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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.

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Kejriwal’s Door to Door Donation Drive is a Farce: Munish Raizada

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors' list on its website and then only seek new donations.

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Kejriwal
Dr. Munish Raizada along with his Chanda Bandh Satyagraha team outside the office of AAP MLA Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar). File photo

Chicago: The Aam Aadmi Party Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has launched a door to door campaign seeking donations for the AAP.  According to former overseas co-coordinator of Aam Aadmi Party, Dr. Munish Raizada, this is nothing more than a misleading campaign!

Raizada says that Kejriwal has no moral right to seek donations from common man as he has dismantled financial transparency in AAP by removing donors list from its website. Displaying donors’ list showing real time donations and making the income and expenditure accounts available online were the basis and the promise of the AAP, emphasised Raizada.

Now, after hiding donors’ list and its balance sheets from the public, the AAP cannot claim to be practising alternative politics.

Munish Raizada, kejriwal
Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it. (File photo)

It may be noted that AAP removed the list of donors from its website in June 2016. Moreover, since then AAP has been surrounded with controversies related to donations. AAP had also received Rs 30.67 crore Income Tax notice, last year in November, implying that all is not well with AAP’s accounts, says Raizada.

He further questions Kejriwal, that if AAP has nothing to hide about its accounts and if AAP is honest with its account keeping then why is Kejriwal hiding the donations?

Even the donation policy that was earlier the pride of every AAP volunteer has been done away with. The donation policy on AAP website used to state: “Every single rupee donated to the party will be published on the website immediately along with the details of the donor. Every expense done by the party will also be published on the website.”

But rather than putting the donors’ list in public domain, the party’s corrupt leadership started blaming BJP and I.T. Department for harassing its donors.

 

munish raizada, kejriwal
Chanda Bandh Satygrah demands restoration of  lost values in AAP ( File Photo)

 

Opaque political funding is the fountain head of corruption. Further, Raizada says that if the party cannot be transparent in its political funding, then talking about fighting corruption and graft is a mere rhetoric. He said that the appeals by Chanda Bandh Satyagraha have fallen on deaf ears as far as the party’s

leadership is concerned. 

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors’ list on its website and then only seek new donations. Chanda Bandh Satyagraha was started by AAP’s volunteers in 2016, with an appeal to the public not to donate to AAP unless it makes its donation lists open and transparent.