Praja report: Performance of 90% Mumbai’s corporators poor; Congress fares best

Published on Aug 20, 2021 12:00 AM IST
The NGO assessed the performance on attendance in the civic house and committee meetings, questions raised and funds spent on public amenities in the electoral wards.
In terms of party-wise performance, the Congress with 28 corporators is the top performer, having scored 57%, followed by Shiv Sena (55.88%) that has 92 corporators. (HT FILE)
In terms of party-wise performance, the Congress with 28 corporators is the top performer, having scored 57%, followed by Shiv Sena (55.88%) that has 92 corporators. (HT FILE)
ByMehul R Thakkar

Ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls early next year, a report by non-government organisation (NGO) Praja has revealed that around 90% of city corporators have performed poorly, as per the parameters set by it.

The current set of corporators were elected in the year 2017. According to Praja’s report, only two corporators have scored A grade, while around 90% (198) have received C, D, E and F grades in the overall performance from 2017 to 2021.

The report by Praja stated that their report goes on to show that there is a need for major improvement in the performance of corporators. Owing to the pandemic, the NGO, instead of publishing the annual results, took into consideration the overall performance of the ongoing tenure.

The NGO assessed the performance of the elected representatives on indicators such as attendance in the civic house and committee meetings, questions raised and funds spent on public amenities in the electoral wards.

According to the report, the overall average score of corporators in the current term is 55.10% whereas, in the last term (April 2012-March 2016), the average score was 58.92%. In the April 2017-March 2021 period, of 220 councillors, 71 councillors got E and F grades, while only two have been graded A. Twenty corporators have received B grade, while a majority (127) councillors have received C and D grades.

In terms of party-wise performance, the Congress with 28 corporators is the top performer, having scored 57%, followed by Shiv Sena (55.88%) that has 92 corporators. The Samajwadi Party (SP) with six corporators ranks third at 55.05%, while BJP with 81 corporators ranks fourth by scoring 55.01%. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that has eight corporators ranks fifth by scoring 51.78%.

Shiv Sena corporator and group leader in BMC Vishakha Raut said, “No party has worked hard like how the Shiv Sena has worked and touched the lives of citizens during this difficult phase of Covid-19. In the upcoming BMC elections, voters will give their verdict by placing their trust in us again, and that’s what matters for us.”

Vinod Mishra, BJP’s party leader in BMC, said, “There’s so much corruption in BMC and in all this, if the Congress is the best performer, then I don’t have to say anything. Also, we believe that in the upcoming elections, public will give us a certificate in the form of votes and we will be able to have the majority.”

SP corporator and group leader in BMC Rais Shaikh said, “We have been working really hard for our voters. Somehow, I feel the parameters by which NGO Praja analyses our performance should be relooked. I feel there should be a third-party assessment of our performance.”

The attendance of corporators in committee meetings also has dropped from 82.15% in April 2017-2018 to 73.70% in 2019-20. The report further revealed that only 18% of corporators contributed to 45% of the total 8,609 number of questions asked between 2017 and 2021.

Congress corporator and opposition party leader in BMC Ravi Raja was ranked as the best-performing corporator, followed by Shiv Sena’s Samadhan Sarvankar and BJP’s Harish Chheda.

“The hard work done by the Congress and myself has been highlighted again in the findings of NGO Praja. Though we are small in number, we are very effective, and this is one reason for our success. Hard work and persistence never go unnoticed,” said Raja.

Speaking on his ranking, Sarvankar said, “There is nothing different that I do but actual ground work by being available to citizens. The voters in my area are also quite active and my party has been very supportive. Also, having the Yuva Sena background helps.

Chheda said, “In the previous reports also, Praja has given me several ranks and I am grateful for it. However, the real test for me is the votes, and I’m sure that the way I have worked for my voters and the fact that I have remained easily accessible for them, they will elect me again in the upcoming election.”

Meanwhile, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) corporator from Bharatnagar area in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) Gulnaz Qureshi, stood at the last position. In the top 10 corporators’ list, the highest (four) corporators are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), followed by three corporators each from the Shiv Sena and the Congress.

The report has stated that technology used during the pandemic has resulted in the number of increased meetings. In this context, the report stated: “Technology was used to facilitate ward committee meetings during this pandemic. We saw that four more meetings per month were being held during this time as compared to the monthly average of the previous year. From April 2019 - March 2020, the monthly average was 22 ward meetings whereas, when technology was used from October 2020- March 2021, the monthly average went up to 26 meetings.”

The report has also stated that there is no improvement in the quality of questions over the years.

Milind Mhaske, director, Praja Foundation, said, “As citizens’ representatives, it is expected that corporators would raise questions to the municipal corporation on the complaints made by the citizens. For the efficient running of the committees and to be able to address citizens’ issues in a systematic and efficient manner, we need more councillors in transition to A, B, C and D grades, while completely eliminating E and F grades of performances.”

Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee, Praja Foundation, said, “Now that BMC elections are around the corner, we need to understand how our current elected representatives have performed in the last term and this can act as an opportune moment to introspect on the performances.”

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