After pre-election sops, the Congress-led Democratic Front government has taken up a proposal for allocating an additional Rs 176 crore for development works taken up by MLAs in urban areas predominated by scheduled castes.
Sources said members from the ruling alliance would get preference in the allocation, with the CM Prithviraj Chavan-led Urban Development (UD) department keeping the responsibility of distributing these funds.
Although annual plans for each district already contain a fixed component under the Nagari Dalit Vasti Sudhar Yojana for such works, the state government has decided to allocate additional funds ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
While the regular funds are routed through the Collector’s Office and used for works recommended by the District Planning and Development Council headed by guardian ministers of respective districts, the UD department has proposed that the additional funds be distributed directly at the government level.
The department has already moved a proposal regarding the allocation to Chavan’s office, sources said.
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Besides asking the CMO to decide on how to distribute the funds between municipal corporations and municipal councils, the proposal also contains details of various works proposed by elected representatives, a senior official said.
The department has proposed certain conditions, including technical approval and quality audit of works, to ensure the funds are not misutilised. A senior official said the government had already raised supplementary grants for the additional provision during the winter session of the state legislature.
The state’s financial position has worsened following various populist measures, including reducing power tariff, supply of food grains at highly subsidised rates to the poor, modernisation of madrassas, drought and flood relief, etc. announced in the run-up to polls. During a meeting with the 14th Finance Commission, Chavan had himself talked of possibility of Maharashtra slipping from a revenue-surplus to a revenue-deficit position.