City Structure

Stop and think. Is your city divorced from democracy? For every 425 people in a village there is one elected representative as opposed to one for every 66000 in Mumbai. Local Government is 155 times away!

Mumbai accounts for 16% of income tax collections and 35% of corporate tax collection in the country, 25% of the State’s income at current prices etc, its annual budget is 6183 crores (almost as much as some small states) but yet its government cannot perform. This city is bulging with a population 12.7 million that promises to grow. Status Quo is not acceptable, the city demands remedial action – urgently.

Feroz Daruwallah’s water pipe was leaking. Every few minutes a pool of water would collect on his floor. The first few times Feroz mopped the floor with a rag. But the problem recurred. When he ignored the water, it formed a bigger pool. The water attracted mosquitoes. People in his house started slipping on the wet floor. Mrs. Daruwallah fractured her arm. Feroz decided to meet his friend Amit and discuss the problem.
Realizing the predicament Feroz was in he promised to try and help. He escorted Feroz to the location of the leak and realized that the source of all the problems was the tap. He repaired it immediately and all the other problems disappeared.

  Like Amit VOTEMUMBAI also endeavors to recognize the source of the problem i.e. the system. Refreshing basic school civics could throw some light on the absurdity of the current system of governance in the city. A glimpse at the city’s structure will tell us why nobody in the system is truly accountable for disasters like 26th July and will reinforce the urgency for reforms.

The people of Mumbai elect 36 of 288 representatives for the state legislature. The MLAs elect the Chief Minister. It is to be remembered that the CM may not be from Mumbai. He could be a representative from some other constituency severed from the issues of Mumbai.

This CM appoints the BMC Commissioner and Additional Municipal Commissioners who have the executive powers. The BMC is divided into 24 administrative wards each with a population of upto 11 lakh people. These wards are answerable to the Commissioner.

We elect 227 Corporators who in turn elect a Mayor. ‘Mayor’ is a ceremonial post without any executive authority. The elected Corporation has only deliberative powers for policy making but no say in execution or planning. Thus our elected representatives are powerless and have to go to the lowest rung BMC executive with joined hands to get any work done.

Multiple parallel agencies like PWD, MSRDC, MMRDA, MAHADA etc. truncate the powers of the Commissioner and BMC. They are directly controlled by the state and are not answerable to the citizens of Mumbai. Also central agencies like MBPT & Railways, AAI, Defense, who occupy a large chunk of land, are not accountable to the BMC (for Municipal Governance/Services).
 
In this city structure where is the room for people’s participation?  The State controls the City Municipal Governance without being directly answerable or accountable to people of MumbaiCity.

The system lacks leadership and is badly designed- administratively and managerially!

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