ADDRESSED TO ALL POLITICAL PARTIES FIELDING CANDIDATES AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES STANDING FOR BBMP ELECTIONS 2015
AN OPEN LETTER FROM CITIZENS’ ACTION FORUM- CAF’S Citizens’ Charter of Demands for the BBMP Elections 2015 Manifestoes.
We from Citizens’ Action Forum (CAF) have met with our partner RWAs and have compiled critical suggestions for the manifestos of all the political parties fielding candidates and independent candidates alike for the BBMP Elections 2015. At the outset, we would like to thank the BJP-Bangalore for taking a welcome step of inviting CAF for a discussion and seeking suggestions for their manifesto for the BBMP Elections 2015. We believe civil society participation is non-negotiable especially in determining the key issues that affect citizens today.
We at CAF work with RWAs who are a part of our forum with the objective of strengthening public participation in decision making and ensuring a sustained interaction between Government and civil society. We are also seeking that a “continued dialogue” with the corporators even post the BBMP elections” so as to encourage transparency, accountability which visibly increases ownership of citizens for their city.
In this context, based on the interaction and experiences of our managing committee, individual members and RWA members, we would like to suggest the following commitments to be made and kept by the political parties fielding candidates for the forthcoming BBMP elections, as we believe this will go a long way in creating trust and also in the process bring about a sea change in the local political equations.
CAF seeks all parties and independent candidates to commit to following points in the manifesto with timelines.
A) BEST PRACTICES THAT NEED TO BE ADHERED TO, PRIOR ELECTIONS;
Selection of clean candidates
We want you to select, screen and support worthy candidates that includes performing corporators from the present lot who are clean, ethical and socially committed. We want all political parties to refrain from fielding candidates with against whom criminal cases are filed, for which maximum punishment is of five years or more, is non-bailable, or is an electoral offence or bribery charges, is related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnap, rape-related, or those under the Representation of the People Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and Crimes against women.
Zero-tolerance of corruption
We are seeking an undertaking in your manifesto that your party will make all efforts as and when required to maintain probity in public life.
Limit expenses and ensure transparency
The party should on its own accord to implement ceiling on expenses during election period and declare the money spent ensuring transparency.
Set a precedent by ensuring no conflict of interest
Given the absolute mess the system is in, especially in creating and implementing an effective policy for solid waste management, and the main impediment often quoted being the conflict of interests of some corporators, who have built a business “out of this duty”. we from CAF think that the interest of the city would be best served if NO CORPORATOR CAN HAVE “personal business” linkages with BBMP related works. The issue of having private financial interests which come in conflict with the public interest must be avoided.
Guarantee declaration of sources of income by candidates
Along with the declaration of their assets and liabilities, candidates should also declare their income and sources of income at the time of nominations. The issue of having private financial interests which come in conflict with the public interest must BE MADE PUBLIC and such disclosures by them will pre-empt scenarios where conflict of interest may impede the process of policy making, and this must be comprehensively addressed at the highest priority.
B) BEST PRACTICES TO BE FOLLOWED BY ALL ELECTED, POST ELECTIONS
Implementing the 74th Constitution Amendment Act in letter and spirit
Elected corporators will be Sewaks and not masters of their respective wards. They will ensure functional ward committees within the first quarter with genuine civic representatives and they will hold citizens’ meetings (ward sabhas) regularly, inviting suggestions from citizens and reporting updates on works undertaken. They will ensure a sustained involvement of civil society in the framing of new policies, programmes and procedures of BBMP and yearly review of the existing ones.
Bangalore one centres to also double up a information – grievance cells
Bangalore one centres to be opened in all wards with additional responsibilities of having information from meteorological department and a number to call for corruption.
Website of each ward
Every corporator will maintain a website with details of priorities in his ward, his spending of his fund, works undertaken, important telephone numbers in the government office, list speedy redressal of common grievances of citizens, connected with local and essential municipal services like water supply, drainage, sanitation and storm water disposal;
Ensure Participation and Transparency by setting priorities of the ward with local people and regular Declaration of Program of Works undertaken.
Each elected corporator must publish once in 6 months atleast details about the program of works taken up with their fund given to them ever year, it is 3 crores in core areas or those in peripheral areas have Rs 4 crores per year to spend on developmental works for their ward development.
Ensuring a good livability index
Corporators will work together with inputs from scientific community at the city level to move towards Water security, better Air quality, integrated transportation with last mile connectivity, and fostering zoning laws, ensuring accessibility to all public spaces esp for the physically challenged, footpaths, protection of CA sites, solid waste management, swach bharat, delivery of quality healthcare , housing for urban poor, digital access and quality education in BBMP schools esp by ensuring timely support in the form of books and uniform esp to the economically marginalized.
Contribute to revival of lake and river network in bangalore
Corporators need to ensure completion of underground drainage system and treatment plants on priority, so the lakes do not become easy dumping grounds.
Bring financial transparency in the accounts of BBMP
Corporators to be Judicious and plan expenditure of their funds with complete involvement of local community from planning to implementation to monitoring. Thus leading to transparency in financial dealings and they should make sure that there is an yearly BBMP audit.
Contribute to a vision document for urban planning and disaster preparedness for Bangalore
Formulation of local area plans and plans for each department (eg. disaster preparedness, public health, municipal schools, etc.) so as to achieve measurable and co-ordinated objectives for each area, and to monitor the implementation of such plans with public participation. Proactively ensure adherence to laws in your ward wrt to Zoning, commercial developments, Parking requirements, protection of CA sites from being encroached
We believe if this is clearly projected in your manifesto it will result in strengthening peoples’ faith in process .More so these commitments if upheld, will make a significant difference in improving not only the governance of our cities, but also will considerably improve the lives of citizens, and thus should be a powerful and integral part of any manifesto that is adopted. We hope you will take our suggestions seriously so as to accomplish goals of clean politics and people-centric governance.