Why is citizen participation important?

It is because participation from citizens in governance related matters makes our local elected representatives accountable. We elect those who govern us, and therefore our participation is the only way to get them to deliver to our satisfaction. Also, participation allows us to be part of the decision making table at the local level, at the footprint that matters to us most -- our neighbourhoods. This means decisions on our local water supply, our roads, our sewage, our traffic, approvals for land use and zoning and so on.

While urban areas continue to struggle to have basic infrastructure and services meant to ensure liveability, making it happen is not the responsibility of the government alone. The democratic process does not end with voting. We, the residents of a city’s locality are as much responsible for it as are our elected representatives and civic agencies, and need to take ownership of it as individuals and a community.

Fixing our drains, our roads, our garbage, our water, our traffic, therefore, is fixing the nuts and bolts of our democracy. It takes the ideals of democracy into the realm of concrete action. And this is what Namma MLA is all about; active citizenship to facilitate action, and to bring about change on the ground.