A fortnight since she was elected mayor of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Mukta Tilak has indicated that the civic body may cut down on socio-cultural events hosted by it. Speaking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange event, Tilak said there was a need to curtail civic expenditure.
On Thursday, PMC Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar, in his budget, proposed a hike of 12 per cent in property tax and 15 per cent in water tax. Kumar said these hikes were necessary as there was no clarity on the revenue collection structure of the civic body after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.
When asked about the proposed hikes, Tilak remained noncommittal, but said some harsh decisions needed to be taken for the betterment of the city. “We have to look at means to curtail the expenditure of the PMC. There will be cuts in civic spending, especially in cultural and sports programmes,” she said.
The various sports competitions hosted by the PMC may also be curtailed to cut down on spending. “Instead of competitions at national and international levels, such events will be conducted only at district and city levels,” she said.
Asked about her plans for the city, Tilak said she wishes to take up programmes for the well-being of adolescent girls. “Girls in that age group, irrespective of their financial background, suffer from malnutrition these days… eve-teasing and acid attacks are also major threats to them. I want to take up programmes to help girls address the issues they face,” she said.
The first citizen of Pune said she plans to put in place security measures such as installing CCTV cameras in various areas of the city. A member of the illustrious family of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the mayor’s decision to join BJP over the Congress had raised many eyebrows at the beginning of her political career.
Tilak said she had deferred her decision to join the BJP till her father-in-law Jayantrao Tilak, a veteran Congressman, was alive. “However, our family believes in freedom of choice and I felt no opposition from any one,” she said.
Tilak also said her exposure to various schools of thoughts makes it easy for her to work with people from various walks of life, and with varying points of view.