A true democracy is one where citizens can participate directly in the process of decision making. While voting is the tried and tested way of doing this, for the process to be consultative, it should involve the direct participation and engagement of citizens. In India, citizen groups have emerged both organically and otherwise through which citizens conscientiously engage with the government and their own governance. However, they remain local, informal, fragmented and thus unsustainable as they are not linked to the formal process of decision making of any urban government.
To solve this problem Janaagraha proposed the concept of Area Sabha. This formal platform for participation at the neighbourhood level will be part of the government’s decision-making system.