End YellowSpots, improve footpaths, improve quality of parks—Citizens’ wish list for ward level budgets

#MyCityMyBudget 2022-23 –another year of overwhelming response from citizens for ward level budget allocations for footpaths, public toilets and parks.

MyCityMyBudget, the annual participatory budgeting campaign run by the BBMP in collaboration with Janaagraha and community organisations, was held between February 23 and March 20, 2022 .

The campaign reached all 198 The campaign reached all 198 wards under the leadership of community groups, apartment associations, federations and resident welfare associations.

A total of 7238 budget inputs were provided by Citizens to make Namma Bengaluru a walkable, public urination-free and green city—

  • 3290 for Public Toilets (46%)
  • 2188 for footpath improvements (30%) and
  • 1760 for parks (24%).
MCMB citizen inputs
MyCityMyBudget inputs from citizens. Pic credit: Janaagraha

Among these categories:

  • In footpaths ‘new footpaths’ has received the maximum inputs,
  • In parks ‘lack of playing and gym equipment’ appear to be an oft repeated issue and
  • In public toilets, inputs still highlight ‘lack of public toilets’ and the resulting public urination or yellow spots as the main issue.
Top 3 complaints- category-wise
MyCityMyBudget top 3 complaints from citizens. Pic credit: Janaagraha

Shantala Nagara, Ramamurthy Nagara and Sanjay Nagara were the top three wards in number of budget inputs The top 3 zones were East, South and Bommanahalli. The East zone topped with 28% of the inputs, with maximum inputs on public toilets.

MyCityMyBudget ward-wise inputs top 3 wards
MyCityMyBudget ward-wise inputs. Pic credit: Janaagraha

Read more: Pothole deaths: For concerned officials, no accountability, no action, no deterrence

BBMP made national history in the BBMP Budget 2021-22 by allocating 120cr or 60L per ward for repairing footpaths, potholes and borewells to be implemented by Ward Committees. Subsequent to this announcement, Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta (IAS) convened a training session for nodal officers to implement this with Ward Committees.

“Budget inputs from citizens signal the hope and commitment citizens have towards fixing the city,” says Gupta. “We took a first step last year by allocating focused budgets for Ward Committees to implement. We expect to continue to support Ward Committees similarly in the coming year too.”

“It is heartening to see the continued engagement of citizens in BBMP’s MyCityMyBudget campaign this year too,” says Thulasi Maddineni (IAS), Special Commissioner, Finance, BBMP. “Over the last year, citizens and ward committee volunteers from many wards have been in touch with me on the allocation and utilisation of the budget allocated for Ward Committees. I believe this is a good sign, and we should continue to encourage citizen participation in the city’s and ward’s development.”

Srinivas Alavilli, Head, Civic Participation at Janaagraha says: “Budget allocations to ward committees is a brand new chapter in participatory budgeting and we are pleased to see deep and meaningful engagement of citizens to make their wards better. Local issues are best resolved locally with empowered ward committees and we are hopeful that BBMP will continue to devolve funds to ward level and focus on fixing issues brought forth in this process.”

“MyCityMyBudget in its sixth year now shows that there is no stopping the citizens of Bengaluru when it comes to the future of their city,” says Sapna Karim of Janaagraha. “Year on year they participate in the thousands, a clear sign of democratic engagement. BBMP made a pioneering start last year with the ward level budget allocations, and we trust that this year will be no different, and that ward allocations will continue and we hope there is greater allocation to fulfil citizen demands.”

Janaagraha has collected, categorised, analysed and shared this data with the BBMP for the Ward Engineers to refer to as they begin implementing ward level budgets.

Next steps for ward committees once BBMP Budget 2022-23 is released:

  • Ward Committees can access their ward list of budget inputs for footpaths and parks from www.mycity mybudget.in
  • Janaagraha will provide the number of public toilets required to be built from the budget inputs received in the first week of April. It can also be downloaded from www.mycitymybudget.in
  • Ward Committees should work with the Ward Engineers to estimate costs for footpaths and other improvements identified in their wards
  • Ward Committees should discuss the costing and prioritisation with their nodal officers in the ward committee meetings, pass a resolution and track implementation with the engineer
  • A monthly review of the budgets and works being implemented should be undertaken in the Ward Committee meetings

Read more : Ward committee meetings lack proper rules, representation and legal framework

Janaagraha worked with five wards as a pilot to help implement the footpath budget allocation. In these five wards, the community groups undertook scientific surveys, worked with the engineers to cost it, passed a resolution in their Ward Committee meeting and submitted it to the BBMP for implementation. It is now in the process of being tendered and work orders issued. We hope to see this process play out in all 198 wards in the coming year.

About Janaagraha:

Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is a non-profit trust in the Jana group co-founded by Swati Ramanathan and Ramesh Ramanathan in 2001. Janaagraha’s mission is to transform the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. It works with citizens to catalyse active citizenship in city neighbourhoods and with governments to institute reforms in city governance (what we call “City-Systems”).

The “City-Systems” framework is a whole-of-systems approach to devising solutions.. It comprises four distinct yet interdependent components: Urban Planning and Design (master plans, design standards for public utilities), Urban Capacities and Resources (municipal finance, municipal staffing and technology), Political Leadership (empowerment, legitimacy) and Transparency and Citizen Participation (public disclosures, citizen participation, service level guarantees and grievance redressal).

For further details contact:
Mahalakshmi Balasubramanian
99860 16557

[This article is based on a press release from Janaagraha.]

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