In a first-of-its-kind survey, a Mumbai-based organisation has highlighted the status of civic services and the conduct of elected representatives in the three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD).
Praja Foundation conducted the survey during a one-year period, from January to December 2014, and compiled most of its data from responses to RTI applications. The findings of the survey are hardly encouraging; a report by the Foundation claimed that the MCD administration was “non-responsive and non-accountable” while the councillors in charge of looking after their wards were “disengaged”.
The survey also revealed other facts: according to it, 28 of the 272 councillors, including current and former mayors, had never raised a single query in their term as councillor.
“The main role of an elected representative is to deliberate, but when 28 of 272 councillors do not raise issues, governance clearly suffers,” said Nitai Mehta, managing trustee, Praja Foundation.
The survey found that the current complaint redressal system of the MCDs – North, South and East – was majorly flawed. “Complaints are maintained in a register and are often handwritten, making them illegible at times,” stated the report by Praja Foundation.
According to data collected over six months, more than 1,100 of the 31,000 complaints filed with the MCD in that period were not legible. The foundation suggested a “complete overhaul” of the MCD’s grievance redressal system to tackle the problem.
Of the 31,551 complaints, over 9,000 were about the “nuisance” caused by stray dogs, cows, monkeys and other animals, but the issue was raised by councillors during corporation meetings only 243 times, said the report.
Highlighting the problem of unauthorised constructions in the capital, citizens of Delhi submitted over 20,000 complaints about the issue between January and June 2014. The maximum number of complaints, 3,449, were from Karol Bagh area, stated the survey.
In its report, Praja Foundation said that the survey had indicated a “non-responsive and non-accountable administration and disengaged councillors”.
As far as attendance in the MCD meetings were concerned, the ruling BJP fared only a tad better than the opposition parties; BJP councillors had 60 per cent attendance while Congress members had 59 per cent attendance. Samajwadi Party councillors had the maximum attendance — nearly 85 per cent — in corporation meetings.
Women councillors had better attendance compared to men, according to the Praja Foundation report.
The organisation is now planning to bring out “report cards” on MCD councillors as well as Delhi MLAs.
The report also suggested that the councillors need to become “more assertive” in the way they tackle and address citizen’s grievances and they need to “ensure that proactive steps are taken to ensure implementation.”