People's Participation in Urban Governance
The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution provide a comprehensive structure for rural and urban local government institutions. The constitutional status of panchayats and nagarpalikas enable them to function as institutions of self-government. Participation of the people in local governments is an important objective of these Amendments. Like gram sabhas in villages, the ward committees in towns and cities ensure proximity between the people and their elected representatives by providing a structured platform for addressing the local problems of citizens. This book critically examines whether wards committees have been a help or a hindrance to peoples participation; the extent of interaction between wards committees and the people on the one hand and elected representatives on the other; and whether wards committees have been able to secure accountability to the people. This book builds on studies conducted by CIVIC (Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City) of Bangalore, DARSHN (Development Action through Self Help Network) in Kerala, YUVA (Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action) in Maharashtra, the Eastern Regional Centre of ISS (Institute of Social Sciences) in Kolkata, and ISS, New Delhi in the respective cities of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal. This study also critically looks into the innovative Bhagidari system in Delhi.