Mangaluru, Jan 6: To strengthen civic participation and facilitate ward committee meetings with citizens in Mangaluru, Mangaluru City Corporation and Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy organised a Ward Committee training workshop for the newly appointed Ward Committee members on Thursday at Kundmul Rangarao Townhall.
Inaugurating the programme, Mangaluru Mayor Premanand Shetty said that Ward Committees act as link between the ward residents and Corporators who represent the Mangaluru City Corporation.
“Mangaluru is the second city in the state to implement Ward Committees. The members have many responsibilities. They need to assess the facilities and infrastructure in the ward, ensure Solid Waste Management happens effectively, ensure timely collection of taxes, prepare and submit ward development scheme to the Corporation among others. Hence, it is important that Ward Committees meet every month to enhance transparency, accountability and smooth functioning,” the Mayor said.
“There are a few criteria for one to become a ward committee member. In some wards, we could not find eligible applicants. We will be taking steps in the future days to invite applicants in these wards and hence strengthen the ward committees to function in its full capacity,” the Mayor added.
“Ward Committees are a constitutional mandate. There were some challenges in forming Ward Committees in Mangaluru. But this was because we wanted to ensure it happens in a proper and transparent manner. We invited applications, objections and even assessed every objection we received. We worked with the Police Commissioner to verify the profiles of the Ward Committee applicants and then the final list was released. We are open to changes if any issues, even in the future. We want citizens to have confidence in this decentralized process,” said Mangaluru City Commissioner Akshy Sridhar.
“To ensure Ward Committees function smoothly, we need to have a collaborative approach and not a conflict approach. Ward Committees need to work as a consulting body where problems can be discussed and solutions can be thought about and implemented,” Sridhar added.
Speaking on the commencement of Ward Committees, the dates and venues will be announced at the earliest, Sridhar said.
Sapna Karim, Head, Civic Participation, Janaagraha, resource person for the Workshop, explained functions of Ward Committees, responsibilities of the Ward Committee members as well as the process on how Ward Committees meetings need to be held.
“Ward Committees are a starting point of governance that a citizen can engage with. It empowers citizens to vote on local decisions. Helps implement ''bottom-up" approach in planning and budgeting. Ward Committees play a key role in planning, prioritizing, supervising & validating civic works,” Sapna added.
Dr Shikaripura Krishnamurthy, Director, Abhiyanam, Organisation for Research and Training in HRD said that Ward Committees play a key role in deciding the development of the Ward. He said that every member needs to assess the facilities in the ward and grade the ward. Only then, one can get a clear idea on what the ward lacks and how it can be developed. Each ward member should inculcate a competitive spirit to make their ward the best, he added.
Ward Committee Training Workshop for Councillors and Nodal Officers
A Ward Committee Training Workshop was held for Councillors and Nodal Officers at MCC Council Hall on Wednesday.
The workshop was taken up by Sapna Karim, Head, Civic Participation, Janaagraha and Dr Shikaripura Krishnamurthy, Director, Abhiyanam, Organisation for Research and Training in HRD.
Janaagraha is a non-profit trust, working towards the mission of transforming the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. Founded in 2001 by Ramesh Ramanathan and Swati Ramanathan, it started as a movement to include people’s participation in public governance and has now evolved into a robust institution for citizenship and democracy. The core idea of Janaagraha’s work does not revolve around fixing problems but instead seeking to fix the system that can solve the problems. To achieve this objective, Janaagraha works with citizens to catalyse active citizenship in city neighbourhoods and with governments to institute reforms to city governance (what we call “City-Systems”).
We believe that improved quality of life is directly linked to improved quality of infrastructure, services, and citizenship. Janaagraha hence works at intersections to fix the city systems across law, policy, institutions with a specific focus on sectors such as Climate Change, Gender Equality & Public Safety, Water and Sanitation, Education, and Public Health using tools and activities like Civic Participation, Municipal Finance, Advocacy and instilling 21st Century skills among youth to empower them to become active citizens. By strengthening urban capacities and resources, Janaagraha aims to achieve its mission of improving City Systems and Quality of life.
In January 2021, Janaagraha had organized participatory budgeting initiative MyCityMyBudget in Mangaluru. Over 1000 Mangaluru citizens submitted inputs how Mangaluru budget needs to be spent, which was later made into a report and submitted to the MCC.