|6 month internal review of BMC-NGO Council MoU:
(period 12th June to 12th Dec. 2006)
· In June 2006, a proposal for setting up Ham Radio Communication for Disaster Management by JNA Wireless Association, Malabar Hill Residents' Association and the NGO Council was accepted by BMC and implemented and this proved extremely useful during the train blasts.
· On 7th July, 2006, the first meeting of the Mayor's Swachcha Mumbai Samiti was held. The NGO Council was told at this meeting to receive complaints from citizens regarding cleanliness and forward them to Shri Rajeev, Additional M.C., for discussion at these monthly meetings.
· A meeting was held with Shri Rajeev, on 12th July, where he stated that he does not have time to interact with NGOs on a one-to-one basis, but will respond to any queries / issues that may be raised through existing frameworks of interaction, such as the Mayor's monthly meeting for Cleanliness.
The NGO Council has received citizens' complaints and forwarded the same
to Shri Rajeev, as well as displayed all complaints received at:
· In July 2006, Additional M. C., Shri Srivastava, announced that
independent and qualified Education Advisory Boards comprising social
activists and educationists would be set up in each ward, in order to
bring the civic schools on par with the private schools. The NGO Council
invited responses to the above and submitted to Shri Srivastava, a list
of organisations and experts interested in being on the BMC Education
Advisory Boards. The same are publicly displayed at:
· In August 2006, P.A.W.S. (Plant & Animals Welfare Society,
Thane) publicly released an Inspection Report on the Byculla Zoo, and
in September 2006, the NGO Council submitted to the BMC, responses received
to the PAWS Zoo report. Report and compiled responses available at:
· In September 2006, the BMC announced that the Solid Waste Management Rules (that had been framed in close consultation with the NGO Council, and that had been notified on March 1st 2006) were to be modified to Bye Laws and a draft set of Bye Laws were circulated inviting responses. Despite not being consulted or informed about the proposed changes, on 11th September, the NGO Council submitted its responses to the Draft Cleanliness Bye Laws to the BMC along with 50 other responses received by it. On 30th September, a public hearing was held by the Mayor regarding BMC's Draft Cleanliness Bye Laws where the NGO Council gave its further views.
· In November 2006, the NGO Council requested the BMC to collaborate under M-PAC, the Mumbai Pact Against Corruption, an initiative between the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the NGO Council, for community participation in the fight against corruption. No response to date from the BMC.
· In December 2006, SATYA, an online Complaint and Suggestion Form for citizens for BMC related matters was made operational through Karmayog.
· During the 6 month period of this review, there has been no response from the BMC to the following documents and policy papers that were prepared and submitted by the NGO Council to the BMC:
- Recommendations for a Scheme for Hawkers in Mumbai
- Recommended Policy Guidelines for Public Health in Mumbai
- Policy Framework & Plan of Action for Stray Dogs in Mumbai
- Draft Policy for Pay-&-Use Toilets for Mumbai
- Checklist of recommendations for any BMC Policy Document
· During the six-month period of this review, there has been no response from the BMC to any of the letters written by the NGO Council or to repeated requests for meetings or appointments.
· The MoU for Good City Governance between the BMC and the NGO Council is a path-breaking and historic initiative between Government and civil society, that has through the past one year of implementation, demonstrated the potential of such a partnership to transform citizens' participation and contribution in governance.
· We understand that there are always periodic crises happening in a city like Mumbai and these take up BMC's administrative time and makes it difficult for BMC to engage with the NGO Council in a sustained and systematic manner. Nevertheless, it is necessary that such engagements be undertaken as it is particularly in such times of crisis that a network such as the NGO Council can provide valuable help and supplement the efforts of Government to mitigate the effects of disasters, as was demonstrated through the relief efforts for the July 26th 2005 floods, from where the idea of setting up an NGO Council for the city was born.
· It is also important to develop systems and structures through which civil society can engage with and work collaboratively with Government, even during the times between disasters, as this provides for a sustained, long-term framework of working. The MoU between the BMC and the NGO Council is an example of such a mechanism that develops an institutionalised framework that will go beyond individual NGOs and personalities.
· As we begin the second year of implementation of the MoU, the
NGO Council looks forward to active collaboration from the BMC that will
enable many of the common concerns and issues of citizens to be addressed.