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AAP kick-starts participatory budgeting engine: Here’s all you need to know

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Amidst much pomp and frenzy, the maiden ‘participatory budget’, a first of its kind in the country has been kick-started by the Aam Aadmi Party government today.

The historical development took place at a function attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s Patparganj constituency.

The residents, who were given sheets of white paper and pens by Civil Defence volunteers, were asked by Sisodia to pen down their suggestions and grievances “wisely” before handing them back to the volunteers.

“Decisions taken inside closed doors reek of fraud whereas events such as this, where decisions are being taken publicly, are credible… there are countries where even laws are made in this way,” said Sisodia, who conducted the exercise on Sunday.

“Delhi government every year has around Rs. 40,000 crore but, after various expenses, around Rs. 16,000 crore is left for allocation to different departmental plans.
“A portion of that money will be spent for the development of around 10-11 constituencies this time through this exercise. If successful, it will be replicated in all the 70 constituencies (of Delhi),” he said.

The meeting organised for the residents of West Vinod Nagar’s E-block involved top Delhi government officials, including Chief Secretary K.K. Sharma, DM (East) Kunal and the AAP MLAs of the 11 constituencies that are being covered at the launch of the exercise.

Speaking at the landmark event, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Democracy today has turned into a five-year exercise. After elections, leaders turn into gods and misuse public funds.

“Villages have shown the change in direction in this regard. They say, ‘Dilli, Mumbai mai humari sarkar, humari mohalle mai hum sarkar’ (In Delhi and Mumbai our government, but in our area we are the government),” Mr. Kejriwal told the gathering.

“If the experiment is successful, then the way democracy is practised in the country will change. Delhi will lead the country”, he added.

Here is all you need to know about Participatory Budgeting:

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.

When was the model started and Where has it been applied?

The process was first developed in Brazil in 1989, and there are now over 1,500 participatory budgets around the world. Most of these are at the city level, for the municipal budget.

PB has also been used for counties, states, housing authorities, schools and school systems, universities, coalitions, and other public agencies.

How does Participatory Budgeting work?

Participatory budgeting generally involves several basic steps:

  • Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates

  • Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals, with help from experts

  • Community members vote on which proposals to fund

  • The city or institution implements the top proposals

How successful has it been?

A comprehensive case study of eight municipalities in Brazil analyzing the successes and failures of participatory budgeting has suggested that it often results in more equitable public spending, greater government transparency and accountability, increased levels of public participation (especially by marginalized or poorer residents), and democratic and citizenship learning.

Let’s see how the AAP experiment with Participatory Budgeting pans out.

Next Story

US And Brazil Agree To Promote Development In The Amazon

The US and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon and has also pledged a $100 million biodiversity conservation fund for the world's largest rainforest

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Amazon, US, Brazil, Agreement, Development
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring. Pixabay

The US and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon and has also pledged a $100 million biodiversity conservation fund for the world’s largest rainforest which has been ravaged by massive wildfires.

The developments took place during a meeting here on Friday between Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the BBC reported.

Addressing the media, Araujo said opening the rainforest to economic development was the only way to protect it, adding that claims the country was “not able to cope with the challenges” were false.

“We want to be together in the endeavour to create development for the Amazon region which we are convinced is the only way to protect the forest.

“So we need new initiatives, new productive initiatives, that create jobs, that create revenue for people in the Amazon and that’s where our partnership with the US will be very important for us,” he said.

Amazon, US, Brazil, Agreement, Development
President Donald Trump greets Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 19, 2019. VOA

Pompeo said the biodiversity investment fund would support businesses in hard to reach areas of the Amazon.

“The Brazilians and the American teams will follow through on our commitment that our presidents made in March. We’re getting off the ground a $100 million, 11-year Impact Investment Fund for Amazon biodiversity conservation and that project will be led by the private sector.”

More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest so far this year, the BBC said.

ALSO READ: US Biologists Declares “Unusual Mortality Event” in Deaths of Nearly 300 Ice Seals Off Alaska’s Northwest Coast

Also on Friday, Finland urged European Union countries to consider stopping importing beef and soybeans from Brazil in order to put pressure on Brazil to tackle the fires.

Last week seven South American countries agreed on measures to protect the Amazon river basin.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.

At a summit in Colombia, they also agreed to work on reforestation. (IANS)