An Appeal by CoRWA to All Political Parties before they Finalise their Election Manifestos

 Dear Sir/ Madam,                                                                           

Rapid urbanisation is taking place in all parts of our country and all the new settlers are invariably residing in Apartment-buildings, in colonies and in gated communities. These Resident Welfare Associations are self-governing bodies and they self-finance and manage their community as well as create urban amenities in the area. They are all professionally very active and are the main source of our GDP growth. They pay all kinds of direct and indirect taxes, but many do not go to vote. It is not free things that they want but more opportunities to participate in the local governance and in area development.

Since, we are convinced that you are committed to further democratic decentralization, we as a national Confederation of Resident Welfare Associations (CoRWA), we would like to seek your Party’s commitment in your forthcoming Election Manifesto as to what avenues of participation you would intend to provide for the urban citizens.

1. Following the spirit of the 74th Amendment of our Constitution, local self-government at the level of the municipality is to be strengthened by the state government by transferring the 18 functions mentioned, with necessary functionaries and funds. Most of the state governments have not done it completely.

2. The amended Article in the Constitution expressly suggested the creation of “Wards Committees” in each municipality. They are to be composed of representatives of Resident Welfare Associations and other registered civil society organizations of local youth, senior citizens and women. Their mission is to make proposals and to participate in local area planning, budget proposals for some maintenance works, field-coordination of the works of various departments and setting up local Standard Operating Procedures for Disaster Management, etc. Further, as the need of the hour demands, the members can take appropriate commitments on behalf of their communities to reduce and eliminate locally prevalent environmental pollutions. As stakeholders they would be acting in all those activities with locally appropriate knowledge, expertise and innovation

a). Each Ward Committee should hold periodical ‘Area Sabhas’ of the residents of different areas in the Ward in cooperation with the RWAs, which statutorily hold general assembly meetings of their residents.

3. Such Ward Committee would be having ward office headed by a Ward Administrative Officer, equivalent to the rank of an Assistant Municipal Commissioner for local coordination of field officers belonging to the health, hygiene, roads, lighting, disease-control, etc. and to resolve directly local complaints received.

4. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner in charge of the Ward should convene regularly a meeting with the RWAs at least once per month; every 3 months at the level of the Zonal Commissioner and once in six months with the Commissioner in order to review the pending issues.

5. The Municipal Commissioner should facilitate direct relations and transactions between the projects of the RWAs, particularly in areas of Climate Change and the companies in the area which would like to express their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

6. Inspired by the Bhagidari System that was very successfully practiced in New Delhi, many construction, development and repair works can be entrusted in a collaborative manner to the RWAs; in which case, there will be more quality, less delays and lower cost. At least, there should RWA endorsement of the finished works of the contractors or social audit by them.

7. The "Performance Grant" that is being received by the Urban Local bodies on the basis of the criteria proposed by the XIV Finance Commission should include the participation of the local RWA as one of the criteria.

                                                                                                    With best regards,   

                                                                                                                Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani                                                                                                                                               (Former associate of UNESCO, Paris)                                                                                      


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