‘Corporators’ rank better,performance dips’

Women councillors not far behind their male counterparts,says Praja Foundation’s analysis for the past year

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: September 4, 2013 1:28:53 am

NGO Praja Foundation’s annual report card on municipal councillors,released Tuesday,reveals that there has been a general drop in their overall performance of the city’s elected representatives.

The corporators have been judged on attendance,number of questions asked,importance of questions,quality of questions,criminal record,and perceived performance. A survey of 29,594 citizens was conducted by Hansa Research to judge public perception of councillors’ work.

Of the 226 corporators elected last February,39 have been re-elected. The ranks of more than half the re-elected corporators have risen dramatically,though their overall scores have not shown a proportionate increase. In the case of one re-elected corporator,his rank improved by six places despite his overall score decreasing.

None of the corporators has scored an ‘A’ grade (80-100 per cent). Hemangi Worlikar of Shiv Sena,who ranks first,scored 78.22 per cent and earned a ‘B’ grade.

Of the top 10 corporators,Yashodhar Phanse and Anuradha Pednekar from the Shiv Sena are re-elected councillors. While in 2011,Pednekar’s rank was 51 with a score of 68.87,she ranks eighth in 2013 with a score of 73.46. Despite Phanse’s score decreasing from 77.76 in 2011 to 75.48 this year,his rank has moved up by six points to third in 2013.

Congress corporator and BMC standing committee member Asif Zakaria’s rank jumped from 153 in 2011 to 16 in 2013. His overall score increased from 55.6 in 2011 to only 72.43 in 2013.

However,over 50 per cent of the corporators’ perceived performance in their respective constituencies is at best,a ‘C’ grade (60-70 per cent).

Moreover,while citizens filed around 1.5 lakh civic complaints in a year since the elections,the percentage of related questions corporators have asked is just 20.8.

Nitai Mehta,managing trustee of the Praja Foundation,said,“There has been a general decline in the quality of work by the elected representatives. However,this year,on account of the 50 per cent reservation for women,a new crop of corporators has come in. They are still getting acquainted with the system.”

Only one councillor has asked more than 50 questions during the year,while 13 have not asked a single question and 17 have asked merely one question. A majority of councillors have asked less than 10 questions. Of the 2,235 questions asked in one year,52 per cent were by Phanse.

The silver lining in the report card is said to be in gender analysis. The average score of women corporators is 57.62 per cent,which is just about two per cent lower than the average marks of their male counterparts.

“Gender-wise,the male politicians’ performance has been marginally better than women. Seven of top 10 corporators — including the first ranker — are women. This shows that with a little more experience,women politicians could outperform the men in BMC,” said Mehta.

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