Modi’s smart cities involve citizens as ‘deciders’

smartcitiesNEW DELHI: Smart Cities, the ambitious project of the Narendra Modi government, would introduce the concept of involving citizens in decision-making processes when it comes to civic issues within the habitation as the current governance structures do not focus on citizen participation.
The urban development ministry, which has been tasked with the job of overseeing building of Smart Cities, feels people do not get the feel of ownership of city and therefore, there is a need for involving citizens in decision-making processes.

A concept paper prepared by the ministry on Smart Cities acknowledge thefact that procedures are cumbersome and citizens often find it difficult to secure public services they seek in the present system.

“Further, responsibilities for different services are fragmented across multiple institutions, making the situation even more complex for any citizen.

Besides, many of these institutions report to different departments of the state government and local bodies have little influence on them,” the paper says.

It also says reforms, as how our cities are governed, are necessary as high quality governance, with a strong citizen — say in decision making — is critical for Smart Cities.

“Typically, the principle to be followed is ‘governance by incentives rather than governance by enforcement’.

This would imply that people do the right things because they are good for society or there are incentives to do so and not due to the fear of penal action.

However, a greater sense of respect for civic discipline needs to be brought in through deterrents to civic indiscipline.”

The ministry is also batting for public participation in governance through social media and by making all information available in the public domain. – From the Asian Age

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