In observance of Kannada Rajyotsava Week, Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “Emerging Trends in Public Participation in Governance- The Experience and Lessons for Karnataka”, by Mr. Ramesh Ramanathan, Co-founder, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, on Friday, 4th November, 2011 at 6:30 pm. The Talk was moderated by Mr. AdityaSondhi, Practising Lawyer and Law Teacher.
In a lucid analysis, Ramesh highlighted the enormous distance which has been created by the archaic urban local self-government system between the urban population and the decision-makers. Apart from the fact that there is no significant devolution of funds to Municipal bodies, the pattern of representation leads to a huge disconnect between the citizens and the registered votes and their elected representatives to such bodies. This disconnect leads to a large number of urban citizens becoming either indifferent or apathetic to the governance issues. The same disconnect prevents the elected representatives to take note of ground-level realities and take appropriate actions. Ramesh’s suggestions were simple. Make the decision-making formations closer to the ground and associate all the citizens residing there with decision-making, monitoring and supervision. Such types of structural reforms have been already suggested by the Government of India while providing funds under JNNURM to the states and already implemented by Andhra Pradesh. The improvement in Governance through association of concerned citizens, Ramesh emphasized, could be enormous. The interactive session which followed provoked a lot of discussion and the consensus was almost totally in favour of the structural reforms suggested by Ramesh.