-A unique rating system to grade the elected representatives of Mumbai-

Mumbai, Maharashtra (I-Newswire) July 28, 2011 - At a well attended event in the city today, Praja Foundation released their first ever Report Card, ranking the Members of the Legislative Assembly from Mumbai area.

"Looking at the growing problems of Governance and the ever increasing needs of the citizens there is a need of a continuous dialogue and appraisal of the working of the elected representatives. It is this need of continuous dialogue and appraisal that made us develop this Report Card." stated NITAI MEHTA, Managing Trustee, Praja Foundation.

The appraisal has been done keeping in mind the constitutional role and responsibility of the elected representatives and the opinion of their electorate. The ratings of the MLA's are based on:
(a) Data accessed through RTI on attendance of Assembly sessions, number and type of questions raised, use of discretionary funds, etc.
(b) Personal interviews with 28,707 citizens of Mumbai conducted by a Hansa research, to investigate the views of citizens on their elected representatives.
"While 60% weightage has been given to the performance of the MLAs as defined by the Constitution of India, garnered primarily through RTI, 40% weightage is on the perception of an MLA among the citizen of his/her constituency. The differential weightages between performance and perception makes the ranking more credible and balanced," explained Nitai Mehta.

Said B.G. Deshmukh IAS (Retd.) former Cabinet Secretary, GOI; Chairman, Praja Foundation, "A modern democracy like ours functions effectively when all those who are elected are involved actively and solely in addressing people's issues through the available constitutional methods. The citizens, have given their elected representatives the mandate to represent them and their grievances in the legislative houses for addressing issues that affect their lives. This mandate is not permanent; it has to be validated at regular intervals through the act of elections."
A standard scale for mapping the performance of elected representatives based on constitutional parameters is conspicuously absent from our society. Praja Foundation has created a performance appraisal system focusing on the working and performance of the 32 MLA's of Mumbai. The Scale for measuring the functioning of the MLAs has been designed by Praja with inputs from reputed people with sectoral knowledge in governance, political science, social science, market research and media.

"The Praja Report Card seeks to accomplish an assessment that is objective and unbiased through a systematic and transparent study," stated K.M.S. (TITOO) Ahluwalia, Formerly Chairman & CEO of A.C. Nielsen ORG-MAR. "This Report Card is an important step forward in promoting accountability and transparency in the political governance of the country," he added.

The MLAs who have topped the list by an objective ranking system as explained earlier and also in the report card, performing more efficiently relative to their peers. The top ranker, at number 1, revealed through the Praja Report Card is Mangesh Eknath Sangle, MNS from Vikroli area. Following him at number 2 is Jagannath Achanna Shetty, INC from the Sion-Koilwada and at number 3 is Sardar Tara Singh, BJP from Mulund.

Nitai Mehta said Praja will be publishing this Report Card to rank elected representatives each year. "We also hope that it will set standards and benchmark the performance of the elected representatives not only in Mumbai but across the country," he said.
Praja Foundation's initiative to introduce a performance ranking matrix for elected representatives has far reaching consequences, concluded Mr. Deshmukh, "For one, it will remind our elected representatives of their constitutional responsibilities. Hopefully, it will help elected representatives bring closer to their constituency grievances. And last but not the least; it will arm the citizen with a valid scale to evaluate the performances of elected representatives. Democracy can only benefit by this attempt."

About PRAJA Foundation:
PRAJA was founded in 1997 by a group of eight Mumbaites with a vision to re-establish accountability and transparency in governance. These individuals were fuelled by a concern about a general lack of interest among the Citizens' in the local government. Praja aims to create awareness among the citizens, and therefore empower them though the knowledge.

PRAJA believes that the availability of information can go a long way towards simplifying people's lives and evoking participation. This aims to ensure a holistic approach for ushering good governance must have buy in of our ideas from the elected representatives. At the same time, there should be tools and mechanisms which enable citizens to keep a close watch on the work done by their elected representatives.

PRAJA's goals are simplifying people's lives, empowering the citizens and government with facts and creating instruments of change to improve the quality of life of citizens in India. PRAJA is committed to creating an accountable and efficient society through people's participation.

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July 28, 2011

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