CIVIC _Swati_

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About the organisation

Legal name of the organization: Citizens’ Voluntary Initiative for the City;
Acronym: CIVIC Bangalore

Year the organization was founded:
 Informal group formed in 1992;
   Registered on 30.11.1994 as Trust (Regd., Public Charitable Trust No 599 / 94--95 IV);
   Registered under Section 12A of IT Act on 12.04.1995, No. 492/95-96;
   Registered under Section 6(1) of FCRA (No. 094420800) on 08.10.1999

How CIVIC was formed?
CIVIC emerged as a voluntary citizen’s initiative in 1990-91 as a forum for discussion
and action on issues impacting Bangalore, its development and future. In 1991 - 92, few
urban planners and architects got together but there was no meeting place available for
them to formerly meet and deliberate on the civic issues faced by the state. The Director
of Max Muller Bhawan, Mr. Heiko Sievers got in touch with the group and he offered a
space in Max Muller Bhawan for the Civic team to discuss the issues of governance,
civic services, reforms etc. It was initially in Max Muller Bhawan that the Civic team
started meeting regularly to discuss on these issues and promote civic practices. It got
registered on November 30, 1994 as a Trust. Civic focussed on democracy,
decentralization and public participation, and their activities aimed at promoting good
governance, inclusiveness, improvement of service delivery based on information,
accountability and transparency. Civic has done remarkable efforts in realising
decentralisation in the urban context, in context to the implementation of the 74th CAA.
Since our inception, we have intervened at the city scale, advocating participation and
inclusiveness. CIVIC also works for and with urban poor communities to ensure
delivery of basic govt. services to them and enlighten and empower them to mobilise to
avail these services themselves.

Civic’s organisational structure

Tools used
The main tools used by CIVIC to improve service delivery while increasing
transparency and accountability encompass the Right to Information, Grievance
Redressal Mechanisms and Public Hearings

CIVIC’s work
Civic got its first funding from UNESCAP for Bangalore envisioning exercise in the year
1994. For this particular project 1 Accountant and 1 Coordinator were employed. Civic
worked continuously with civic groups during the framing of Rules under the Act and
made recommendations to the Government. Rules were framed in 1996. Civic worked
towards the effective implementation of the Act and Rules, especially the formation of
wards committees. It was only through the efforts of Civic that wards committees were
set up in Bangalore for the first time in Karnataka in the year 1999, after a delay of
almost three years. Civic worked with Residents' Welfare Associations to nominate
their own candidates to wards committee members, created awareness about these
committees among civic groups and facilitated them to interact with them for getting
better governance at local levels. Along with these, Civic continued their advocacy on
how Ward committees should be formed and function with urban development
department. Various sub groups were formed on 74th CAA, urban transport,
governance etc. Civic petitioned the Petitions Committees of the Karnataka Legislative
Assembly and Council on the delay on setting up of ward committees. It was only then
that wards committees were set up again in July 2003, after a delay of one and half
years. After 2002, Civic did a detailed study of the functioning of the wards committees
in Bangalore (that functioned between 1999 and 2001) in 2002 with the Institute of Social
Sciences, New Delhi, as part of a study in four states. The report of the findings was
presented to the Urban Development Department of Karnataka and Bangalore
Mahanagara Palike. It showed that the formation of ward committees in Bangalore had
failed to fulfil the spirit of the 74th CAA. The Right to Information (RTI) Act was used
in the 2006 study to get retrospective data on the wards committees. The hard data
which was difficult to access showed that the functioning of ward committees had not
improved but rather had deteriorated. Civic also received a Ford Funded project for the
period of 2002 – 05 for institutional development. During this period, Civic started
working on the issues of urban poverty. Civic did an analysis of the JNNURM with its
likely implications and brought out a position paper on it in early 2006. A Charter of
Demands on changes to the JNNURM was evolved with RWAs and presented to the
nodal agency, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development & Finance Corporation
(KUIDFC) at a public meeting in September 2006. Civic has worked in 10 wards with
RWAs in training them on 74th CAA and RTI. A guidebook ‘Power to the People' has
been published for the people to understand the 74th CAA. Civic has also conducted
several Grievance Redressal Melas (GRMs) with service providers in association with
RWAs at ward level. It organized panel discussions and public debates on various
issues impacting the city - traffic and pollution, land acquisition and displacement,
waste management, water, etc. Members of RWAs have used RTI vigorously to keep a
tab on the building bye-laws, programme of works, expenditure and quality of work in
their respective wards. Civic also received funding from Sir Dobaji Tata trust in 2008.

Change story Civic
After 2005, Civic started working towards empowering urban poor with information.
Civic initiated their work for urban poor in five domains; Food, Water, Education,
livelihood and Health. They started their work with an NGO forum in Bangalore which
was working with few slums. Civic started working in two wards, in two slums named
Desiyanagar and Rajiv Gandhi Nagar. Civic’s city level interventions also continued
apart from this intervention. The major interventions of CIVIC are as follows:

   Right to Food (RTF)
Civic’s work concentrated on promotion of pro-poor measures to access Public
Distribution Service deliverables in the selected slums. The strategy adopted by Civic
for this intervention was to press for better service delivery to the urban poor in food,
water and 18% SCP (Special Component Programme for SC/STs who are the major
occupants in the slums) with holding charters of respective departments against their
performance and demanding rights.

Case study: Corrupt Ration Shop owners

It was found by Civic that the actual status of services in these slums was not as per the
guidelines of the scheme. Setting up of the shop and allotment of cards were by political
influence, sugar was absent, wheat rare, and 5 litres of kerosene @ Rs.10 each would be
given only on 1 day. Those who could not get it would be given Rs.50 every month for
signing that they had got kerosene, rice would be given only one day in the month. The
date would be announced at the last minute and the shop kept open only for 1 hour. If
too many people came, nothing would be given. 40% of the people would not get
anything except for Rs.50 in lieu of kerosene. There was no vigilance committee and
people were not aware of it. Civic filed a complaint through the toll free helpline about
the problems related to the ration shop. The complaint was not answered and the Food
Inspector knowingly delayed the complaint and meanwhile informed the shop owner
about the complaint. Knowing about the complaint the shop owner threatened the
residents to withdraw the complaint. After 3 reminders and after finally calling the FI
directly, he inspected the shop on October 26, 09. He went alone despite Civic saying
they would accompany him. Highlighting only the minor complaints, he submitted a
report to the DD on June 11, 09, following which, the Head Office sent a notice to the
PDS shop, 2 months after inspection, on December 31, 09 (after Civic filed RTI
application on Dec 24, 10) about these small complaints. A fine of Rs.5000 was slapped
on the shop owner and the quality of rice was also improved. After this case, CIVIC
started an awareness program in which they undertook the following steps:

   Civic pursued with the Deputy Director and FI of the Division to give awareness
    programme in the slum. They agreed and the programme was conducted on Jan 20,
    2010. It was well attended and everything about PDS was well explained to the
    community by FI. After that people got motivated, became aware, voiced
    complaints and were assured by the FI of getting proper supplies and that he
    would come on the day of distribution, etc.
   On follow-up, the coordinator felt people have got motivated to an extent. After the
    FI spoke to the PDS owner, the latter agreed at the programme to give the full
    entitlement but later he threatened the community, saying he would give 15 kg rice
    and 5 litre kerosene only and they should come to him if they had any problems
    and not go to the dept. People told Civic about this. Civic, in turn, informed the FI,
    who assured he would talk to the owner. But the community was also scared &
    reluctant to come out & complain, especially to give written complaints, which the
    FI was asking for.
   After that, there was status quo. The shop would be kept open till everybody got
    their rations. But this lapsed after 2 months. Some consumers began to get only 10
    kg of rice on the pretext that supplies were over, and some never got any. Then
    people shared this with Civic. This was followed by discussions and bargaining
    with the community since they wouldn't give written complaints.

Civic conducted Grievance redressal melas (GRM)/Ahara Adalat with the community
in which government officials were also invited. After GRM Civic created pressure to
get responses on the grievances received from the community. A known person from
the community was appointed as chair for these meetings. The owner tried to pacify
people by offering 2 days for general commodities and 1 day for kerosene for each
community. Community leaders could monitor to see that everyone got rations. Finally,
a temporary vigilance committee was formed, comprising more reps from DN since it
has a higher population. Civic also provided trainings in the slum community on filing
RTI and its significance. The slum dwellers were surprised to see the impacts of RTI
applications filed by them.

Beneficiary Experience
Rajiv Nagar Slum (Ward No 55): Vasanta and Purni
                                               According    to   Vasanta    and    Purni
                                               (Vasata; one sitting in left with Purni in
                                               the picture) before CIVIC intervened in
                                               the slum, the ration shop owner used to
                                               abuse us and also used to throw our
                                               utensil/boxes we used to bring to
                                               collect   food grains. He was also
                                               weighing the boxes with the food
grains. With the efforts of CIVIC a grievance redressal meeting was organised in 2010
with the Food Inspector. Slum dwellers shared the problems they were facing including
the fact that every time they went to the shop, the owner forced them to buy grains
worth Rs. 250 at least or else he would not sell them anything. At times the qualities of
grains used to be abysmal and when we used to question the quality he used to threat
us to either take that or leave. The women put forth the issue that the helper in the shop
was a drunkard and used to misbehave with women. During that meeting the FI shared
his personal number. Vasanta narrated that even after this meeting when she went to
the shop, the owner asked her to buy stuff worth Rs. 250 at least to which she called up
the FI who the spoke to the owner and warned him to not persuade slum dwellers with
such conditions. After this meeting and this incident the shop keeper as well as the shop
owner did not misbehave with the slum dwellers. Now the condition of the ration shop
has improved tremendously. The shop keeper owner provides us grains without any
conditions and weighs the grain without the container. CIVIC’s effort has instilled us
with confidence. Earlier we used to be scared to speak up among the shop owners
fearing that he might not give us anything if we raised our voice but now we know it is
necessary to voice our concerns that too on a relevant platform. Now we also aware the
women of neighbouring slums to know their rights and question the authorities if

Impact of Intervention
 Community gained awareness and confidence to ask for their entitlements. They
   began to keep in touch with the FI.

 Dept. became more alert and started cooperating. At the initial stage the dept. did
   not respond. But when RTI was applied to get information, then DD from the head
   office started pressurizing the FI to co-operate with Civic.
 Disbursement of rice increased from 5 to 20 kg, timings improved and shop working
   days extended from 2 days to whole month
 Shop owner now regularly communicates with the community and cannot afford to
    be as indifferent as before.
 Five community residents have been nominated as Vigilance Committee members
    and the community itself has formed a monitoring group

   Livelihood (SJSRY)

Civic also intervened in the selected slums and worked on the Right to Livelihood. It
started its work by spreading awareness about Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rojgar Yojna
(SJSRY). BBMP was making plans to allocate the funds for this scheme. Civic took the
presidents of the Community Development Societies (CDS) to the bank and met the
bank manager to convince him to provide loans to the new entrepreneurs without
collaterals. The manager agreed after the meeting to provide collateral free loans. With
Civic’s effort three residents in Rajiv Nagar slum have received loans up to 2 lacs with
subsidy for various start-up businesses. During this visit we got to interact with one of
the beneficiaries Mr. Kumar (refer to the picture below) from RG slum. He shared;

“I wanted to start a business for which I needed a wood cutting
machine for carpentry. It was Civic which explained us about
the scheme and helped us to avail it. I got loan under SJSRY of
Rs. 2, 00,000 with a subsidy of 50,000 where 10,000 was
contributed by me as beneficiary contribution. Initially I was
workless for many days in a month and used to work only
when I used to get orders but after buying this machine I am
able to work regularly and have a sustainable income to
support my family.”

Impact of Civic’s work on Right to Livelihood
1. Few slum dwellers have already received their loans up to 2 lacs under SJSRY and
    loan applications of some more are accepted and approved by the bank
2. After Civic’s intervention, all slum dwellers are aware about SJSRY and Pension
    schemes and 4 beneficiaries from Rajiv Gandhi slum has got pensions
3. About five slum dwellers have got Income and cast certificates
4. Through its efforts, Civic became a member of the Community Development Society
    (CDS) and on city level informal City level Community Development Societies
    federation was created
5. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Budget Increased from 14% (2009-10)
    to 42% (2010-11)
6. About 8 Grievance Redressal Melas Conducted in 6 zones in Bangalore

   Health
Civic has also tried to build models at slum level for empowering poor groups to
understand their rights and entitlements and thereby gain enhanced ability to claim
their rights in health. Before Civic started their intervention in the slums, the state of
health services was inadequate. Garbage used to be dumped on road, children had skin
ailments and no visits were being made my Junior or Senior Health inspectors under
BBMP. The citizens had no information about the PHC and ANM were not visiting.
Women had appalling experiences of the maternity home and most of the women were
going to private clinics.

Establishing Desiyanagar Aanganbadi through a process of application supported by
During the baseline survey, 62 children in the age group of 0-6 years were identified but
there was no Aanganbadi in the slum. Another survey was conducted to get details of
these children and a Supreme Court order related to it was studied. Meetings were held
with the community, the need for an Aanganbadi determined and a proposal was
submitted to the dept. When there was no response, an RTI application after a month
elicited a reply stating that the letter had been transferred to the concerned CDPO.
Again a wait, then an application was submitted to the CDPO. When there was still no
response, a first appeal was given. After this, the CDPO staff started contacting Civic,
asking where the slum was located. A feasibility survey was done by them soon and the
need was confirmed. After 2 months, an Aanganbadi began to function from a Slum
Board room in the area. Currently, about 20 children are attending though 37 are
registered, owing to lack of motivation, especially in the Marathi community. The single
post of assistant staff for the centre is also yet to be filled.

List of Beneficiaries of Aanganbadi

Nutritional Food Supply for 6          28 children have received nutritional food from the
months to 3 years children             Centre
Pre –School Education &                38 children have benefited from Aanganbadi Centre
Nutritional Food supply for 3          by taking pre-school education with nutritional
to 6 years children                    food
Nutritional Food Supply for            29 pregnant women, 9 lactating mothers and 2
Pregnant and Lactating                 adolescent girls are getting nutritional food from
Mothers & Adolescent Girls             the Centre
Bhagya Lakshmi beneficiaries           13 women beneficiaries were selected under Bhagya
                                       Lakshmi Scheme
Health Checkups for children           Once a month, PHC and Sub Centre staff conduct
and Women                              health checkups for children, pregnant women,
                                       lactating mothers and distribute the necessary
                                       medicines and impart health and hygiene education

Beneficiary Experiences

Nagama (refer to the picture on right), a BPL card holder
undergoing her 2nd pregnancy, used to go to the GH for her
monthly check-ups. But she was not told that she was entitled
for the Janani Suraksha Yojane where she can get Rs.1000 from
the 4th to the 6th month. The doctor prescribed scans for her
thrice but these were not done within the hospital and free of
cost as they should have been for a BPL card holder. Instead
he used private letterheads to recommend private centers.
When Civic asked the AMO why this was happening, he assured them that he would
see this did not happen during the delivery. But when Nagama came for delivery, she
was referred to Vani Vilas Hospital. When she insisted that the AMO had said to have
her delivery in the GH itself, the doctor asked for Rs.5, 000 to conduct the delivery. She
didn’t have the money and the hospital would not provide a 108 or a hospital
ambulance to go to Vani Vilas when she asked for one. They refused even after the
patient’s husband agreed to pay for it. Finally she went to Vani Vilas by auto.
Afterwards she found out about other benefits that she should have got after delivery.
Renuka was getting her checkups done at MH and also had her delivery there. Her BPL
card entitles her to free treatment but the hospital staff demanded Rs.750 which she
paid. She also didn’t get the benefits of the JSY Madilu Scheme. This came up at the
GRM held at the hospital premises and she showed her BPL card & Mother’s card.
When this was verified she was immediately given the kit and the JSY entitlement.

Overall Impact
Individual level
   a. Beneficiaries of Aanganbadi & other schemes
   b. Patients getting proper treatment post intervention
   c. Awareness about health issues & govt. facilities for the same
Community level
   a. Community aware of their rights & entitlements; formed People’s Committees in
      the slums
Dept. level
   a. Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) began effectively functioning in both the slums
      (Desiyanagar and Rajiv Gandhi Nagar slum )
   b. General Hospital in RGN has opened Grievance Redressal Mechanism cell
   c. Compliance with 4 (1) a & b – display of information enforced in both Maternity
      Home & General Hospital after duly completing the same
   d. Activated supply and repair of various equipment in the hospitals
Apart from the above mentioned interventions, CIVC has also
undertaken work on building models at ward level for
strengthening capacities of citizens’ groups to effectively
participate and collaborate in and monitor municipal
functioning, Special component plan for SC/ST, improve the
service delivery in schools and strengthen the grievance
redressal system and access to drinking water in slums.

Challenges faced by the organisation

There are several challenges that Civic faced since its inception. Those challenges were
as follows:
    Funding constrains – A dynamic organisation like Civic which believes in
       continuously working for grave issues of democracy, governance and civic
       services needs regular funds to carry out their existing activities and expanding
       them in different areas to make an impact. But there have been instances where
       there was no funding from the donors and the trustees had to pool in to pay the
       salaries of the employees for few months providing their resources as a loan to
       the organisation. This not only hampers the functioning of the organisation but
       also results in loss of contact building with the community and government
    Change in organisational top management – Civic was established as a trust.
       The trustees provide vision and the future strategy to be followed by the
       organisation. But many a times the Trustees leave the trust for various reasons
       like health, family, other assignments etc. which impacts the overall functioning
       of the organisation and the organisation has to look for another trustee to fill in
       the gap for the one who has left the trust. The top management of Civic is still
       going through a transition to provide more clarity to the role of a trustee for the
       organisation and their intellectual and other contributions.
 Dealing with the government officials – Working with the government officials
   has always been a challenge. There have been instances where RTI was filed to
   get some information but the authorities did not respond. Most of the work
   activities get blocked when there is a role of authorities to perform. After years of
   working, Civic managed to make a rappo with most of the ULBs but when an
   official is transferred, it becomes difficult to start over with the new official.
 Sustaining the change in the community – Civic has also struggled and in some
   cases still struggling to ensure that if any change has been brought by our
   intervention, how can the community take forward the process independently
   and sustain the positive impact of the project. Many a times it was felt by the
   coordinator that especially in slums, the community’s main concern is housing,
   and the issue on which Civic is working fails to draw the envisaged response and
   interest from the community.

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