Bengaluru

Withdraw proposal to divest public health from BBMP: Janaagraha

The need of the hour is for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to be empowered, besides integrating primary healthcare with water, sanitation and climate change functions, greater involvement of elected councillors and functioning area sabhas and ward committees. Instead, the Karnataka government has proposed to divest public health functions from the BBMP and hand them over to a parastatal under the Department of Health and Family Welfare, noted Janaagraha, a non-profit organisation.

Opposing the proposed move, Janaagraha, in a press release on Sunday, urged the government to withdraw proposals that are in direct contradiction to the letter and spirit of decentralisation enshrined in the Constitution via the 74th constitutional amendment.

Experience of Kerala over the last two decades clearly points to the benefits of devolution of public health functions, powers, staff and finances to local governments. Involvement of elected councillors at the ward and sub-ward level, and extensive citizen participation facilitated by the same, have brought tangible benefits to Kerala in its COVID-19 response.

Besides Kerala, involvement of self-help groups in Odisha, decentralised systems in Bhilwara in Rajasthan, and most recently in Mumbai all point to the same lessons, the release pointed out.

Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO of Janaagraha, said, “This is a retrograde proposal being considered as a panic reaction. It is true that COVID-19 response in Bengaluru is fragmented... Bengaluru needs a lasting political solution, not ill-conceived administrative fixes.”

Srinivas Alavilli, Head, Civic Participation at Janaagraha, said, “If we keep creating more parastatals that take away the functions of a city government, there will be no one to hold accountable. We request the GoK to withdraw such proposals and allow the city council to strengthen public health at ward level and not centralise it, especially after lessons learned during COVID-19 management.”


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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 9:02:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/withdraw-proposal-to-divest-public-health-from-bbmp-janaagraha/article34573758.ece

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