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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 44, New Delhi, October 17, 2020

Capacity Development For RWAS For COVID 19 | Ashok Kumar Sahay

Saturday 17 October 2020

by Dr Ashok Kumar Sahay *

City planning is a highly complex process that tries to capture the necessities of life in all its variety. This is beyond the comprehension of a single individual or agency and calls for the widest kind of participation. Cities have a wealth of talent and experience. Given the complexity of city life, participatory planning immediately enriches the process and quality of plans if such talent, experience, and insights to feed into them. For the civic Participation, issues that merits attention through good urban governance, the idea of citizens participating and sharing the heart of democratic governance from the ancient days of city. Indeed, the focal theme in local government functioning word ‘self’. Several factors mandate local participation. Local administration handles issues that are vital to citizens in their daily lives, hence they have immediate interest and stake in the performance of those services.

They are also matters on which local knowledge, wisdom, and sharing have the ability to improve the quality of service delivery and local governments have the innate capacity to mobilize community participation on these vital concerns. There is, therefore, a strong case for taking expert knowledge down to the communities and fertilizing it with community-based wisdom. It was also realized that there was a need to define the roles of different community stakeholders along with governmental functionaries and work out coordination plans leading to the preparation of a community-based strategic plan. In civic participation, but the role of participation is not merely from the point of view of the necessities of democratic polity or improvement of service delivery. While the civic body turns into a training ground for democracy and educates citizens in public functioning, and the pros and cons of public policies, emotional commitment of the citizenry.

For the training for trainers program the urban local bodies can plan, monitor, and evaluate for COVID 19 prevention preparedness on pre and post situation work for each ward and organize training for Resident’s Welfare Associations —RWAs. An expert committee should be constituted at Municipality level to assist and guide the RWAs members. Training programme for the RWAs must be taken in to account the local area based cultural, local, linguistic and social factors. By this way, they will enable them to understand their rights and responsibilities. Inter-district exchange visits of the RWAs must become a regular feature of the capacity building exercises. An all India annual conference of the selected RWAs can be institutionalized. This will lend a sense of Institutional solidarity and enhance the motivation of the RWAs to articulate their problem to the public, the media and the political leadership.

Each local authority can enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations, and private through a consultative process. Only then, city Planning assumes added significance. Aspects of life and services that are closest to citizens are transacted and delivered at the local level. Their quality or their absence directly and most tellingly affect the daily lives of citizens. Since it is also possible to foster, relationships among various civic actors in of a compact, circumscribed geographical change of ever greater degrees of success. The opening of civic body meetings to public attendance is a further avenue of imparting transparency in cities It will need to start with creating a concept of a local community which combines the e municipal ward/district into a cohesive unit of basis local government that is small enough to be focused on the immediate needs of its residents while being large enough to afford the basic infrastructure to provide.

There can be partnering between citizens and setting up of RWAs committees. These are non-political citizen’s welfare committees, set up throughout the city. RWAs welfare committees will do the work for water harvesting, keeping a watch on consumption and electricity supply, solid waste management, sanitation, community policing, women safety, citizen safety, civic issues, education, sports, youth affairs, and above all promote the development of the local area.

One of the encouraging features of urban civil society and non-governmental organizations increasingly participate in the affairs of their cities. Non-governmental organizations can also play a healthy role in cities to the voice and demands of the less privileged. It has been seen such deprived communities, which are low in self-confidence motivation, requires the stimulus of external participation which leads their meaningfully public life. In these circumstances are more likely to promote the participation of the poor and serve their interests.

Resident welfares associations should participate fruitfully in resolving civic issues. Because Resident welfares associations are crucial in day to day delivery in civic amenities. It’s RWAs which look after crucial civic duties and local laws and order issues of residents. Therefore the Government should give them legal rights on lines of village Gram Sabhas so that they can function effectively with the requisite authority. 73RD constitution amendment 1992 Act gave rural Gram Sabhas and panchayat legal sanctions similar provisions of the 74th constitution amendment 1992 Act have not been enforced in urban areas. It’s important they are included and consulted in all matters pertaining to civic amenities and new policies by the administration affecting residents.

(* Author:

Dr Ashok Kumar Sahay. Consultant, ISS, New Delhi)

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