Dear Bangalore Blue Print Action Group, this is not the way to plan the city!

Dear members of civil society, who are the members of the newly formed Bangalore Blueprint Action Group,

I am writing to you today because, like you, I care about Namma Bengaluru and I want its governance to improve. And I believe every one of us in the city can make a difference to its future.

First, I am happy that the Government values your advice. The input of people who have both ideas and passion for the city should always be welcome in government. Many of you have a track record of interest in the welfare of the city, and therefore I see it as a good thing that your input is being solicited.

However, in your appointment to the Action Group, there is one glaring oversight. The law, as you all know, requires the planning of the city to be carried out by a Metropolitan Planning Committee, duly constituted in accordance with the 74th Amendment Act.

In such a situation, it is not right to have the functions of the MPC being carried out by other entities outside the constitutional framework.

In the past, many of you have been strong supporters of the MPC. In your own recommendations to governments and reforms commissions, the MPC finds mention. Many of you have served in positions explicitly designed to bring about constitutional and administrative reforms.

Against that background, it would be improper to be part of the Action Group.

At the same time, as I said earlier, I value the inputs that many of you can bring to the government. The way to achieve this is for you to be members of the MPC itself, and bring about the needed changes through legal institutions of governance.

Please also recall that extra-constitutional bodies tend to be limited to the life of the governments that appoint them. Both ABIDe and BATF died with the governments that set them up. Whereas what the city needs is PERMANENT intervention for improvement through the MPC.

It is also particularly worrying that the Action Group has been constituted without including the Mayor of the city. Surely that is undemocratic. The partisanship of governments cannot decide the legitimacy of role-play. We must work with each other, even when we disagree.

For these reasons, I urge you to advise the government to nominate you to the MPC instead, and disband the Action Group. I would be delighted to see you as a member of the MPC, and will gladly help in whatever way I can to help make that institution strong and lasting.

With affection and regards,
Ashwin

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