Taking the cue from the state government’s directive to move towards cashless transactions, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has initiated a move to adopt real-time gross settlement (RTGS) as a mode of payment for various departments. Apart from making it mandatory for contractors to set up bank accounts for labourers, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, the civic body also planned not to accept cheques in the future.
Following demonetisation, the BMC is planning to become completely cashless while making payments as well as accepting payments over the next two months, Mehta said.
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“We are trying to ensure that all transactions are made through RTGS to improve transparency in the system. In fact, payment through cheques also leaves room for harassment and we are planning to do away with that as well,” he said. Mehta said the BMC would devise a unified software and all payments could be made through it.
Since last month, the BMC has asked all the contractors to mandatorily pay the wages of all labourers through RTGS.
“We have been paying the contractors through the RTGS system. Since last month, we have asked them to set up accounts for all the labourers instead of paying them in cash. The contractors are switching to RTGS mode of payment and we are updating the numbers daily,” said Vijay Balamwar, Deputy Municipal Commissioner.
Currently, there are around 1,000 contractors who have employed around 8,000 NGO labourers for Raste Swachta Yojna and motor loaders of garbage, and 750 contractors who have hired around 9,600 volunteers with the Swach Mumbai Prabodhan Abhiyaan.
While the minimum wages of NGO labourers is around Rs 15,000 each, SMPA volunteers are paid Rs 6,000 every month along with local level contributions.
According to BMC’s records, on a monthly basis, the wages of 17,600 labourers amount to around Rs 18 crore which is now set to be paid in cashless transactions. Of the total number of contractors, around 30 per cent of them have set up accounts for their labourers, while others are in the process of doing so.
A civic official said majority of the payments to the building proposals department through the Citizen Facilitation Centre were currently made through cheques.
“Premium fees paid by developers (for parking space, open spaces), deposits (debris deposit, development charges, scrutiny fees) and penalties for the regularisation of unauthorised constructions are all paid by cheques and sometimes in cash as well. In order to switch to RTGS, we will need a software which has a single interface through which we can track all payments being made to the BMC,” said an official from the building proposal department.