organisations in organising a successful  ”Protest Dharna” on 15.08.2013 against the RTI Amdt. Act exempting political parties from its purview.  Mr. H. S. Doreswamy, freedom–fighter, and Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta, participated in the protest which was widely covered by the press.

State-level conference on “People’s Participation for Good Governance”

 

A State-level conference on “People’s Participation for Good Governance” was held on 2nd Sep 2013.  The programme was organised with CFAR and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti SangathanMr. Nikhil Dey of MKSS was the key-note speaker. Mr. Jayachandra, Hon’ble Minister for Law and Human Rights, was the chief guest at the inaugural session.  Mr. H. K. Patil, Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, participated in the session on peoples’ participation and social audit.  Shri. Vinay Kumar Sorake, Hon’ble Minister, Urban Development, Government of Karnataka, participated in the session on urban governance and community participation.  Participants had come from both rural and urban grassroots NGOs, RWAs, academicians, etc.

Networking at national level

The Executive trustee of CIVIC has been nominated as State-level committee member of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Karnataka Election Watch (KEW) headed by Prof. Trilochan Sastri fighting against criminalisation of politics.  As committee member, executive trustee took part in several trainings and press conferences on criminalisation of politics organised by KEW.


The Executive trustee of CIVIC has been nominated as Working Committee member representing Karnataka in the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI).  As working committee member, ET took part in the national convention held at Hyderabad.  ET facilitated and accompanied RTI activist, Mr. Rakesh of Bangalore, Karnataka, to present his case study at the National Public Hearing called at New Delhi on Whistleblowers by NCPRI. ET was invited by NCPRI/MKSS to participate in a National Consultation on Public Grievances Bill and Right to Hearing Act of Rajasthan held at Jaipur on 16th and 17th August 2013.

 

The Executive trustee of CIVIC has been nominated as Executive Committee member of Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) campaigning for proportional representation.  ET took part in the several planning meetings and launch of the South-India Coalition for bringing in proportional representation system.

CIVIC’s initiative results in increase in voting percentage

As a result of the awareness programmes conducted by CIVIC before the Karnataka Assembly elections in May 2013, voting percentage increased significantly in two constituencies, Sarvagnanagar and K.R.Puram. In 2008, Sarvagnanagar had a voting percentage of 35.41% and in 2013 50.23%, In 2008, K.R.Puram had 43.06% voting percentage and in 2013 59.06%.

CIVIC’s submissions on Right to Education bring several changes in government

Based on the submissions by the Executive Trustee of CIVIC to the High Court in the PIL on the Right to Education Act and directives from the High Court to implement them, the Government issued notifications calling for a fresh survey of out-of-school children.  It issued a notification changing the definition of ‘school drop-out’ from ‘a child not attending school for a continuous period of 60 days’ to ‘a child with unexcused absence of seven days’.

The following are the other improvements on Right To Education Act

Education Coordinators (ECs) at cluster level were notified as ‘Attendance Authorities’ to fix accountability on a specific official to ensure that all children are in school. A protocol to be followed by them to ensure that benefits reach the children and that all of them are mainstreamed has been notified.    Local authorities at taluk and district levels were designated to oversee the implementation of ‘free and compulsory’ education to all children and to look into grievance reddressal.

A High-power committee under the Chief Secretary and 17 secretaries/officials to government, along with four experts was set up to bring about convergence of services of the various departments on the family of the vulnerable child and to monitor and review the implementation of Court directives.  CIVIC’s Executive Trustee is a Special Invitee to the Committee along with the Amicus Curiae appointed by the Court.

As a result of these government notifications, children who drop-out even for seven days will be effectively followed up by the authorities through a software package to track them and brought back to school before they become confirmed child labour or drop-outs.  The protocol suggested by CIVIC will be implemented in two or three selected pilot areas. 

Thus a preventive approach has been institutionalized in place of the curative approach of rehabilitation that was in vogue.  Responsibility and accountability for ensuring that every child is in school has been placed on government officials and the ‘appropriate government’ which had earlier been delegated to School Development & Monitoring Committees which was in violation of the Right to Education Act.

 

Text Box: Training Programme on Services provided by BESCOM on Electricity consumption organised by CIVIC on 29-11-2013

 

Urban Governance

 

  1. Citizen’s Right to participate in the Governance of Bengaluru

 

The 74th Constitutional Amendment, promising devolution of powers in urban areas, was enacted over 20 years ago. Yet 'Nagara Swaraj' is a far dream, with even community participation in urban affairs yet to be achieved. Karnataka's urban citizens have no say in how government services should be provided in their ward, which roads should be repaired, how lakes should be protected or even how their garbage should be managed! The unconstitutional manner in which cities are being administered has resulted in multiple scams, misgovernance and dysfunctional cities.

 

It was hoped that the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Act of January 2011, brought in to fulfil conditionality under JNNURM, would strengthen community participation in urban areas. However, rules were framed for the Act only after the High Court Directive in December 2012 (while hearing a PIL on the garbage crisis). These rules created ward committees in name only without any real powers. Pressure from civil society led to a public meeting where the government was advised to re-draft the KMC Act itself, as is being done with the Panchayati Raj Act in Karnataka.

 

 

 

Text Box: Shri. Vinay Kumar Sorake, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development, Government of Karnataka, Shri. T.K. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary, Department of Urban Development, Government of Karnataka, Shri. R. Raghunandan, I.A.S(retd.) and Governance Expert, Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC, Shri. Leo Saldhana, Environment Support Group (ESG), participated in the Consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shri. Vinay Kumar Sorake, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development, gave assurances at this meeting that the undemocratic aspects of the Act, such as the veto power for Corporators, would be addressed. The  Hon’ble Minister promised to amend the section 13 of Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, to remove veto power over ward committees given to Corporators. He also said he would look into amending the section to remove the power to nominate members for ward committees and introduce some other means to select ward committee members.

 

 

 

 

In October 2014, Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC, presented a session on Ward Committees and Area Sabhas at the 4-day training (8th to 11th Sep 2014) for BBMP Corporators and officials on "74th CA, Ward Committees and Area Sabhas with special focus on solid waste management"

The training programme was inaugurated by newly-elected Mayor of Bangalore Ms. Shanthakumari, Deputy Mayor Mr. Ranganna, Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC, Smt. Almitra Patel, Member, Supreme Court Panel on Solid Waste Management, Smt. Nalini Shekar, Hasiru Dala were the resource persons for the training programme. The Corporators of 198 wards, Ward Committee members and officials of the BBMP participated in the training programme. 

In November 2014, CIVIC led the Citizen groups in Bengaluru, in highlighting several anti-people provisions of KMC Act of January 2011.  Without these amendments, any amount of tinkering with the Rules is not going to make the working of ward committees and area sabhas effective.    CIVIC also appealed to the Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development to fulfill the promise made in the Public Consultation on 11 July 2014 by removing nomination procedures of ward committee members and Veto powers of Corporators.

CIVIC submitted the Suggestions on Amendments to KMC Act and Framing Rules for Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.(See Annexures for the complete list of Suggestions). Following this, numerous meetings were held with the Secretary, Urban Development, and recommendations were sent in from across the state to revise the rules so that the functioning of ward committees could be improved within the ambit of the Act.

 

 

Protest  Dharna held on 26-11-2014 against the recent Amendments of KMC Act and Framing of Rules For the Functioning of Ward Committees and Area Sabhas by the State Government

 

More than two hundred representatives of  various  Ward committees, Residents Associations, Non-Governmental Organisations and other Citizens groups participated in the Protest Dharna held on 26-11-2014, in-front of Puttana Chetty Town Hall, Bengaluru.  The protest was organised against the recent Amendments of KMC Act and Framing of Rules for the Functioning of Ward Committees and Area Sabhas by the State Government.  The Protest was jointly organised by CIVIC, Namma-Bengaluru Foundation, BRACE, Environment Support Group(ESG), Citizen Action Forum (CAF),Consumer Care Society, Coalition Against Secularism, Eeshanya Maha Vedike (Federation of NERWA), FORWARD Hebbal, Koogu Mahila Okkuta, Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), Society for People's Action for Development (SPAD), Abhyudaya Foundation, Association For Physically Disabled(APD), Abhyudaya Foundation, Association For Physically Disabled(APD), VV Nagar Abhyudaya,  and several other Citizen Groups.

 

Shri. Doraiswamy , Freedom Fighter and Activist, led the  protest  and  demanded that the State Government should frame rules for a functional and independent  Ward Committees and Area Sabhas so that people  can fully participate in the governance of  Bengaluru and other cities in the state. He said that a vibrant democracy has no space for many of the undemocratic aspects of the Act. The biggest undemocratic act is the veto power of the Corporators to overturn the ward committee decisions. We need rules that  enable decentralisation of power down to the ward committee and the area sabhas. He also appealed to conduct non party based elections for the Ward Committees and Area Sabhas in the state.

Smt Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC,  appealed to the government  to implement the suggestions submitted  by CIVIC, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, Citizen Action Forum(CAF), Environment Support Group and other citizens groups during the consultation organised by the Urban Development Department, Govt. of Karnataka.  She questioned the government on retaining the rule related to exercise of  Veteo power to the Corporator to  reverse the decision of the ward committees and appointments of members of Area sabha. She said the rules formed by the government are against the citizen’s interest and undermine the spirit of the 74th Amendment of the Constitution. She said a fully functional ward committees and Area Sabhas will promote people’s participation in burning issues faced by the citizens living in cities and major towns of the State.

Smt. Kathyayini asked the participants to sign the online petition launched by  the organisers on the CHANGE website on the Internet. In two days, about 200 people have signed in support of formation of Ward Committees and Area Sabhas as laid out in the 74th Amendment of the Constitution.

Smt. Mahalakshmi Parthasarthy, Shri. Rajshekar, Shri. Mukunda, Smt. Meenakshi Bharath represented CAF, Shri Phanisai, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, Shri. Raghunandan, Secretary (Retd.,), Dept of Panchayati Raj, Govt of Karnataka, Shri. Karibasappa, Activist, Davanagere district, Smt. Sudha, SPAD, Shri. Chetan Keshava Kumar, National Confederation of Residents Welfare Associations (NCRWA), Shri. P.L Rao, Ward Committee Member, Kaveripura Ward, Shri A.T.Krishnamurthy, Ward Committee Member, Shri. Vidyadhar, Shri. Madhu Sudhan, Shri. Venkatesh, Shri. Ramanji, CIVIC, are the prominent personalities participated in the protest.

The participants  unanimously agreed to launch an state wide struggle  covering all cities with population of 3 lakhs and above. Later, the petition was submitted to Shri. Vinay Kumar Sorake, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development and  Shri. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filing Objections Rules and Amendment to KMC Act on Ward Committees and Area Sabhas on 22-12-2014 at Vikas Soudha, Bengaluru

 

On 22-12-2014,  CIVIC  and other Citizen groups  in Bengaluru, formally placed their  objections to the  Rules and Amendment to KMC Act on Ward Committees and Area Sabhas gazetted in November 2014, by Urban Development Department(UDD), Government of Karnataka(GOK). The objections were raised in the Meeting called by Shri. Anil Kumar, Prinicipal Secretary, UDD., GOK., to file objections  to the gazetted Rules of the UDD in November at Room No. 422, Vikas Soudha, Bengaluru. The last date of filing of objection was 9-1-2015.

Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, Shri. Madhu Sudhan, Project Co-ordinator, CIVIC, Shri Leo Saldhana, Environment Support Group(ESG), Shri. Balasubramaniam and representatives of other citizen groups and officials from Urban Development Department, participated in the Meeting.

Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj(KC), expressed her dissatisfaction on the absence  of the majority of suggestions and objections  given by CIVIC and other citizen groups in the  gazetted rules, which was presented during the two meetings called by the UDD.  Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj and other citizen groups demanded for constitution of a Committee by the UDD for framing the Rules on Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

The representatives of CIVIC and Citizen groups appealed to the Prinicipal Secretary, to take into account their suggestion while framing the Rules. This should enable the proper functioning of ward committees. The Hon’ble Court in its direction to form Ward Committees and Area Sabhas, is also expecting to form a legitimate and people centeric and functional ward committees as laid in the 74th Amendment of the Constitution. 

 

II. Ward Budget Tracking Toolkit

 

 

The  Citizen’s Ward Tracking Budget Toolkit is the result of  CIVIC’s  association  of  various citizen’s groups, Public Affairs Centre(PAC) and Experts to develop a toolkit for  citizens and all stakeholders to assess the  BBMP’s financial management  and its implementation of   works  at the ward level. Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Shri. Madhu Sudhan, Shri Veeresh, CIVIC and Shri Sivasankaran, Consultant, worked on the Toolkit

Purpose  of Toolkit

The purpose of the toolkit is multifold: it is tool for financial empowerment for the citizens so that they can participate in governance at the ward level. The Status of Expenditure under various heads as mentioned in the General budget of BBMP, Zonal allocations on projects with inter ward involvement, and the list of ward works  are the important set of information which will help the empowerment of interested citizens. The following are the process which will help in comprehensive understanding of the toolkit by the citizens.

The toolkit throws light on the role of Ward Engineer/Assistant Engineer and Corporator in preparing the Programme of Works(POWs) as per the norms fixed by the Public Works Department. The next step is approval by the Assistant Executive Engineer, Executive engineer and the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Ward Works.

Thus, the POWs of all wards are included in the BBMP budget and sanctioned. This will be followed by implementation of POWs through the process of calling tenders, scrutinizing, awarding work and payment of bills after completion of works.

The understanding of the above processes by the citizens and customising to  their specific ward works is the purpose of the toolkit. The toolkit is also expected to facilitate in adopting various methods and process in increasing the revenue of BBMP; promote  better relationship between the stakeholders by encouraging  good governance initiatives leading to arresting corruption and  other malpractices.

The draft version of the Toolkit was presented to  the Advisers and Trustees of CIVIC and Experts. The following are the stakeholders/ consultants/ expert organisation shared their inputs into the report

 

  1. Shri. K.T. Suresh, Trustee, CIVIC, Shri. Yerappa Reddy, Executive Engineer and other staff members of BBMP office at Queen’s Road
  2. The team at Centre for Budgetary Policy Studies on giving inputs on budgetary practices of BBMP;
    The contribution of Shri. A.Srinivas Kumar, Advisor and  Shri. Madhu Sudhan  needs special mention.
  3. Mr. Subbanna of the Institute of Public Auditors
  4. Shri. Lukose Vallathurai, I.A.S retd. Karnataka Cadre, Shri Ravindranath Guru, RTI activist,  
  5. To Shri. Ashok Rao, Executive Director, and Shri Deepak  of Management and Governance Consulting Private Ltd, Kumara Park West, Bangalore.
  6. To  Shri. Raja Seevan (Founder Trustee) and Sri Kumar(Founder) of Indian Centre for Social Transformation, Infantry Road, Bangalore, for help in understanding the Global Project Monitoring System(GPMS) for financial and ward management in BBMP.

In the Next stage, CIVIC will conduct a “Round Table Conference”  by inviting the Experts and other stakeholders to  formally approve the draft.

The Book will be published, later, released through public consultation.

 

III.Urban Poor

 

In the year 2014, CIVIC focussed its activities in the urban poor/slum settlements of the three wards of Bengaluru. There were 10 settlements in the three wards which were located in the  north, eastern and southern part of Bengaluru. 

 

Formation of Slum Improvement Committees

 

Text Box: Formation of Slum Improvement Committees in the slums of A.Narayanapura and Nagwara wards

 

In March 2014, CIVIC organised community meetings in 10 slums in three wards in Bengaluru.  The objective of organising these meetings is to form ‘Slum Improvement Committees (SIC)’ in the slums. The committee is comprised of 6 to 8 members, represented the slum settlement with the elected representatives.

The Committee is also expected to establish linkage with Non-poor groups such as Residents Welfare Association(RWA) and other urban local bodies related to slum settlements. Some of the committee members are already members of Domestic Workers Welfare Association, Self Help Groups(SHG). The CIVIC team has imparted training to the committee members on their rights and responsibilities while  addressing the issues of the slum settlement. 

The members of the Committees have been mobilizing the slum communities in addressing their issues such as drinking water, toilets, accessing voter id, Aadhaar Cards, ration Cards etc.  They actively participated in CIVIC’ programmes/Adalats on Pension, Child Rights (Anganawadi, Enrolment in Schools), General Health programmes and Urban Governance. 

 

 

IV. Data Generation through community participation

 

The Slum Improvement Committees (SIC) in the slum settlements of A.Narayanapura Ward, Nagwara Ward and Azadnagar ward attempted to collect slum level information and build their own database which was facilitated by CIVIC team.  The database depicts the baseline data on the slums and helps to identify the major areas for intervention at the micro and macro level. As a first step, three types of questionnaire were prepared: (i) Community Questionnaire; (ii) Basic Amenities in the slums;(iii) Slum Survey. After drawing up a questionnaire with the community, an consultancy Firm known as “DIGICOLLECT” was appointed as consultants for the project. Digicollect – is an GIS Service Consultant, specializes in building applications on mobile phones for conducting the survey and uploads the processed data to its portal for viewing databases of the ward. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document was signed on 10-7-2014.

 

The survey was started on 21-7-2014 with the participation of trained volunteers using the applications stored in mobile phones/ Tabs by DIGICOLLECT.  The survey covered 1095 households in the urban poor settlements /slum settlements in the 3 wards. 

 

The data collected from the survey was tabulated and analysed after storing the data in excel format. The data was tabulated for micro and ward level analysis. The micro level data was analysed and was uploaded by DIGICOLLECT.  After uploading the data, it results was shared with community and CIVIC team

 

It was also decided to analyse the Aggregate data at the ward level and compare the development index among the three wards.  The Aggregate data was tabulated and represented in the form of charts so that urban poor community can understand easily and plan according to the results of the survey.


 

The CIVIC’s agreement with DIGICOLLECT will display the finding on GOOGLE EARTH database upto January 2015

 

 

 

Text Box: Awareness Programme on PDS, Pension, RSBY, Commercial Taxi Drivers, NPS, Vajpayee  Arogya Sree Yojane and construction workers schemes at A.Narayanpura ward on 25.9.14.http://www.civicspace.in/sites/default/files/slideimages/p1_0.JPG

Text Box: Awareness on 20/09/2014, Community hall, Valmiki Nagar Azad Nagar ward on 20.9.2014http://www.civicspace.in/sites/default/files/slideimages/P1.JPG

 

 

Awareness Programme on Public Distribution System(PDS) and Pension schemes on 16-9-2014 at Jothipura slum at A.Narayanapura Ward, Bangalore. 

CIVIC  and Association For promoting Social Action(APSA).Bangalore jointly organized a “Awareness Programme on Public Distribution System(PDS) and Pension schemes”  on 16-9-2014 at  Jothipura Slum , A.Narayanapura Ward (Ward No. 56), Bangalore.

Smt, S. Gayathri, Deputy Tahasildar, K.R.Puram, Shri. Bhanuprakash and Shri. Venkatesh, Food Inspectors, East range, Bangalore, Shri. Manjunath, Revenue Inspector, K.R.Puram,  Shri. Lakshapathy, Director, APSA, Bangalore, Shri. Y.G. Murlidharan, Advisor, CIVIC, Shri. Ramu and Shri.Babu, local leaders  of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar  Welfare Association, Jothipura and Shri. Veeresh, Shri. Ramanji, organizers , CIVIC, Bangalore, participated in the programme

Shri. Bhanuprakash, Food Inspector, East range, Food and Civil Supplies Department, Bangalore, explained the  functioning of  PDS system in Bangalore. He said that the government is planning to weed out the ineligible ration cards so that the  food grains supplied  reaches only to the genuine beneficiaries.  The  government has introduced  “SMS”  system to verify the beneficiaries, each  card holder should input the card details in “SMS” and send to the department.  The copies of  voter id and Aadhaar Card  should be submitted as supporting documents. Any card holders failing  to send “SMS”  and submit supporting document failing which their cards will be cancelled.  The department is also planning to stop distributing kerosene oil in Bangalore, instead  cash/coupons will be given to households to purchase cooking gas cylinders.

Smt.S. Gayathri, Deputy Tahasildar, K.R.Puram, explained about the five types of  pension schemes implemented by the government. They are: Widow pension, Handicapped persons pension, Oldage Pension, Manasini and Mythri.  Manasini  scheme will cover  single  women or divorced women  who have completed 40 years.  Mythri scheme  covers  transgenders  through the state.

Shri. Ramanji, organizer, CIVIC, Bangalore, submitted  a list of  80 persons for  not receiving pension and another list of 137 people who were excluded from the PDS system in the slum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box: Training Programme on Empowerment of Women and laws related Women held on 26-10-2014, organised  by  CIVIC