Citizen charters play increasingly important role in partner municipalities
November 2005; The growth of urban area of Nepal over the recent years has brought about corresponding challenges in urban governance. As the crucial relationship between good governance and development become ever more apparent, there is an urgent need on part of the development agencies to focus more on enhancing the capabilities of local governance. The transparency attributes of good governance has many ramifications that touch upon discipline accountability and efficiency aspects of local government functions. It is within this context that RUPP has assisted its partner municipalities in publishing citizen charters that provide clear and unambiguous insights into their basic functioning and help create for transparent and efficient discharge of municipal responsibilities towards its citizenry. The basic premise of citizen charter hinges around the citizens right to information and municipality?s basic obligation with regards to delivering transparent governance.
In simple terms, citizen charters list down services that the municipalities provide to its citizens along with information on fees and service charges that are payable as well as lead time taken to complete a formality or provide requested service. From citizens perspective, this has been a welcome departure from traditional mode of functioning where information was hard to come by and there was no way of knowing in advance about formalities and other requirements in connection with receiving municipal services without physically visiting the municipality and engaging in often frustrating queries or labyrinthine of formalities. The introduction of Citizen Charter has helped remove difficulty faced by the municipalities. As related information on the formalities involved, lead time taken and fees payable in return for the services are clearly mentioned in the citizen charter, there is limited room for someone taking undue advantage due to ambiguities and lack of information. Besides highlighting municipal responsibilities towards its citizenry, the Charter also spells out the obligations of individual members of the society towards the municipality.
Citizen charters have been published by all 12 partner municipalities of RUPP and being replicated in other municipalities. The contents of the charter have been spelt out in clear and succinct manner in Nepali in the form of booklets intended for wider distribution. In addition to being published in the form of booklets, the basic contents of citizen charters have also been outlined in the form of wall paintings in the municipalities. The introduction of the citizen charters is expected to enhance good governance and reinforce people's faith in local government institutions.