Civic engagement and transparency for good governance - a case study of NGO task force in Mangalore

The case study by All India Institute of Local Self Government, of NGO task force in Mangalore deals with civic engagement and transparency for good governance in the city

The management arrangements and governance of the city have to be viewed at three levels by Mangalore city corporation (MCC).  

  • Firstly, the responsibility of providing urban services within the boundary of city (both obligatory and discretory in nature).  This is normal with other cities.
  • Secondly, the responsibility to meet the demands generated out of economic activities beyond city limits.  For example, incoming and outgoing trucks transporting logs, granite stone and groceries generate employment for locals.  The city has to respond to provide minimum facilities in such a situation.
  • Thirdly, involvement in to the infrastructure development activities initiated by the state government.  The expansion of economic activities beyond city limits can be due to the regional development plan of the state government or the idea of regional development is based on the expansion of economic activities of the area.  These externalities are interlinked.

The main lessons from the case experience are -

  • Civil society groups do take active role in the issues of city.  
  • Civil society groups do provide technical and financial alternatives.
  • There is scope for developing a city development plan, utilizing civic capacities available in the city.
  • Various actors are involved in the process (citizens, corporators, NGOs, local associations etc).
  • Local institutions respond to the local issues.
  • Higher institutions impose programs and decisions.
  • Higher institutions are seen as a way of controlling by the state.
  • External non-state financial agencies influence the state agencies in decision making.
  • External non-state financial agencies completely depend on the information provided by the state agencies which need not be locally ratified.
  • External non-state financial agencies do not provide information and lack transparency.
  • Neither of the groups are really worried about consultations with the elected representatives and citizens.
  • State level political parties and Bureaucracy have less incentive to build the capacity of the urban local bodies.

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