Hit by shortage of funds for implementing welfare schemes for the urban poor, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now decided to review all the 24 civic schemes so as to frame new rules and regulations that would ensure benefits go only to the needy.
The PMC has been implementing 24 different schemes for the empowerment of the urban poor, backward class community as well as disabled and widows through its urban community department. This financial year, the department has a budgetary allocation of around Rs 50 crore for implementing all the 24 schemes but if all the schemes have to be implemented then the expenditure increases by over 50 per cent from the allocated budget.
The decision to do a review of all the schemes was taken after the civic administration sought additional funds to cover the shortage of Rs 7.78 crore for implementation of two schemes – the Dr Baba Amte scheme for disabled persons of Rs 2,000 per month to each disabled person and the Mata Ramai Bhimrao Ambedkar scheme of Rs 1,000 per month to each widow and destitute women of urban poor families.
If this was not enough, the PMC’s urban community department has been facing shortage of funds in implementing the scholarship scheme for meritorious students of Class X and Class XI. The budgetary allocation for the scholarship scheme is Rs 13 crore for the current financial year. The PMC had to shell out Rs 21 crore in the previous financial year for the implementation of schemes and it would increase this year, creating a shortage of funds for the scholarship scheme.
“There is a need to review all the social welfare schemes implemented by the PMC. The schemes might be good but they are not being executed effectively due to shortage of funds,” said Murlidhar Mohol, chairperson of standing committee.
He said the civic administration has been asked to carry out a detailed analysis of each of the scheme and submit a report so that appropriate changes would be made in the schemes to ensure they actually benefit the needy people. “The rules and regulations for each of the scheme need to be worked out to ensure only the needy people avail their benefits,” Mohol said.
According to the civic administration, the eligibility criteria for the schemes need to be worked upon to make the schemes reach out to the most needy. “The scholarship scheme for meritorious students of Class X and XII is open for all irrespective of their economic status. It has been observed there are many from economically well-off classes taking the benefit of the scholarship. It has to be limited to economically weaker sections on the basis of income certificate obtained from the district collectorate,” an official said.
A few schemes are same as that being executed by the state government, he said. “There is no need of replicating the schemes by the PMC if the beneficiaries are already availing benefits from the state government,” he added.
The pension scheme for disabled and destitute women is also being implemented by the state government so there is no meaning in implementing a similar scheme in the PMC, he said, adding that instead the civic body should plan a scheme for one-time financial assistance to the disabled and destitute to start a source of income.
The PMC has a scheme to distribute cycles to students of backward class community pursuing higher education. “It has been observed the beneficiaries do not use the bicycles and sell them. The scheme need to be reworked so that the beneficiaries actually use the bicycles,” he added.
Besides, the response to some schemes is poor: they include financial assistance for appearing for Common Entrance Test for higher education and financial assistance to get admitted in de-addiction centres. “The schemes with poor response need to be reconsidered as they do not yield much result,” the official said.