Due to fewer days of Assembly sessions, many public related issues have been left unaddressed. This revelation is part of a survey report on the functioning of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, released by city-based NGO Praja foundation.
The report states that if deliberations were conducted using technology, improvement could have been seen in the number of sessions as well as in the attendance of MLAs, further resulting in resolving public issues in a more efficient manner. According to Praja, in the first year of the BJP-led government, total assembly days were 47, which were reduced to 22 in the first year of the MVA government.
Survey report also states there has been a 78 per cent decline in discussion on education issues and 53 per cent decline in deliberation on health related issues. In the BJP regime, 918 housing related deliberations were taken but the MVA has taken only 304. The report also highlights that in the Winter 2019 session, Assembly members met for only six days, whereas in Winter 2014, they met for 13 days. In Monsoon 2020 and Winter 2020 sessions, members met for only two days in each session.
The Congress and the NCP promised in their manifesto to create measures to promote citizen participation in governance. However, no question was raised by their party MLAs in the last two years. Similarly, these political parties promised to improve the employment and livelihood opportunities for people; however, for this issue, together the Congress and the NCP asked only 3 per cent (5) questions in total, while the BJP and the Shiv Sena raised only 1 per cent (12) and 3 per cent (27) questions, respectively.
The Praja report has made some suggestions like the Mayor should be empowered and s/he needs to be involved in the Budget-making process, with complete power to make decisions. Neetai Mehta, the managing trustee of Praja, said, “In a Constitutional democracy, it is the legislature’s duty to deliberate and formulate policies to satisfy the growing needs of the citizens. However, the trend suggests that there has been a decline in deliberations over the years.” This, he said, has impacted service delivery in cities and, in turn, the quality of life of citizens.
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