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Residents perceive corporators as less corrupt than before,says NGO report card

On a scale of 1 to 7,the percentage of corporators who scored less than 4 points in the corruption index has reduced from 27.6 in 2011 to 9.7 in 2013

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Published: September 5, 2013 1:59:36 am

The performance of corporators since they were elected in March 2012,as perceived by residents,shows a marked improvement compared to the previous terms,says NGO Praja Foundation’s latest report card. In the ‘perceived performance’ section of the report,which was based on a random sample survey of 24,594 residents,‘corruption index’ shows a marked overall improvement for the 226 corporators. The survey was carried out by Hansa Research.

On a scale of 1 to 7,the percentage of corporators who scored less than 4 points in the corruption index has reduced from 27.6 in 2011 to 9.7 in 2013,while the percentage of those scoring above six points has largely remained the same.

According to the report,in 2011,Congress corporator Rajendra Mahulkar with 2 points,was rated the lowest on the corruption index. He also featured in the list of bottom 10 corporators of the civic body in terms of overall performance. The 2013 report shows that Shiv Sena corporator Alka Doke scored the least (2.38 points). Doke,who also features on the bottom 10 list for 2013 in terms of overall performance,is the only corporator to be rated below 3 points.

“In the perception survey,around 100 citizens for each of the 226 corporators’ constituencies were randomly picked. People were interviewed and asked to place their corporator on a scale ranging from very corrupt to very honest. Against popular belief,the perception of corruption among corporators has reduced as is seen in comparison to our previous reports,” said Milind Mhaske of Praja Foundation.

The percentage of councillors who scored above 6 points has increased marginally from 12.5 per cent in 2011 to 12.8 per cent this year. While in 2011,two corporators – Abdul Malik (Nationalist Congress Party) and Sabira Shaikh (Congress) – scored 7 points on the index,2013 did not see the same show of full faith for any single corporator. The best performer on the index this year was BJP corporator Ram Barot,who scored 6.94 points. He was ranked 38 with a ‘C’ grade in his overall performance.

Barot,who has been critical of Praja’s survey said,“Honesty is a vague concept that can only be seen through years of work and relationship shared with residents. In this line of work,all citizens can never be pleased at the same time. Praja has evaluated us based on what is seen on paper,but a lot is done on the ground than what is recorded officially.”

‘Assessment lacks scientific approach’

A day after NGO Praja Foundation released its annual report card on the performance of municipal councillors,senior corporators have criticised the report claiming that assessment was based on words rather than action.

Samajwadi Party corporator of M-East ward,Rais Shaikh,who has been ranked 152 among 226 corporators with an overall ‘D’ grade said,“The methodology used to assess the performance is highly theoretical and depends on numbers. The study lacks a scientific approach. In other countries like the US,such evaluations are carried out on the basis of qualitative data that takes into account efforts and achievements.”

In his report card,Shaikh,who is also a member of the standing committee,was given a ‘B’ for attendance to various meetings of the corporation,an ‘E’ for number of questions asked,an ‘F’ for relevance of question and a ‘D’ for his perceived performance in his constituency. Another member of the standing committee,MNS leader Dilip Lande,who was ranked 40 with an overall ‘C’ grade said,“Some on the list of top 10 are known for doing very little work,apart from vocal participation in debates during House sessions.”

Shiv Sena corporator Anuradha Pednekar,who has been ranked 8th said the evaluation had been just. “I have a 100 per cent attendance record. I filed complaints when there were problems in my ward and followed up on them till they were addressed.”

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