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About Praja

Praja Foundation is a non-partisan, voluntary organization whose aim is to empower citizens and the government with knowledge, information and facts. We are committed to the re-establishment of accountability and transparency in public governance through people’s participation.

Praja was founded in 1998 by a group of young socially active citizens of Mumbai, from various professions and walks of life who believe that collective action can make a change in improving living standards in one of the world's busiest cities, Mumbai. We work, as far as possible, in cooperation with government agencies.

We have a simple three phase method.

1.       Citizens Charters

A citizen’s charter is a document from the government agency, which provides citizens with information on the various services of the government; the speed and quality with which the government commits to provide these services; and a clear procedure for complaint redress and escalation.

We help the government develop user-friendly charters. Praja has worked with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) in jointly developing a citizen’s charter. In coordination with the MCGM, we continually refine these service level commitments and standards. We conduct extensive trainings of officers and staff of the MCGM on customer service and use of the charter

First published in 1999, the MCGM citizen’s charter is available online on our website Apart from the MCGM, Praja also developed an easy to use charter for the Right to Information. For all work on transparency and accountability, we believe a citizen’s charter is a good starting point.

2.       Performance Surveys / Report Cards

Our next step is to get an accurate picture of what the citizens think. We carry out surveys of citizens to get this picture.

In 2000 and 2001 Praja commissioned extensive Performance Surveys, carried out by ORG-MARG, India’s leading market research agency. These were undertaken in order to understand the citizen’s opinion of the MCGM’s performance  – both about the MCGM as a whole, as well as its various departments and their service delivery.

These results are then telescoped into a “report card” where various departments / geographical areas are rated by the citizens. This report card is discussed at public meetings where government officials and eminent citizens are present where we obtain commitments for improvement from the government officials.

Our latest series of surveys – Complaint Audits -- have been on grievance handling of the MCGM. They aim to monitor whether citizen complaints received by the MCGM have been acknowledged and redressed, and whether redressal was done in the time stipulated in the Citizen’s Charter and how satisfied the citizen was with the work done.

3.       Monitoring Tools

Our third phase consists of a monitoring tool, which helps both the government agency as well as citizens. Based on the parameters in the charter, we have developed an Online Complaint Monitoring System (OCMS) to monitor the progress of citizen’s complaints in a holistic way combining all avenues of redressal into one efficient channel. The OCMS is a 24/7, internet based system connected to all wards of the MCGM as well as the head office. It is ably supported by a 24/7 complaint hotline (phone number “1916”) that was developed jointly by Praja and the MCGM.

Mumbai Citizens Handbook

Our latest project is to bring out a detailed handbook on the state of governance in Mumbai to further citizens understanding of the working of government – on the ground.

The handbook will look at major departments of the MCGM as well as other agencies concerned with civic governance. Each chapter will also have recommendations and reforms for improving governance. These will be based on liberal principles and the concepts of new public management. Praja also seeks to follow up on the recommendations made in the handbook to improve transparency, accountability and better governance in Mumbai city.


We reach out to citizens in various ways. We have had weekly columns in English, Marathi and Gujarati newspapers. Our Citizen’s Charter was printed and distributed free of cost by the Indian Express newspaper with their daily edition. We have a comprehensive website –  – that has details of all our projects from the Citizen’s Charter to the OCMS. Our performance reports are published as booklets and distributed to various community-based organisations.

Praja Foundation
19/20, BMC School Building, first floor
Topiwala Lane
Opp. Lamington Road Police Station
Mumbai 400 007

Tel: 91-22-2384 1826