For a New Version of Ward Committees to be Effective in TS


By Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani & 

Prof. T. Tirupati Rao, former Vice-Chancellor, O.U. Hyderabad.

Recently the Government of Telangana made some amendments to the composition of the Ward Committees by a Municipalities Act 20 of 2020, which simply says that there would be four ward committees for senior citizens, women, youth and eminent citizens. Each contains 25 members from among the resident welfare associations, community-based organisations, and other such groups and individuals by rotation annually.

We welcome this initiative of the present Government to enhance urban citizens' direct participation in their local area development at the ward level.

However, given the past disappointing experience of the earlier ward Committees and Area Sabhas, we would like to propose the following rules and guidelines for their more effective functioning to be taken into account in the G.O. to be issued later after the GHMC elections. This will help invest the very rich human capital available in the city to make Hyderabad a great city. The following proposals are addressed to the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, on 13th Nov.20.

Rules & Guidelines for the Ward Committees to be formed as per Act. 20 of 2020 of GoT

8 A (2): The members of the Committees:i. The residents of the ward are to be proposed by the associations registered with the Registrar of Societies, such as the Resident Welfare Associations, including Colony associations as well as Apartments-Building associations, senior citizens' welfare associations or Cooperative Housing Societies, or those groups recognised by MEPMA, or UCD department, such as the 'Basti Committees', Self-Help Groups, and the Circle level Aasara committees, which are very specific to GHMC, or Mahila Mandalis, Youth associations, and chapters or area committees of the nationally accredited professional bodies of health and medical persons, Chartered Accountants, Advocates, Domestic Helpers, Auto-Rikshaw drivers, teachers, lecturers and professors, engineers, whose memberships are not based on caste or creed or not affiliated to any political party.

ii. As far as the Committee of 25 eminent persons is concerned, the nominated persons should be residents in the ward but not necessarily a member of the nominating Association, and should not be an active member of any political party.

iii. Half of such nominations should be women.

iv. Two-thirds of the nominations should be processed through the Resident welfare Associations so as to ensure annual rotation in nominations, adequate representation of local diversity in all Committees, as well as to ensure the unbiased and neutral functioning.

v. The annual nominations should be called for, scrutinised and selected by the Dy. Commissioner and to be placed before the Council for approbation. In case, there are more nominations than required, the Dy. Commissioner might propose criteria for selection among them, taking into account the principle of rotation and diversity.

A). Among the associations and recognised groups, preference should be given to those which hold regular general body meetings of more than 50 of its members in the spirit of ‘area sabhas’ to collect the feedback from the residents in the area.  

vi. Care should be taken as far as possible by the Dy. Commissioner to see that neither the close family members of the corporator nor his/her defeated political opponents do not creep into the Committees to disrupt the good-faith in the discussions.

vii. During the course of approbation in the Council, the corporator of the ward concerned should be given an opportunity to veto the nomination of one member in each Committee, if the Mayor is convinced.

viii. While the corporator in office would be the ex-officio president of the four committees, a working-chairperson and a minutes-drafting secretary should be elected in each committee at its first annual session to assist the GHMC-appointed Secretary to the Ward Committees who communicates the minutes regularly to the Commissioner and the Mayor for consideration and follow up.

ix. The meetings shall be convened by the chairperson, with due information to the President- Corporator and the GHMC Secretary, as often as the chairperson deems it necessary; but there should be at least one meeting every three months.

x. The quorum shall be five members of a Committee to be deemed as a meeting to be valid.

xi. Along with other residents in the ward, including the members of the other 3 Committees also should be allowed as observers. They would be allowed to speak only if the chairperson permits. The family members of the corporator would not be allowed even as observers.

xii. The life and work of the Committees will continue till new committees to replace them are approved by the Municipal Council.

xiii. Any representation of the Committee to any other body than GHMC should be forwarded through the GHMC Secretary. The Committee can, further, demand the GHMC Secretary to invite the local officer of other departments operating in the area, such as electricity, water, health, transport, etc. to their meetings for clarifications and for better local coordination in execution.

xiv. The members of the 4 Committees should not claim any identity cards or receive any remuneration or speak in public on behalf of the Committees.

 

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