Multiple Aspects of Citizenship, Democracy and Governance
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December 07-09, 2012 | MORE NEWS
Ms. Rokeya Kabir, the Executive Director of BNPS, is presenting a power point presentation

An International Conference titled as ‘Governance and Public Service Transformation in South Asia’ held on Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka started from 7th December - 9th December 2012. Organizer of this conference was The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA). Ms. Rokeya Kabir, the Executive Director of BNPS, presented a power point presentation in this Conference titled in “Multiple Aspects of Citizenship, Democracy and Governance”. Summary of her speech  has mentioned below:  

The deprivation of a huge number of poor and marginalized people of their citizen rights and entitlement to basic services, the reduction of democracy to a mere electoral game, the crisis of the state manifested in governance failures and a propensity for bureaucratic centralization in the developing countries have entailed a need to constantly re-evaluate the concept of citizenship, democracy and governance. It is now urgent to find ways to restore the whole range of rights and entitlements associated with citizenship reinvigorate democracy and restructure governance in the light of felt needs and experience. This need is paramount in the South Asia region where the structural roots of poverty, inequity, gender discrimination and bureaucratic centralization run deep and the colonial legacy still persists strongly. The multidimensional aspects of these concepts need to be explored in their complex inter-relationship and translated in to reality.

Citizenship needs to be active and participatory which demands that people of all classes and denominations meaningfully participate in the decision-making process in an inclusive framework. Their rights should be constitutionally guaranteed and implemented through a truly democratic structure of governances. In this context, it is worth exploring if all the South Asian countries have democratic constitutions articulating people’s rights and entitlements and if the laws of these lands are compatible with those constitutional guarantees. Numerous ethnic and religious minorities along with the dalits and other subaltern classes who have long remained subjected to various forms of social exclusion and indignity are now claiming institutional recognition and, in many cases, positive discriminations in terms of rights and services. This paper seeks to throw light on these issues.

Deepening citizen engagement in decision-making, now being talked about as a means of deepening democracy, can go a long way towards making governance pre-poor and efficient. But this can be fully achieved only by a socio-economic transformation because in south Asia the problems of poverty, discrimination and underdevelopment are systematic. Therefore, only a deep systematic change with citizen participation at all levels of governance can serve to realize the full meaning of the concepts of citizenship, democracy and good governance. This is also an imperative from the perspective of the Millennium Development goals which provide a guideline for change and improvement in the quality of life.

Besides, The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA) presented a souvenir to Ms. Rokeya Kabir.

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