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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Sangathan. Mr. 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.
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.
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
Shri. K.T. Suresh, Trustee, CIVIC, Shri. Yerappa Reddy, Executive Engineer and other staff members of BBMP office at Queen’s Road
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.
Mr. Subbanna of the Institute of Public Auditors
Shri. Lukose Vallathurai, I.A.S retd. Karnataka Cadre, Shri Ravindranath Guru, RTI activist,
To Shri. Ashok Rao, Executive Director, and Shri Deepak of Management and Governance Consulting Private Ltd, Kumara Park West, Bangalore.
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.
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
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
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.
CIVIC organised a “Training Programme on Empowerment of Women and Laws” related to women on 16-10-2014 at SCM House in Bangalore. The training programme covered on various protective legislations on women. The training programme was attended by the urban poor communities from the Azad nagar ward, Nagawara Ward and A.Narayanapura Ward. The majority of the participants being women, are workers in the garment industry and engaged as domestic workers.
Smt. Kanmani and Smt. Margaret from BREAKTHROUGH” – an Organisation conducting the sessions on laws related to domestic violence, dowry harassment, Rape and property rights by adopting participatory methodology. Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC, helped the participant to understand the laws by asking the participants to narrate the case studies. Mr. Veeresh, Mr. Ramanji, Ms. Roopa, Mr. Venkatesh and Mr. Madhu Sudhan participated in the programme.
Study on Evaluation of the Functioning, Effectiveness and Impact of the Karnataka Building & Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board.
CIVIC, in collaboration with the students of Kolar P.G College, Bengaluru University, conducted a study on Evaluation of the Functioning, Effectiveness and Impact of the Karnataka Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. As part of the study, a sample survey through a questionnaire and Focussed Group Discussions were administered by the students of PG Centre of Kolar College, affiliated to Bengaluru University. Members of CIVIC and APSA assisted the students to choose samples in the slum settlements of Eastern and Southern Bengaluru. The study has collection information from secondary sources especially the recent Report on Labour Department by Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG)
The survey was conducted in the following slum settlements in Bengaluru
Basappa Budavane (Benganahalli, K.R.Puram)
Pai layout(A. Narayanapura, K.R.Puram)
Sanjay nagar( K.R.Puram)
Gulbarga colony (Jayanagar)
Sadanandnagar (Behind Byappanahalli Metro station, East Bangalore)
Appanna garden (Cox town)
The data was collected and compiled and tabulated and represented in the form excel charts so that community can comprehend the status of various services provided by the Welfare Board
Linkages with Poor and Non-Poor
Establishing Linkages with 3 Associations of Non-Poor in City
On 9-12-2014, CIVIC organised a Interactive Meeting on “Ward Budgets Tracking Toolkit” to the office bearers, Committee members of the Nagwara Residents Welfare Association in Nagwara, Bengaluru. Mr. Madhu Sudhan, Project Co-ordinator, shared through a PowerPoint presentation and the event coordinated by Mr. Veeresh, CIVIC ,Bengaluru.
The presentation covered the concept and application of the toolkit through a power point presentation. It focussed on the structure of the current municipal body, the functions as laid out in the 74th Amendment of the Constitution; the powers and responsibility of the Officials/Engineers from ward level to zone level and upto the city level. The presentation helped the participants to understand the various steps involved in drawing up a municipal budget; the expenditure and revenue heads involved. It specifically listed the various stages in implementing of works in any ward; works under the e-tendering/ e-procurement or special component for implementing emergency works.
The presentation utilised the case studies on DJ Halli Ward and Sagayapuram Ward, which underlines the present system of ward works implementation and the role of Corporator, Ward Committee members and Area Sabha representatives. The various stages of implementation of ward works was explained and the rules and regulation guiding each stage.
The importance of Social Audit or Concurrent Audit for checking the quality of works, training the members of citizen groups/ward committee members/citizens as social auditors.
During the discussion after the presentation, the members of the Associations of Nagwara and Kadugondanahalli wards, proposed to conduct to collect all documents regarding ward works and identified two works to conduct social audit on these ward works.
The members said that a presentation will be planned for the urban poor community due to fact that the works in the slums comes from the budgets of Karnataka Slum Development Board(KSDB). Before presenting to the Slum Improvement Communities(SIC), documents from KSDB and BBMP should be collected and analyzed. There is also need to trace the relationship between the BBMP and KSDB while providing services to slum community.
State Level Public Consultation on Status of PDS system and Framing Rules for the National Food Securities Act 2013
Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister for Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Karnataka, addressing the participants in the Consultation
More than 200 delegates from various organisations participated in the “State Level Public Consultation on Status of PDS system and Framing of Rules For The National Securities Act 2013″ on 3th & 4th November 2014 at the Auditorium of Jain College, J.C. Road, Bengaluru. The Consultation was organised by Right To Food Campaign – Karnataka.
Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister for Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Karnataka, Shri. Doraiswamy, Freedom Fighter, Shri. Y Mariswamy, State Organisor, Samijka Parivarthana Janandolona, Bengaluru, Smt. Neetu Sharma, National Law University, Bangalore, Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Shri. Abay, Smt. Shardha and Smt. Swarnalatha, organisors, Right To Food Campaign- Karnataka, participated in the Consultation.
Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj presented the “Draft Rules for the National Food Security Act 2013” on behalf of the “Right To Food Campaign Karnataka”. The presentation highlighted the convergence of all schemes & resources, establishment of Compliant Reddressal System and Universalization of PDS system in Karnataka. Smt. Neetu Sharma presented the Draft Rules prepared by the National Law University, Bengaluru, which has been submitted to the State Government.
The delegates from various districts presented their grievances related to PDS to Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister for Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Govt of Karnataka. Shri. Abay, one of the organisers of Right to Food Campaign – Karnataka presented a critical analysis on the functioning of the Public Distribution System in the State and appealed the Hon’ble Minister to streamline the functioning of the department.
Later addressing the delegates, Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister, promised to address all their grievances on a fast track basis and also explained various programmes being implemented by the Department.
After the consultation on 3 November 2014. Shri. Abay initiated a discussion among the delegates and requested them to submit a copy of their application with a covering letter of their grievances and file it and later submit to the PDS department in Bangalore. The delegates agreed to finish this task in 2 weeks.
On 4th November 2014, Shri. Doraiswamy, Freedom Fighter and Activist, addressed the Constituent members of Right to Food Campaign in Karnataka. He has asked the members to put up an united fight against the issues faced by the society. He shared about the recent “Mass Protest Dharna” against Land Encroachment by Land Mafia which resulted in Government’s action against land mafia and releasing large tracts of government land.
Shri. Abay addressing the constituent members shared about the coming together of all people’s movements for building a new “National Movement”. Five major people’s movement have expressed its interest for coming together of major people’s movement in the country. The members were asked to identify three major issues for taking forward the struggle. After discussion, there was unanimous agreement on the following three issues:-
1. Universalization of PDS and other govt services in Karnataka
2. Land sharing for the poor
3. To stop Privatization of education system, Water, Health and Anganawadi
The Meeting concluded with a commitment by the constituent members to take forward the Right to Food Campaign in Karnataka.
Grievance Redressal Meeting on PDS at Nagwara Ward
In the year 2014, the State Government ordered the verification of existing ration card holders to weed out duplicate and illegal card holders in the state. It set out the verification processes for which each member of the card holding family needs to send an SMS to an given phone number by the PDS dept., and also submission of EPIC cards, Voter Id cards, Aadhar cards and other documents. Each and every member of the family should send SMS to prove they are the member of the family. The ration card will be cancelled even If any one of the members of the family failed to send SMS to the prescribed number.
The department attempted to verify their database with the Election Commission’s database which resulted to delay in verification process due to technical problems arising out of the two databases. The flaws in the verification process led to disqualification of large number of legitimate card holders of the BPL category. People living in the slums and urban poor settlements were the worst affected. Added to the above woes, was stoppage of supply of kerosene oil and merging of AAY card holders into the BPL category.
Role of CIVIC and Right to Food Campiagn
CIVIC and members of the Right to Food Campiagn in Karnataka, raised these issues including the Framing of State Rules for the National Food Securities Act 2013, before the Hon’ble Minister Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Karnataka.
In Nagwara Ward, CIVIC organised Grievance Redressal Meeting(Adalat) in collaboration with Nagwara Residents Welfare Association. Shri. Chandre Gowda, Food Inspector was invited to the Meeting for addressing the issues concerning the ration cards particularly the residents of 5 slums in the ward. The slum residents turned out in large numbers to solve their individual issues relating to accessing BPL cards and denial of food grains by a local PDS shop.
Mr. Chandre Gowda, Food Inspector, Nagwara Ward, expressed happiness and appreciated the organisers for organizing the Adalat. He admitted the numerous issues faced by the people due to department’s action on verification of beneficiaries of the PDS system in Karnataka. He shared about the department’s order on sanctioning AAY rations and stoppage of kerosene in case the beneficiaries possess gas cylinders for cooking purposes in their homes. Mr. Chandre Gowda shared that he is awaiting the verification report from the BBMP for finalizing the beneficiaries list of the department in Nagawara.
Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee,CIVIC, said that the department is duty bound to conduct Adalat every week to address the various issues of ration cards by the people in the ward. She quoted the statement of Shri. Dinesh Gundu Roa, Hon’ble Minister, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Karnataka on verifying the card holder as not compulsory. She expressed apprehension that the department may not complete the verification process in the near future. She appealed to Food Inspector to ensure that the Adalats are organised once in a week or fortnight and address the issues of the people
Mr. Yunus Mohammed Sharief, General Secretary, Nagawara Residents Welfare Association, shared about the issues faced by the people related to ration cards and hoped that the Grievance Redressal Meeting(Adalat) will be help in solving the people at the earliest.
The participants, mostly women, shared the different types of issues faced by them in accessing the ration supplies from the ration shops and hardship experienced due to the verification process undertaken by the department.
The participants unanimously agreed to submit their grievance letters attested with copies of their ration cards and submit with the organisers for submission with the department.
After the GRM Meeting, the organisers, representatives of Slum Improvement Committees in Nagwara Ward and the Food Inspector held a planning meeting to work out the modalities to solve all issues of the BPL card holders in a phased manner.
The Nagwara Residents Welfare Association agreed to collect the grievance letters from the BPL card holders and the new applicants with supporting documents. The CIVIC team will provide their inputs, segregate and forward to the Food Inspector on weekly basis.
For the past two weeks, more than 200 applications have been verified by the above team forwarded to verification to the Food Inspector. As and when the new card are ready, the members of NRWA and CIVIC are distributing to the card holders.
CIVIC team is hoping that the experiment in Nagwara ward will be taken seriously by the department and replicated in other parts of Bengaluru and the State.
Preparation of urban poor manifesto with NGOs and groups
CIVIC conducted several meetings with a core group of about 8 NGOs to prepare the manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014. The draft manifesto was circulated among a wider group of NGOs for their comments, suggestions and endorsement. Finally 18 organisations participated and endorsed the manifesto. A meeting was organized to present the manifesto to political parties on 15th March 2014
On 29.9.2014, Smt. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, and Shri. Venkatesh, Project Co-ordinator, CIVIC participated as Resource Persons at the Training programme to supervisors, Department for women and child development, Yelahanka on Anganavadi roles and responsibility, venue CDPO office, Bengaluru.
The training programme focussed on the improving the functioning of Anganawadi centres in Yelahanka. The roles of Anganawadi workers, Supervisors in providing good quality nutritious food for the children, lactating mothers, Adolescent girls etc. The Anganawadi workers were imparted training programme on the Integrated Child Development Scheme and latest changes brought by the State and Central Government.
Bad quality of food items distributed in Anganawadi Centre in Yelahanka
On 4-12-2014, The Anganawadi Centre (No 1) of Bryana gunte division at Yelahanka in Bengaluru, has distributed inferior quality of groundnuts and Jaggery to children, adolescent girls and pregnant women. The food items were supplied by Women and Child Department as part of their programme to supply nutritious food to the beneficiaries of Anganawadi in Yelahanka
Shri. Venkatesh, Project Co-ordinator, CIVIC, was present at the anganawadi centre and witnessed the distribution of rotten groundnuts infested with worms , spoilt and liquidified jiggery to the beneficiaries’. After his enquiry with the Anganawadi workers, it was confirmed that the inferior quality of food items has been sent to the Anganawadi this month.
Shri. Venkatesh contacted Shri. Vasudeva, Deputy Director, Women and Child Development, Bengaluru, and brought the issue to his notice. Shri Vasudeva immediately ordered for stopping of distribution of food items in the Anganawadi. A notice has issued to the agency distributing the food items. On the same day, Mr. Venkatesh informed the Shri. Siddaramana, Child Development Planning officer, Yelahanka division, who promised to take strict action against the distributing agency. On 5-12-2014, Shri. Vasudeva, Deputy Director, Women and Child Development, Bengaluru and Shri. Siddaramana visited the Anganawadi and discussed the issue.
Shri. Venkatesh demanded that Women and Child Development Department should direct the Deputy Director to send notice and take action against the distributing agency. He also demanded that all actions taken should be documented in writing and accessible to CIVIC and Citizens groups in Bengaluru.
Public Consultation for Submission of Suggestions by Citizens Groups for Formation of Ward Committees on, 11th,July, 2014, on Karnataka Ward Committee and Area Sabha Act and Rules, organised by CIVIC in Jain College auditorium ,JC Road, Bangalore