Democracy runs by the will of the people. The government is considered ideal when it is of, by and for the people. The present problems of Mumbai are a manifestation of the lack of an empowered and accountable elected leader, decentralized and democratized local self government and active citizen participation due to non-availability of legitimate participatory platforms. The urgency of the situation, the importance of Mumbai and the increasing necessity for urban structural and systemic reforms is the motivating force behind the VOTEMUMBAI campaign.

VOTEMUMBAI is an independent platform of individuals and NGOs. It has used a methodology of deep study of the elements necessary for creating a vibrant city to identify key factors required for urban reforms.

The proposal begins with the restructuring of the larger Metropolitan Area, covers revamping  the City Governance system and  includes proposals for a directly elected fully-empowered mayor and  an empowered local governance system  consisting of Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

Accessibility to governance, legitimacy of citizen groups and checks, balances and monitoring practices will make the citizens feel that the power is finally flowing from them and that they are the sovereigns of this nation. For too long have the kings of our democracy behaved like rabbits – let us reclaim our throne in a constructive and positive manner.

We therefore propose the following Action Agenda as a solution to the city problems:

To create a permanent MPC, with planning/regulation/ coordination/data collation functions
Comprising of Elected Representatives and Experts as per constitution.
Master Planning Procedures and Technical Groups.
Completely revamped Municipality Laws to cover
Direct Election of a fully empowered Mayor as the leader of the city.
3-tier structure of Municipality/ Ward Committee/Area Sabha.
Formal Citizen Participation in Municipal affairs.
Mandatory audited quarterly disclosure of performance.
Ombudsmen (few).
Disclosure norms.
Independent outside auditors.
Mandatory provisions to frame citizen charters with penalties etc for each department as far as practicable.
Appropriate accounting package to support benchmarking of various services.
E-governance initiative and establishing qualitative and quantitative benchmarks.
Appropriate and regular orientation and refreshing programs for ward committee and area sabha members.
Co-ordination mechanisms on all Municipal Services as per Schedule XII (and Schedule XI)
Alignment of Jurisdictions based on Ward Boundaries (BMC / Police etc).
Joint Budgeting/ Reporting cycles by various agencies and local governments.
Establishment of Spatial Data Centre
Real-time GIS for planning and coordination across agencies.
Establishment of Integrated Transport Authority
Planning and coordination across all Public Transport Agencies.
Implementing Municipal Reforms at City-level
Financial Reforms in Budgeting, Accounting, MIS.
HR and Capacity Building.
Urban Land Reforms
Simplified Land Records Management.
Guaranteed Land Title.
Integrated Services for the Urban Poor
Provision of Low-Income Housing.
Other Urban Poor Programmes.
Defining and ensuring service outcomes
Establish qualitative and quantitative benchmarks.
Management and Monitoring Processes.
Equitable outcomes for the poor.
Development & Delivery of Comprehensive City Plans
Regional Footprint.
Involvement of multiple stakeholders.
Creation of appropriate infrastructure.
Rigorous enforcement – e.g. zoning/land-use.
Regular mapping/monitoring of economic activities in the city.

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