Over the years urban residents have become immune to living with overflowing garbage in their backyards, arduous commutes to their workplaces, shabby housing and minimal social or cultural outlets. These day-to-day travails point to a deeper malaise within our cities – that of poorly-resourced city governments and badly managed cities.
It is time to move the lens away from the challenges that we encounter and delve deep into the systemic shortfalls that lie at the root of these inefficiencies. At Janaagraha, we believe that cities should be viewed through a structural construct that we refer to as the City-Systems framework. Depicted through a metamorphosing butterfly with four wings, the City-Systems framework defines four significant aspects of urban transformation – Urban Planning & Design; Urban Capacities & Resources; Empowered & Legitimate Political Representation and Transparency, Accountability & Participation. We believe that fixing India’s City-Systems is crucial to fixing our cities and consequently improving the Quality of Life for our citizens.
Four dimensions of our City Systems
Systemic interventions and the ‘three Ps’ to scale
Janaagraha does not run ‘one-off’ direct interventions. It runs initiatives that can be replicated, scaled, and adopted from the grassroots to government levels throughout India, through Partnerships, Platforms, and Policy reform.
Janaagraha’s work addresses four dimensions of our City Systems Framework for better cities.
These dimensions are reflected in whole, or in part, in all the world’s great cities.
Quality of infrastructure and services in cities is inter alia directly related to lack of availability of adequate financial resources (for both capital expenditure and operations and maintenance expenditure) and accountability for such financial resources. This is particularly true in India’s cities.
Municipal Finance Reforms therefore seek to achieve two goals with respect to our cities 1) financial self-sufficiency and 2) financial accountability. Both financial self-sufficiency and financial accountability are key enablers of transformation in quality of infrastructure and services.
Janaagraha’s Municipal Finance Blueprint envisages the following five components as pathways to accomplishing these two goals:
- Integrated Institutional Design covering:
- Integrated view of city’s finances
- Integrated treasury management
- Fiscal Decentralization covering:
- Widening of Municipal revenue base
- Rationalising transfers from state and making them more predictable
- Control over tax rates and capital values, for revenue buoyancy
- Independence to Municipalities for budget setting and expenditure
- Greater powers to Municipalities to tap private capital
- Revenue Optimisation
- Revenue optimization through improved collection efficiencies, higher Return on Assets
- Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management covering :
- Robust financial reporting
- Medium Term Fiscal Plans
- Better quality budgets
- Citizen participation in budgeting and civic works
- Robust internal controls and operational risk management
- Transparency and Accountability covering:
- Laws that enable timely publication of financial and operational information in the public domain; redressal mechanisms for non-compliance
- Institutional Capacities covering:
- Availability of adequately skilled human resources particularly in revenue and finance functions
- Information systems supporting the same
Our work on Municipal Staffing is based on a tool that we are evolving called Destination Organisation Chart.
DOC is a tool to fix the organisation chart of a municipality based on its target service levels, workflows and operational units so as to ensure it has adequate number of skilled staff to deliver high quality public services. It aims to solve the quality and quantity problem faced by local bodies with respect to municipal staffing.
DOC provides a roadmap for resolving the staffing needs of municipalities and identifying the process improvements required to yield better performance of the organization as a whole. Requisite skill-sets are defined against individual job descriptions, assessing the optimum number of employees required, and recommending reforms required for bolstering the performance of Urban Local Bodies.
Chief Executive Officer
In his role as Chief Executive Officer, Srikanth works closely with the Board of Trustees and Governing Board in drawing up Janaagraha’s strategy and maintains oversight over Janaagraha’s day to day operations. Prior to this role. Srikanth was Coordinator-Advocacy and Reforms covering Janaagraha’s city-systems reform initiatives.
Srikanth is an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and prior to Janaagraha worked with Standard Chartered Bank and KPMG.
Head – Municipal Finance
Here’s what we want to know about him;
With around 17 years of experience in the Infrastructure & Project Finance landscape, he holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, U.S.A. Work had kept him in the U.S. for a period of 4 years. Subsequently he moved back to India to pursue M.B.A. program at ISB Hyderabad. With core specialization in Finance he then started work on financial projects related to Real Estate & Infrastructure with core focus on Private Equity placements.
Apart from his work assignments his daughter who is starting school soon keeps him engaged. He likes trekking and wildlife exploration and pursues the same during his free time on weekends whenever possible.
Few of us who have met him already can tell that he is a very simple being who has joined us looking forward to do some good work towards the community!
Senior Associate - P.R.O.O.F
Manish Jain joins us as Senior Associate- P.R.O.O.F in the ARC team.
He is a qualified Chartered Accountant from Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. He has done his schooling and post-graduation from Rajasthan. He has completed his CA article ship/ training from New Delhi and for the past year was working as an Officer-Audits with M/s Suresh Surana & Associates, LLP, Chartered Accountants, Mumbai.
His hobbies are watching movies, playing cricket, badminton and volleyball, listening to music, reading books and traveling.
V R Vachana
Associate Manager - Advocacy
Vachana joined us as Associate- Advocacy in the Advocacy and Reforms team. She has a Masters in Development (Specialising in Public Policy) from Azim Premji University, Bengaluru and Bachelors in Economics from St.Teresa’s College, Ernakulam.
Her interest largely lies in Institutions & their interaction with governance and decentralisation. She has keen interest in the field of urban governance specifically in areas such as urban laws, decentralised urban service delivery and metropolitan governance. She often pens in journals and popular media.
She loves reading, enjoys travelling and is an avid listener of Hindustani and Sufi music.
Vivek Anandan Nair
Head - ASICS & Partnerships
Vivek Anandan Nair joins us as a Senior Associate - Research and Insights. He is a management graduate and has spent over 4 years working in the areas of consumer insights, market research and social research. As a consumer insights and market research professional, he has worked with some of the world’s largest FMCG and beverage manufacturers in projects that ranged from product development and pricing to those exploring white-space opportunities in developing markets.
He likes to keep himself busy reading magazines and books (non-fiction) along with a cup of coffee and makes it a point to indulge in sports as often as he can. He loves all sorts of animals, especially dogs out on the streets and likes to take long walks, often petting and walking along with them.
Associate Manager - Advocacy
Mathangi Chandrasekhar has joined us as Associate Manager- Advocacy in the Advocacy and Reforms team. She is a chartered accountant by profession and hails from Chennai. However Bangalore is not new to her since she has worked with Ernst & Young in Bangalore for over 2 years before moving to Chennai as part of Merger & Acquisition team.
Apart from work, she volunteers with an organisation involved in community development, runs marathons, travels, reads and pursues her interest in Carnatic music.
Associate Manager - ASICS
Apula joins the Advocacy & Reforms team as Associate Manager - ASICS. Having graduated out of Delhi’s, Lady Shri Ram College in BA Economics, she moved on to finish her post-graduation in Urban Policy & Governance from Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai. Her first stint with Vision India Foundation as a Research Associate (Urban Governance) proved to be a great learning platform on administrative reforms & local governance. She has organized events and has authored articles, published on The Huffington Post, The Indian Express, The Hindu & The Wire.
She has joined us with keen interest in Urban Governance & has found her ground in ASICS currently.
She is an environmentalist at heart and lives by sustainable practices. She enjoys adventures and want to undertake immersive travels in diverse cultures. She has lately developed an appreciation for history and civilisation, and is trying to read as much as she can on the subject.
Associate Manager - Advocacy
Namita joins the Advocacy & Reforms team as Associate Manager – Advocacy. With BSc – Maths from Miranda House, Delhi, Namita moved to finish a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM (K). She was with Hindustan Unilever (HUL) before joining us. Her stints with HUL have given her exposures in sales, brand marketing, international business & media planning. Her interest in social sector has brought her to Janaagraha. She is new to the Bangalore & already loves the weather. She is also looking forward to exploring this city in leisure.
Her others interests are reading fiction, watching different types of cinema and learning new languages
Associate Manager - Municipal Finance
Aparna is with the Advocacy & Reforms team as Associate Manager – Municipal Finance. Having graduated from Christ University, Bangalore with BCom (Honors), she completed her Chartered Accountancy in 2016. Her experience ranges from risk advisory in M&A advisory with consulting companies in India including Ernst & Young (EY). Her time at EY provided her with opportunities to work with startups in and outside India with a focus on operational and financial performance. Her interest in the social sector has bought her to us.
Her other interest includes reading, travelling and is currently training for a half marathon.