Lok Satta

Wednesday, 04 February 2009 11:37

Vote Mumbai

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What is VOTEMUMBAI?

VOTEMUMBAI is a non-partisan people's campaign comprising of concerned individuals and civil society organizations across Mumbai & the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Its objective is to make citizens realize the need for systemic reforms and bring about a significant improvement in the existing Municipal governance system by overcoming the current crisis in governance.

VOTEMUMBAI provides the necessary platform and effective tools for citizen participation. Anyone who believes that status quo is not acceptable and change is possible can join the movement.

VOTEMUMBAI has no affiliation to any political party.

 

Aims of VOTEMUMBAI

We, Mumbaikars have become weary of the innumerable problems of this city. We neither have a say in local issues that affect us personally nor do we have an elected representative who can exercise executive powers. VOTEMUMBAI aims at reforming this system of governance so as to bring the true essence of democracy to us, the sovereigns of the country. It propagates:

  1. Empowerment of Local Govt. and democracy at this tier (Level): A directly elected, fully empowered Mayor gives a voice to the citizens on how they should be governed.
  2. Decentralisation and Democratisation of Local Government: Corporator chaired Ward Committees with executive powers and Area Sabhas that monitor activities addressing these issues.
  3. Accountable (to citizen) & Transparent Local Government: Direct elections of Mayor and checks and balances to resolve these qualms.
  4. Local Self Government through legitimate citizen participatory platforms: Taking democracy to its grassroots through Ward Committees and Area Sabha where participation is rewarded with results.

VOTEMUMBAI plans to drive its agenda forward with focussed data and research based activities using consultative and deliberative processes. An in depth study of existing laws, the current system, changes required, checks and balances, systems existing in other cities etc have been conducted with the help of international consultants, experts on urban governance in the country and public consultation while drawing up an action plan.

 

Why VOTEMUMBAI?

At the heart of any healthy democracy are its citizens. Yet in our country, all too often, the ordinary citizen seems disempowered and marginal, with little recourse to rights and institutional support. The legal channels are long, tortuous and cumbersome, with little hope of justice unless one has both money and influence. The ordinary citizen is therefore left feeling cynical and alienated in this democratic monolith. Ironically, even politicians - supposedly the drivers of the democratic engine - more often than not get lost, taking to power and corruption rather than public good. In fact the system has become a kind of spider's web in which those on the outside neither want to nor can they get inside and those on the inside don't seem to know how to get out. And each group watches the other with undisguised suspicion.

 

Yet we have so much to be proud of. Despite all the ills of democracy, the spirit of freedom is strong and robust in our country. More than half of our population is young, energetic and looking for opportunities to excel and improve the lot of their people. Many individuals and organizations across the length and breadth of the country are unsung heroes doing whatever they can to better the lives of those around them. Millions living abroad - moved perhaps by nostalgia or the spirit of service - wish to give back a little to the country they call their own. By identifying some of the root causes of Mumbai Municipal governance problems, VOTEMUMBAI attempts to bring together all these people and individuals on a common platform of action.

 

Can we not all come together to become one strong, forceful voice of change rather than being disparate, often conflicting whistles in the dark? The idea behind VOTEMUMBAI is just that.

 

So let us come together, join hands and drive the change. The city is rotting; it is time to set it right.