The Washington Post has a very interesting article today on an Indian initiative giving community coalitions access to bureaucracies and input in the governance process.
But under a popular government initiative called Bhagidari, which is Hindi for partnership, citizens’ groups across New Delhi have been empowered to walk into any office and demand answers.
Since 2000, neighborhood groups participating in the program have collaborated with the government to solve everyday problems with sewage, trash collection, roads and community parks. And that is no small feat in a country infamous for its bureaucracy and red tape.
I have to think that giving citizens a means to hold government agencies responsible for implementing public works projects and maintaining infrastructure is a good idea. While I don’t think American civil services are as rife with corruption as India historically is, there is still benefit by building partnership between communities and government agencies tasked with making the quality of life in those communities better. At a fundamental level, the Bhagidari program is a valuable exercise in trust between community groups and government. I’d be very curious to see how this would look in America and what instances of similar partnerships already exist in American communities.
Hat tip to MS for the article.