A decade after the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) launched the ‘citizen-participatory budget’, the initiative seems to losing popularity, as the allocation of funds for works suggested by the residents saw a significant drop this year.
In budget 2014-15, Rs 38 crore were sanctioned for the purpose — Rs 50 lakh each for the 76 electoral panels.
However, the proposed budget 2017-18, saw a provision of Rs 8.04 crore towards resident-suggested works.
“We have included most of the civic works suggested by citizens. It was not the civic administration that has reduced the budget, but it was based on the response of the citizens,” said Ulka Kalaskar, chief accountant, PMC.
On the decline in residents’ participation, Kalaskar said she was not aware of the reasons behind poor participation. “It is possible that the citizens couldn’t submit their proposal due to the elections of civic body. The election scenario might have diverted the public attention,” she added.
The PMC administration, Kalaskar pointed out, has followed its schedule for seeking proposals for “citizen-participatory budget” and had done the publicity as well.
According to a civic officer, the success of “citizen-participatory budget” in the past was due to active participation of Janwani — an organisation of MCCIA. “Janwani was coordinating between the PMC and the residents for ‘citizen-participatory budget’. They had also introduced online proposal submission facility. However, it was not involved now and the initiative lost its support,” he said.
Of the total allocation of Rs 8.04 crore for 14 ward offices, there has been no allocation for civic works in eight ward office areas. Aundh, Ghole Road, Dhole Patil, Nagar Road, Bhavani Peth, Kasba Vishrambaugwada, Tilak road and Sahakarnagar ward offices will not have funds under the budget.
In 2016-17, the budget declined to Rs 10.39 crore. A total of six ward office areas did not have any budgetary allocation under the initiative.
Among the works suggested by residents, the maximum number of provision is for road works, followed by civic building, electrical and sewage line. As per the initiative, residents can submit a proposal of civic works, not having expenditure above Rs 5 lakh. The ward committee, after verifying the proposal, recommends it for inclusion in the civic budget.