Monday December 17, 2018
Home Politics AAP kick-star...

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

0
//
Republish
Reprint

CC82S3dUEAEm9FQ

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.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Green Groups In Brazil Prepare A Climate Change Plan

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro's campaign

0
Brazil, rainforests
This photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. VOA

With its wooden walls and posters on protecting forests and fauna, Brazil’s pavilion at the U.N. climate talks in Poland offers no hint of the angst at home and abroad over mixed messages on global warming from its president-elect.

But campaign promises made by Jair Bolsonaro that could weaken protection for the Amazon rainforest are a hot topic of conversation among visitors, said Caio Henrique Scarmocin, one of three hosts on the stand.

At the conference, whose outcome will be key to implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists and environmental activists said they were laying the groundwork should calls for Bolsonaro to protect Brazil’s forests fail.

Campaign statements from Bolsonaro, who takes power in January, suggested indigenous lands could be opened up to economic exploitation, including agribusiness and mining, and environmental fines eased.

Brazil President, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a meeting in Brasilia. VOA

The ability of Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, to fine those who break environmental laws is one of the government’s best defenses against the destruction of forests, stoking fears of a deforestation spike under the new government.

Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a far-right platform, also pushed the Brazilian government to withdraw its offer to host next year’s U.N. climate conference.

“He has a hostile approach over environmental issues,” said Paulo Barreto, a researcher with Imazon, a Brazilian institute monitoring deforestation in the Amazon.

Brazil is home to about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, considered by many as nature’s best weapon against global warming, because trees absorb and store carbon from the air.

Alfredo Sirkis, executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, said he thought dialogue with the incoming government was still possible.

Rainforest, Brazil
In this May 4, 2018 photo released by Ibama, the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute, members of a specialized inspection group of Ibama walk with their weapons up through an area affected by illegal mining, after landing in helicopters in Munduruku indigenous lands in Para state in Brazil’s Amazon basin. VOA

But if environmental roll-backs proceed, there was a “contingency plan,” he told journalists.

A coalition would assemble regional governments committed to respecting Brazil’s emissions reduction goals set under the Paris pact, said Sirkis.

Governors in as many as seven Brazilian states, including Amazonas, Pernambuco, the Federal District, Espirito Santo, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, had already expressed interest in joining, he said.

“This is for starters,” said the former congressman.

A spokesman for the presidency of Brazil at the climate talks declined to comment.

U.S. shows the way

The plan has similarities with “We Are Still In,” a U.S. group of more than 3,500 mayors, governors and business leaders who have promised they will not retreat from the Paris deal.

Brazil, cuban doctors, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro talks to the media, in Brasilia, Brazil. VOA

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump gave notice the United States would leave the accord — although it cannot formally withdraw until 2020 — arguing it was bad for the economy.

Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of WWF-Brazil, said his group had been in touch with the U.S. campaign through WWF-US, which is part of the “We Are Still In” secretariat.

The American coalition has its own pavilion at the U.N. climate talks.

“We are learning from ‘We Are Still In’ the importance of sub-national (governments) and companies enhancing commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” Voivodic said.

But WWF-Brazil is not yet trying to emulate the model because it wants to prioritize dialogue already under way with the transition government, he added.

“It could be an option, but we are not going in the direction of starting planning this,” said Voivodic.

Deforestation, Brazil
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Brazil’s future environment minister told Reuters on Monday his “inclination” was not to leave the Paris Agreement, after Bolsonaro said on the campaign trail he might quit the deal, under which countries set their own targets to cut emissions.

Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, said he also looked to the United States as a vague blueprint to build a similar “resistance movement.”

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro’s campaign, he said.

Also Read: Many Countries Refused To Endorse Landmark Study as Climate Conference Enters Second Week

Also mirroring tactics used in the United States, his group does not exclude filing lawsuits to push back against potential weakening of environmental and climate regulations in Brazil.

“It’s on the table,” he said, adding that it was still a last-resort option. (VOA)