I left off Week 3 with the aim of talking to more RWAs and other stakeholders and drawing out my questionnaire survey properly.
However after speaking to several RWAs and given the time constraint, I decided to interview the people who I met. This allowed me to get more information out of them and also allowed me to interact with them better.
I also met with Anjali Bhardwaj who gave me a lowdown of the social monitoring system she has put in place in Punjabi Bagh where she is working with the MCD to increase the quality of services in the area.
I have a really long contact sheet and I have spoken to about 12 stakeholders by now. While people involved in advocacy/NGO/MCD have been extremely helpful, my interviews with RWAs haven’t proved very effective. Given the lack of information regarding various measures that can be taken, I have gotten very general views such as – there is lack of accountability in the system hence the system doesn’t work.
I have yet to transcribe my interviews and look through the common sentiments but from what I can tell – accountability and transparency are the biggest issues along with financial autonomy.
I think I will restrict my interviewing of ‘resident stakeholders’ by conducting a survey online about people’s preferred methods of participation by providing them a list of possible ways/structures.
I have also been reading a lot of my literature list. While a lot of it is repetition of decentralization structures, which are very similar to what has been done in Africa and Latin American countries, I chanced upon this one idea that is being implemented in both college campuses and Canadian towns.
It is the system of VoteMedia. Since Media is such an essential part of any democracy since it is the main link of information transfer, a large part of our decision-making rests on what the information the media provides us with on policy issues. VoteMedia creates a competitive atmosphere where the voters in politics simultaneously vote for the best media outlet that creates an incentive to provide true and useful information. It also incentivizes them to increase their viewer base in order to increase votes for themselves.
I read a paper on how such a system could be implemented to get rid of the information asymmetry that exists in politics in the participatory budgeting in Brazil.
I am looking and hoping to come across more innovative ideas like this.