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Involve us in decision-making, demand citizens

Taking the citizens’ right to know to the next level, a group of citizens have demanded that city residents be informed and involved ‘during’ the process when laws and policies for them are being formulated.

delhi Updated: May 16, 2011 01:55 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Taking the citizens’ right to know to the next level, a group of citizens have demanded that city residents be informed and involved ‘during’ the process when laws and policies for them are being formulated. The demand: Proactive disclosure of the proceedings of the legislative assembly and MCD House in a manner easily accessible to people.

Kiran Walia, Delhi’s social welfare minister and Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson of national minority commission, among others, were present at the public hearing organised by NGO Satark Nagarik Sangathan at Malviya Nagar on Saturday.

Said Rekha Mandal, living in a JJ cluster near Malviya Nagar, “After doing several rounds of our councillor’s office and requesting him to look into the matter of public toilets, he told us one fine day that the Delhi government looks after it now.”

That Mandal belonged to economically weaker strata hardly mattered. It soon turned out elite colonies were no exceptions. Amrita Johri, a 20-something resident of Defence Colony, said, “We had never heard of The Delhi (Right of Citizen to) Time Bound Delivery of Services Act, 2011.”

Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of the Delhi RWA joint front, said, “It would be advisable if the civic agencies or the government carries out public consultation before taking a decision to avoid unnecessary controversies later.”

Habibullah suggested, “Just like Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Delhi assembly proceedings too can be shown on television”. Walia agreed with him and said, “People need to know what’s going on in the Assembly. I will ensure it is done in my area and I will also take up the topic with other MLAs.”

The meeting threw up interesting suggestions from the participants: Proceedings of the assembly or standing committee can be kept for public at the election offices or anganwadi centres; important announcements be broadcast on national television at pre-decided slots; and every new law or policy be published in all major newspapers by way of at least quarter-page advertisement.