The principle of participation is widely recognized as a right in itself. The right to take part in the conduct of public affairs means that every person and all people are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy civil, economic, social and political development. Participation of citizens in governance of cities has long been an appreciated goal.It is often claimed that objective of decentralization and good governance is to enlarge citizen’s role in access and participation in city government. The need for decentralization and participative local management has been constitutionally recognized in the 74th Amendment, and a broad structure has also been proposed were in Urban Local bodies (ULBs) are expected to play a larger role in planning, financing and management of urban areas. It means a sensitized and aware government that is in tune with the needs of its citizens.In urban areas, where a large proportion of people live in slums, inclusiveness acquires new meaning – that of people’s participation in the processes of governance and development. Having said the above it is important that participation needs to be for everyone, especially the ‘hard-to-reach’ like vulnerable groups on streets, pavements, minorities, children or older people. It is only when participation is regular, long-standing and inclusive that it contributes to the necessary revitalization of local democracy.Development plans are the instruments of equity used by ULBs as forward planning tools by anticipating urban development and making provisions for the same in terms of (a) the allocation of land for various uses (b) the regulation of its development and the provision of civic infrastructure.Review of Mumbai’s planning experience
First development plan of Mumbai
The first development plan of Mumbai was for the period of 1964-1981. It primarily concentrated on: (i) providing various amenities in line with a land use plan, (ii) shifting the development to the near suburbs; (iii) restricting the operations of industries, trade and population concentration on the island city. This plan met with some inevitable failures – failure to comply with time lines, failure to expand/ improve the existing infrastructure, failure to develop amenities proposed in the plan.
Second Development Plan
The Second development plan was a revised development plan prepared for the period of 1981-2001 initially and it was sanctioned in parts between 1991 and 1993, the last being in 1993, hence it got extended to the period of 1991 – 2013, once again exposing the inordinate delays in the making of plan proposals and getting the approvals. The plan made provisions for residential land use and housing for a population of 9.87 million by 2001, whereas the population level in 1991 itself was 9.9 million in 1991 and it reached 11.9 million by 2001, leaving a backlog population of 2 million to be accommodated.However, both the plans failed to meet the expectations of the citizens as well as the decision makers for several reasons:• Design and approach were far too simplistic in anticipating the citizens’ needs and aspirations;
• Very long tenure has been a major hindrance to anticipate socio-economic changes over time horizon;
• Restrictive approach taken to their implementation without adequate flexibility to meet the changing needs of the hour has been acting against the spirit of urban planning.
Essentially, it is because of these inadequacies in the plan design, plan making and plan implementation that only 12% actually got implemented. As Mumbai’s Development Plan 2014 – 2034 is underway, it is important to rectify the mistakes. Though some efforts have been taken by standing committee Chairperson, Rahul Shewale, but they have been very ad- hoc. There exists a need to incorporate these mechanisms in the development process.
• There is a need to develop mechanisms for people’s participation in the process of development planning, in both its preparation and implementation. It has to be from the very beginning and has to be bottom-up approach rather than top-down approach.• ￼The Area Sabha structure proposed in the Community Participation Law (CPL) is the ideal forum for Citizen’s participation. The law is already in the process of being implemented by Maharashtra State government. Hence CPL should be implemented ￼immediately to create the legitimate forum for people’s participation.
• In the present context MRTP has no defined provision for Peoples Participation; there is a need to bring about an Amendment in MRTP which should specifically mention the process & scope for people’s participation.
• “Draft Vision Document” should be made public and their after “Vision Consultation” should be organized at Ward level to discuss big issues and policy decisions of the future – such as people getting affected, housing, transport, safety and policing, health, housing and the environment.
• People should give their suggestions and objections pertaining to “Draft Vision Document” in a set time frame, which can be of 30 days. These objections or suggestion can either be given online or in writing to ward office.
• Thereafter the “Final Vision Document” should be prepared and made public; the same should also be made available in soft and hard copies. All ward offices should have the ready reference copy of such document. The document must be translated in local language & even a synopsis of the same can be made.
• Ward Level Help Desk should be set up in all wards, which will act as first point contact for people of that particular ward.
• Ward level infrastructure mapping should be done in all wards, which will give an idea about the existing infrastructure and will also provide an understanding of the requirements in the particular ward.
• People’s representatives/ Nagar Sewaks should organize meetings/ Area Sabha’s at polling booth level and can come up with concrete proposals. There is a need to implement the “Community Participation Law”.
• Development Plan process needs to be decentralized at ward level so that both officials and people’s representative of that particular ward/constituency can contribute in the processes.
• Collation of proposals of various polling booth of that particular ward should lead to “Draft Ward Development Plan”. Various consultations can be arranged and a time frame of 30 days can be given for people to give objections or suggestions on “Draft Ward Development Plan” in each ward. This will lead to finalization of Ward Development Plan. All Ward Development Plans should be collated to make “City Development Plan” which can be kept open for scrutiny for 90 days.
• Online survey and digital engagement tools should be developed to allow people to engage during specific strategies, like ELU & PLU.
• Regular public notifications and media address, both electronic and print should be a must.