First in India, a State Level Meeting to Strengthen Ward Committees by KWSB

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First in India, a State Level Meeting to Strengthen Ward Committees by Karnataka Ward Samiti Balaga, Bengaluru which is gathering momentum

Bengaluru: State level convention of the Karnataka Ward Samiti Balaga, Bengaluru was held on 18 September 2022 at Hotel Ashraya International, Bengaluru. Sri. Padmanabha Reddy, Former Opposition Party Leader BBMP, Smt Gangambike Mallikarjun, Ex-Mayor, BBMP, Shri R. Balasubramanya, OSD, Karnataka Administrative Reforms Commission–2, Govt. of Karnataka and delegates from major cities across the state who are actively involved in strengthening ward committees attended the daylong meeting.

The city representatives presented their experiences, learnings and way forward to strengthen the ward committee in their city. Citing the new BBMP Act, section 86(4), former Leader of the BBMP Council. Padmanabha Reddy said in his address that the new Act mentions that resolutions by ward committees should only be suggestive in nature and therefore reduces the real powers of the ward committees vested by the constitution to merely suggestions. He called upon NGOs/ interested citizens to critically study, and analyse the regulations, legislations & it’s implications on Citizens’ Rights.

“The State Government has not given the powers to Corporators & Ward Committees that the Constitution has given”, said Padmanabha Reddy, four times Corporator. Ward committee would help the elected representatives to interact with the citizens of their respective wards. This will also avoid people commenting that elected representatives meet people only during elections. Ward committees will also help people to understand the budget allocated in their ward and prioritise ward development work, said Gangambika, Ex-mayor.

“The younger generation needs to be groomed in matters of governance, complaining is easy, engagement is tough. One can make use of ward committees as a platform to enhance active civic participation”, said R Balasubramanyam, OSD, KARC-2. Further, he called upon citizen delegates to refer to the KARC website and upload their suggestions to the website.

“Karnataka has always been a pioneer in decentralised local governance and today’s first convention of Karnataka Ward Samiti Balaga showed why that is. We have many responsible citizens in every city who want to improve the quality of life for all citizens and they are willing to collaborate with city governments using institutionalised mechanisms like ward committees. Today we heard from men and women (the real stakeholders of the democratic system) from Belagavi to Mysuru, from Mangaluru to Kalaburgi, Davanagere to Ballari, on their resolve to work together on the ground, to strengthen the ward Samitis given to us by law. We are proud to support the Karnataka Ward Samiti Balaga as responsible citizens forum across our state”, said Srinivas Alavilli, Head of Civic Participation, Bengaluru.

“Every civic problem is a global problem that requires local action. As part of the PIP model, (Partnership in Progress) Partnerships with different stakeholders can bring transparency and change, said Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO of Janaagraha.

Following are the key resolutions passed by the Balaga –

  • Establish functional ward committees in all cities of Karnataka.
  • Encourage citizens to participate in the city administration and budgeting process through the ward committees and contribute to improving the quality of life in their neighbourhoods and cities.
  • Work with the city leaders (officials, elected representatives, political, and civic society organisations) in a collaborative manner to raise awareness among citizens about ward committees and participatory governance.
  • Strengthen our network across the state and work for necessary reforms in urban governance in Karnataka.

Background

The Karnataka Ward Samiti Balaga was launched in June 2022 with a vision to strengthen the system of ward committees and participatory budgeting across the cities and towns of Karnataka by networking and collaborating with the city governments, civil society and political leadership, and nurture a strong community of active citizens, striving to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhoods and their cities. Over the last 3 months, the local
citizen communities in different cities have come together, strengthened themselves, organised meets, formed City-level Coordination Committees (CLCCs), and advocated with the city corporation Commissioners, Mayors and councillors to get the ward committees started in their cities or to make them more effective, where they are already operational.

Please contact us for further details:
Mahalakshmi B – 9986016557
Santosh Nargund – 9916135836


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