Community-led participatory budgeting in Bangalore : learning from successful cases
Author(s)Clay, Elizabeth M. (Elizabeth Margarette)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Urban India is rapidly growing, and in cities like Bangalore, the dramatic changes have both positive and negative impacts. Citizens express concern about the capacity and credibility of local government and corporate sector in leading local development. In contrast to rural India where the 73rd amendment helped spur citizen participation in local decision-making, in urban India there have been limited channels for citizens to participate in governance outside of the electoral process. In 2001, a civil society organization, Janaagraha, launched a participatory budgeting campaign aimed at improving local governance through engaging citizens in local infrastructure planning. The campaign resulted in citizens' budget priorities being approved in over twenty percent of the city's wards. Large-scale participatory budgeting has traditionally been an initiative of ruling parties using the apparatus of the state. As a civil society initiative, the participants faced the dual challenges of mobilizing citizens to produce good plans and convincing local government that their plans were legitimate. This thesis aims to answer two questions. First, what were the attributes of the associations and political and spatial factors of the communities that were successful in a 2001 participatory budgeting campaign in Bangalore?(cont.) Identifying these success factors can provide tools to other communities in the previously uncharted territory of local participatory budgeting in urban India. Second, did the campaign strengthen or sidestep local democracy? This question looks within "success" to uncover the impact on existing political relationships and shed light on the effect of the campaign beyond infrastructure. To answer these questions, case study-based qualitative analysis in six Bangalore communities was conducted. Based on these cases, factors for ward-level success included limited political history or entrenchment, both for the elected official and physical ward in addition to committed leadership that had prior engagement with local government. The participation in the campaign was not representative of the population at large and did not result in pro-poor outcomes that have been the hallmark of other participatory budgeting initiatives. However, it strengthened representative democracy and institutionalized collective action instead of individual clientelist relationships. These answers suggest that citizens can successfully initiate participatory planning and budgeting campaigns, and they are not exclusively the domain of ruling state parties.(cont.) The thesis concludes with recommendations for community-based organizations that want better neighborhood-level outcomes and a more significant role in decision-making. As community participation is institutionalized in India, understanding how citizen's groups can be effective both internally and in partnership with local government may contribute to improved urban governance and outcomes.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2007.Includes bibliographical references (p. 128-131).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.