The Delhi government is working towards the creation of its own answer to the municipal bodies — the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA). Covering municipal wards to mohalla sabhas, this society-like body will take charge of grassroots-level development work, officials said.
The concept has been derived from mohalla sabhas, a citizen’s grouping much used by the AAP in the pre-election period. The draft of this agency is yet to be finalised and vetted by various departments but, officials said, once it’s in place, much of the work related to development in neighbourhoods will be overseen by DUDA.
In a way, urban department will be decentralised and work will be given to this agency at the district level.
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“Each of the 11 districts will have a DUDA unit to approve works. This way, government departments will only have to deal with major projects and policy-related work,” the official added.
The government has asked the law department to prepare a draft to give DUDA teeth and legal standing. “It is aimed at delivering results quickly. The more the decentralisation, the more effectively work can get done. DUDA will also have financial powers,” said a source.
He said currently MLAs have to go to department heads even for small work such as using chaupals and shifting a dispensary. Once DUDA is in place, this could be handled at the district level as MLAs too will be part of it, being elected representative.
Mohalla sabhas have been used by the AAP to get to the grassroots in the absence of a good working relationship with the BJP-ruled municipal corporations.
The new development agency, sources said, could be an effort to bypass not only the difficult department level decision-making but also the civic bodies.