Dear NGO Council Member,


Below is the letter sent to BMC MC in reply to AGNI etc ltr of 16 May 2006.





25th May 2006


Mr. Johny Joseph

Municipal Commissioner

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Head Office, Mahapalika Marg

Mumbai 400001


Sub: MoU between MCM, NGO Council and Karmayog dated 12/12/2005


Dear Mr. Joseph,

With reference to the letter dated May 16, 2006, sent to you by AGNI, Citispace, Loksatta, Praja, etc., with a cc to Karmayog, I would like to clarify as follows:


1. Awareness by the signatories of 16th May letter: It is surprising that it has been stated that "the above MoU has just recently come to our notice" whereas available documentation shows that official representatives of the signatory organisations to the letter dated May 16th 2006, have been aware of the NGO Council and the MoU and its contents from as far back as August 2005.


2. NGO Council and MOU: As you are aware, the NGO Council is a group of organisations which have come together at the initiative and efforts of Karmayog upon the aftermath of the floods to act as a representative body of Civil Society Organisations and the NGO sector in Mumbai, and comprises a mix of organisations with complementary expertise covering different concerns.  


The sequence of events that led to the formation of the NGO Council with its members on August 22, 2005, the drafting and signing of the MoU with MCGM on December 12, 2005, and subsequent proceedings of the NGO Council, is available for reference in Annexure 1, with supporting information if required.

This sequence of events shows clearly that there has been continuous correspondence with all concerned, and that all members and others were kept aware of both the contents and intent of the MoU at every stage.


There is no legal requirement of a formal agreement between members of the NGO Council, and hence none was made. Necessary and appropriate steps shall be taken as and when required for administrative and statutory purposes.


3. Intent of the MOU and the NGO Council: The MoU is a partnership that aims to "include and involve NGOs and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in conceptualising and formulating policies, programmes and schemes, in their implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and in providing citizens' feedback for the promotion of efficient delivery of civic services and matters concerning citizens". (Clause 1 of MOU.)


It is not the intent or purpose of the NGO Council or of the MOU to marginalise the work of any NGO, and it is surprising that such an interpretation is being construed. In fact, one of the criteria for being a Committee Member is that the organisation "will hold one event that will involve all NGOs of its sector e.g. awareness, conference". Such an activity will strengthen not only the overall cause that an NGO focuses on, but will highlight the individual NGO and its sterling work, rather than 'eclipse' it!

The NGO Council has neither claimed nor intended at any stage to be the ONLY channel of communication of citizens and citizen organisations with MCGM. MCGM has also clarified this on March 14, 2006.


The NGO Council acts as a representative body of Civil Society. It is an open body which members can leave or join. Decisions, even if reached collectively, are not binding on any NGO Council member.

4. Results from the MOU: As six months of working under the MOU have been completed, it may be useful and instructive to see the results obtained:


Some direct important and satisfying outcomes of this partnership have been:







5. Processes followed: It is also useful and interesting to note the processes followed by the NGO Council under the MOU and the results thereof.


The process has been inclusive, participatory, interactive, consultative and transparent, while also attempting to be balanced, and effective for implementation. e.g. the MCGM Solid Waste Rules 2006 resulted in a "citizen-friendly" and "do-able" set of regulations with several new concepts and ideas such as enforcing "Saaf Aangan", Cleanliness Reporting Teams, Local Area Citizen Groups, Cleanliness Drives, schemes of incentives, Zero Tolerance Zones, integrating rag pickers cooperatives, setting achievable annual ward wise targets, etc. being introduced for the first time.


It is important to note that the recommendations placed by the NGO Council are not restricted to those of the committee members, but includes inputs from others as well. For any issue that the NGO Council takes up for discussing with the MCGM, it invites public participation. This includes NGOs, individual citizens, corporates, or any other organisation who is interested. This is not even restricted to those in Mumbai. They could be anywhere in India or even abroad. Discussions are facilitated via email, phone calls, meetings, internet postings, a discussion group, and are supplemented by research and sharing of articles and papers on the subject.


During this process, meetings are also held with MCGM officials so that recommendations made take into consideration the constraints and ground reality and possibilities of the MCGM, so that final recommendations are collaborative in the spirit of the MCGM - NGO Council MOU.

Several processes are still emerging, and will continue to evolve as different dynamics between MCGM and the NGO Council establish themselves. This implies that no method or process of working is rigid or unchanging, and may periodically change so as to achieve a suitable mechanism of getting results.

6. Conclusions and Going Forward: In conclusion, the NGO Council was constituted and exists as stated, and the MOU is well-conceived and valid, and the MCGM – NGO Council partnership is necessary and worthwhile.


It is hoped that this letter adequately addresses the concerns and points raised in the letter dated 16th May, 2006. If any further details or discussions are needed, please do let me know.


The MoU between the MCGM-NGO Council is indeed a path-breaking one with significant potential to positively impact city governance, and to forge a collaborative partnership between civil society and MCGM.


The results of the MOU within a short period of time show its tremendous value to MCGM, citizens and the city. The next steps should be to broaden and deepen the partnership by forming "steering groups for each functional area which is mutually identified with due representation for members of the NGO Council, experts and eminent citizens" as planned in Clause 5 of the MOU so as to dispel scepticism, fear and resistance while enabling the results envisaged under the MCGM – NGO Council MOU.

Yours Sincerely,




Vinay Somani


NGO Council



Annexure 1: Sequence of important events related to the NGO Council and its members






Information available

Media Coverage

Remark / Reason


August 4, 2005

NGO Co-ordination Committee for Flood Relief formed of Nirmala Niketan, TISS, Apnalaya, CRY, Yuvak Pratisthan, Sneha, Unicef, Times Foundation, and Karmayog

Official Press Release

Article dated August 8, 2005


To act as a clearing house to convey information from the field to MCGM and vice versa


August 11, 2005

Karmayog floated idea of an NGO Council for Mumbai and sent a detailed letter to various organisations – inviting names of committee members, convenor, objectives, etc.

Letter available


To formalise the beneficial efforts of the NGO Co-ordination Committee


August 22, 2005

Upon confirmation from the various organisations of their interest and acceptance to be a member, the NGO Council was formed.

Public Announcement of Aug 24 available


To convey formation, state objectives, invite suggestions


September 23, 2005, and September25, 2005

Comments publicly invited for points to be covered in an MoU with MCGM

Letters available


To formalise working between MCGM and NGO Council


October 5, 2005

Meeting discussed various reasons that MCGM - NGO partnerships face problems

Observations were circulated




October 11, 2005

Draft MOU made and circulated to all members. Suggestions received were incorporated.

Circulated draft available




December 12, 2005

MOU signed between MCGM and NGO Council. All members of NGO Council informed. Text of entire MOU put up for public display. Salient points circulated.

MOU / Newspaper articles available

Articles in TOI dtd. 14 Dec. & DNA dtd. 21 Dec.2005



December 17, 2005

Meeting held of NGO Council members to discuss methods of working after the signing of the MoU.

Proceedings available




Annexure 1: Sequence of important events related to the NGO Council and its members (continued)





Information available

Media Coverage

Remark / Reason


December 20, 2005

NGO Council members and others invited to come forward as co-ordinators, leaders, volunteers, employees, etc.

Letter available


To invite maximum participation


January 2006

A full schedule of meetings with MCGM planned. Citizens or organisations (NGO or otherwise) requested to attend, be in the core committee, or even take charge of any group.

Meeting schedule available


To take up different issues and form focus groups for each issue


January 1, 2006

Note outlining the framework for implementing the MOU as circulated to all members at the start of the New Year.

Letter available


Setting up of processes for the NGO Council


January 30, 2006,

Guiding Principles prepared for the NGO Council interaction with MCGM and circulated


Letter available


Based on the learnings of the January round of meetings


At start of each month: Feb, Mar, Apr, May, 2006

Details of work done till date by the NGO Council circulated every month to all members


April list available


To keep NGO Council members and public informed


March, 2006

MCGM Budget Speech 2006 states that “MoU has been signed with the N.G.O. Council for co-operation and collaboration in areas to be identified jointly by the M.C.G.M. and the N.G.O.s.”



To inform and announce the benefits of the MoU.


April 25, 2006

Detailed update emailed as well as couriered to all NGO Council members.

Letter available


To convey various information to NGO Council members and invite feedback