“JAN CHAITANYA” – Citizens’ Campaign for Democratic Development & Good Governance – An ACORDASIA initiative

“JAN-CHAITANYA” is a new initiative of ACORDASIA. It is a citizens’ movement, neutral & free from any party politics. ACORDASIA is conducting workshops exclusively for citizens groups, where no political party agenda will be involved. No political party or candidate will be involved, and no reference will be made in support of, or against political leaders, representatives, parties, or ideologies.

The basic objectives of "Jan-Chaitanya" are:

  • To empower citizens in carrying out their full democratic roles and functions; To enable citizens to contribute actively to the development of good governance; To educate citizens in promoting the evolution of our democratic society and polity to higher positive levels; To involve citizens in achieving participatory planning and development for all “inclusive” of all segments and strata of society, irrespective of caste, religion, gender, or income;  To equip citizens with the capability to develop accountability for better public service delivery and transparent development from the ground up, in the public services/ civic services, administration as well as elected representatives. To help citizens better fulfill their constitutional democratic duties, responsibilities, and empowerment.

The “Jan-Chaitanya” campaign is co-ordinated by Fr. T.V. Kunnunkal- Vice Chairman, Board of Governors, in a team including Prof. George Koreth, Chairman, Board of Governors– ACORDASIA, Mr. S. Regunathan – Member, Board of Governors, Mr. Vinay Singhal – Member, Board of Governors of ACORDASIA, and Dr. Kiron Wadhera, Member-Board of Governors (earlier President & CEO of ACORDASIA).

Senior members of the Organizing Team are: Ms. Jyotsna Majumdar, {Project Director, ACORDASIA), supported by staff members of ACORDASIA and “Jan-Chaitanya” Project Volunteers. 

ACORDASIA is setting up an “Institute for Democratic Development & Good Governance” - as a part of its programme, ACORDASIA has initiated ‘Jan Chaitanya’ campaign to empower people to play an active everyday role in evolving our democratic structures and processes, and not confine themselves to just voting periodically.

The Programme of Action for Phase-I of “Jan Chaitanya”, are the following:

  • Constitution of Ward Committees in each ward, as per Article 73 of the Constitution of India.
  • Participatory planning and participatory budgeting at the ward level.
  • Provision of information about major ward works and their specifications to the public.
  • Helping people in monitoring and supervising major public works in their wards.
  • Introduction of e-democracy in municipal functioning.

To ensure that all the above are implemented by the newly elected representatives, the people will prepare Citizens Score-cards” evaluating the performance of each department and elected functionaries of the corporation on clear parameters of performance. This will be published periodically.

Citizens will also be helped to constitute “Citizens’ Assembly Constituency Committees”.

The major function of the Ward Committee will be to prepare a Development Plan for each ward, and seek effective implementation of that plan. It will also supervise and monitor public works in the ward, to ensure that parameters of time, cost, and quality/durability are complied with.

Each of the 272 Ward Committees, and the 70 Citizens Assembly Constituency Committees, will address the issue of preparation of correct and complete voter lists, and mobilise participation of voters in high turn-out during elections at local, state, and national elections, as a constitutional duty and responsibility. E-democracy will provide opportunity to seek the views of citizens on all important policy issues and all legislative proposals, using Information Technology, so that citizens’ feedback can be sought and received, before finalizing policies, plans, & legislative proposals.

ACORDASIA will train the public in participatory planning and participatory budgeting, as well as preparing “Citizens Score – Cards” to evaluate annually the performance of all elected representatives, as well as all departments and civic agencies. This movement is a non-partisan, non-political initiative, “inclusive” all strata and sections of society, without any distinction in terms of caste, community, religion, social or economic status. The members of this campaign will neither seek any political office or position, nor will they support or oppose any political party or ideology. The campaign will seek the help and active participation of all NGOs, Self-Help Groups, Professional groups, Mahila Mandals, Youth, Senior Citizens, Social clubs, Resident Welfare Associations, MTAs, Students, and Occupational groups from all strata and segments of society (including the lowest 30%).

ACORDASIA has already conducted consultative workshops for 102 RWA’s, MTA’s, and NGOs. It is planning to conduct similar workshops for all colonies including Authorised, Unauthorised, Resettlement Colonies and residents of Slum & JJ Colonies, as well as other stakeholder groups mentioned earlier. There has been overwhelming response for this campaign. The “Jan-Chaitanya” campaign will evolve and grow with inputs from a variety of stakeholders, to build an active, responsible role for citizens, every day and not just at election-time. The Citizen’s Democracy & Good Governance Campaign, does not have an end-point or closing date; it will develop in phases in an “action-learning mode” to cover first Delhi, then urban India, and later rural India, in a continuous, almost permanent campaign. If democracy, development, and governance are to evolve and improve, it can only do so with the active involvement of a large number of citizens. Without peoples’ active involvement, democracy will stagnate, & both development & governance will suffer.

Jan Chaitanya Survey

In July 2013, under the ‘Jan Chaitanya’, a survey was conducted by ACORDASIA with 560 residents of Central, East and North-East Delhi for getting their feedback on various civic services in Delhi. The summary of the citizen’s feedback is given below –

Civic Services
Good & Above Ratings    (Percentage)
Power Supply
77.3
Metro Service
68.8
Power Related Services
68.6
Condition of Street Lights
68.4
Condition of Main Roads
63.8
Water Supply (Quantity)
62.0
Delhi Police
53.0
Condition of Flyovers
52.0
Auto-rickshaw Services
48.9
Water Quality
46.6
Bus Transport Services
46.4
Condition of Delhi Government Schools
44.1
Results of students of Delhi Government Schools
42.7
Condition of MCD Schools
42.3
Results of students of MCD Schools
41.4
Condition of the Colony Roads
41.1
Condition of Sewage
37.9
Services of Delhi Government Hospitals
32.9
Delhi Government
32.9
Level of Safety and Security of Citizens
31.3
Services of MCD Hospitals
30.7
Timely Garbage Collection & Management
28.4
Level of Safety and Security of Women
28.0
Cleanliness of Colony Streets/Roads/Back-lanes
26.8
North Delhi Municipal Corporation
24.8
Condition of the Drains
24.3
East Delhi Municipal Corporation
11.4

The balance percentages of the feedback against each civic service indicated the extent of improvement required.

 

 
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