Master Plan Implementation Support Group, MPISG, has decided to wind up.

MPISG started from a research method to document MPD-2001 revision as part of a larger chronicle of transitions in planning and grew into a synergy platform for groups of ordinary citizens to pursue their MPD entitlements by due processes open to all ordinary citizens. A large amount of work emanated from MPISG. As of now, no pending matter is being dropped. All internal and professional contracts have been suspended so MPISG constituents can re-negotiate them without restrictions that came with synergy and re-organise if and as they wish. (The decision to wind up is really the decision of mpisg conveners and their steno-cum-planner, all of whom are or will soon be 50-ish, to retire to pastimes befitting their age).

The obvious reason for deciding to wind up is imminent notification of MPD-2021.

MPISG had responded to MPD-2021 public notice with detailed objections to various chapters showing how exactly they abandon entitlements and solutions to legislate problems to suit the alliance of interests among governments that neglected to enforce entitlements, realty interests in the land meant for solutions, and the organized-civil-society edifice that thrives on problems. MPISG considers MPD-2021 a mistress plan set up by this alliance that is expanding in mission-mode: in Delhi it has set JNURM and SEZ Act 2005 rolling, enacted the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act 2006 to chase the USAID-sponsored MCD Bill, forced into MPD-2001 changes that strike at the basis of its development code and land use based regulation. The manner in which sealing and demolition drives were deployed to convey inevitability about the MPD-2021 to make problems intractable is instructive (also for those watching the current goings-on in, say, West Bengal or by way of the bright candle-lightings of the path to police reforms).

The real reason for mpisg decision to wind up is that mpisg has only ordinary citizens.

MPISG has always had few successes and many distresses. The best of 2006 were the Arjun Camp judgment, some CIC decisions and a few stalling successes. The worst were lawless evictions and some personal attacks. At a different level, the worst was recurrent glimpses of atrophy in our systems (besides anomie or what some prefer to call invisible-hand in our polity), leading to the recurrent idea that ordinary citizens might as well take a rest while the alliance cuts its deals and completes its takeover. Then there were two amusing developments at end of 2006: one, we learned civil-society bigwigs have launched a new-Delhi-people-alliance to make master plan and a well-wisher said we better wind up before we get mistaken for that privatize-planning affair. Two, sibling synergy-platform in Uttaranchal issued curtain-call after proper business enterprise was visited by bigwig NGO wanting to give prize to call it local-community-dvpt-effort and, after booting the NGO out for temerity, the business-community learned state had already given itself prize for same.

In 2007, besides winding up, we hope to gear up for reformed ordinary-citizenship:

We figure there are two types of reforms being pushed in mission-mode: the core ones for transition from land use based regulation to land ownership based one (for which statutory planning is being subverted in favour of private/participatory planning) and ancillary ones for data and for disclosure and participation laws. we have extensively engaged, besides on MPD, also on RTI (in 2006) and on the Bhagidari program (since 2000) in delhi. so we are able to visualize what might be. We expect that:

  • There will be no development law and hence no entitlements or solutions in law and no statutory duties owed in development for ordinary citizens to invoke
  • There will be shifting goal-posts, with organized CSO/NGO empowered to shift them in private/participatory planning in which ordinary citizens will have no separate say
  • By participation laws CSO/NGO will dominate decision-making as well as media and courts while atrophied local bodies will reduce to their data bankers and independence of the professions and populism in politics will get redefined
  • The ordinary citizen will have the right to elect representatives to do what cso-ngo tell (and experts, media and courts echo) and the right to know (or, rather, to ask)

We figure that practicing ordinary-citizenship in times to come will thus hinge on duties under participation and disclosure laws. for practice (and also because we figure things could be less confusing / invisible if CSO/NGOare the only people-representatives and the actual / invisible decision-makers are dragged into the purview of RTI), we are mulling two clubs: (a) refuse-to-vote and (b) did-you-RTI-today.