List of things to follow if you want to solve problems in your area

So far, I have received expressions of interest from people in about 25 wards to work on local solutions for civic improvement and better governance. I’ll reach out to each of you individually and see how to help you get going, but meanwhile, here is a list of things to get started with, in thinking about the local area. This is from the work of CiFoS in Sanjay Nagar (thanks, Sathya Sankaran, Subbaiah T.S. and others). Later this week, we’ll organise a small workshop for the first few wards to begin to replicate this work in other areas.

Meanwhile, if you want to be part of public problem solving in YOUR area, the door is always open to more people. Just ping me.

1 – Events calendar – Create public events around sustainability like cycle day, open streets, environmental fairs, local flavoured arts & crafts melas, etc which include street closures or in public places. Put up the calendar publicly. Stay away from religion based events.

2. Issue reporting – Collect issues transparently from people using a mix of technology and face-to-face meetings. Find time to take up issues with Administration and resolve them by followup. Even if not all even some prioritised ones can should be followed up. This builds connect between citizens and local administration.

3. Data collection – collect data about different utilities in the neighbourhood. Like Bill payment centres, ATMs, Police / fire / hospitals, parks & playgrounds, telephone directory of administrative officials. These are important to have as base data to make informed decisions later. Mapunity has built tech platforms to help collect all this quite easily.

4. Project creation – Nothing will get done in government if it can’t be first turned into a project proposal and put through the necessary processes to get it off the ground. Identify the things that you want done in the area, and figure out which department needs to do what to make this happen. This builds understanding among the public of the process of doing infrastructure projects.

5. Public participation & outreach – Regular weekly meetings open to all where the progress of items are discussed and shared with all. Fix a time and don’t worry about number of people who attend just do it and share with all. This is equivalent of a ward committee but open to all, not to any members alone.

6. Helping public officials – ask the people who work for the government in various departments in your area what help they need. They have never heard this question from the public, and in many cases are quite open to people working with them to make things better. I have found this to be true in many places in the city.

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About Ashwin Mahesh 96 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.

1 Comment

  1. I have listed some simple things below (link) how a citizen can contribute with little effort. Cutting a ticket for BBMP sahaya is one of them. Although the quality of work done is poor and they never really resolve the root cause (for eg, open garbage), bbmp does service the ticket. I advise every citizen to try to make a change about civic issue(esp road, footpath, garbage) they see, by simply cutting a sahaya ticket and see what happens. This is a 1st step

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