Thursday, March 15, 2007

First Information Camp on 18th of March 2007

Campaign for demanding transparency in disbursement of Councillor Funds: First Information Camp on 18th of March 2007

Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) is organizing the FIRST EVER Information Camp focusing on expenditure of councillor funds in five wards of South Zone and highlighting the need for guidelines that will ensure better channelization of the funds. The camp is being help at Andolan Park, Sheikh Sarai-1, on Sunday, March 18 at 12.00 noon.

The information camp seeks to bring together citizens from the nearby slums as well as residents from higher income groups to provide a forum where their area councilor’s expenditure can be compared to their development needs. It will also help spread awareness about the need for citizens’ participation in deciding the allocation of the councillor funds. This collective will also act as a pressure group to push for formulation of proper guidelines to ensure effective utilization of the councillor funds.

Delhi is home to 134 MCD Councillors — local area representatives — who get close to Rs. 1 crore to spend on developmental works for the citizens, their electorate. From 2002-07, the total sum allocated to Councillors in Delhi was approximately Rs 520 crores. However, ironically not only do citizens have no say in where their tax money is spent, they have no means of accessing this crucial information through any website, publication, or other means.

Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a Delhi-based citizens’ vigilance group has launched a campaign using the RTI to access information about how these Municipal Councillors are utilizing public funds. Details of all works undertaken using the Councillor Funds during 2002-2007 (i.e. for all 134 wards, for the last five years) were sought. Analysis of the information, which has been obtained broadly, shows that:

Ø Councillors are not spending Councillor Funds on the most pressing priority development needs of their ward members.
Ø No guidelines exist for Councillors to spend their funds.

Through its campaign, SNS seeks to
Disseminate this information to inform people about how Councillors allocated the Councillor Funds at their disposal in the past five years by organizing INFORMATION CAMPS across the city.
Along with interested citizens and NGOs, demanding that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi provide this information proactively to people in formats that are easily understood by common people.
Drafting and pressurising the government to adopt proper guidelines on how Councillor Funds should be spent (there are no guidelines in existence at the moment).

About Satark Nagrik SangathanSNS is a citizen's vigilance group working to promote transparency and accountability in government functioning and to encourage active participation of citizens in governance. In our endeavor to empower citizens and assist them engage with the government in policy formulation and implementation, our primary tool has been the RTI Act. Website: http://www.snsindia.org/Blog: http://www.satarknagriksangathan.blogspot.com/

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