13/7 push * Drastic policy changes for quick procurements under modernisation scheme
In Response to the 13/7 serial blasts in the city,the state government has made drastic changes in its funding and procurement policies to ensure speedy procurements under the police modernisation scheme. Soon after the terror attack on July 13,the Home Department informed the Mumbai Police that unlike previous years,funds will now be released for all procurement requests received from it.
Sources revealed that over the past couple of years,funds were never released for a sizeable chunk of the police procurements sanctioned by the Home Department. The reason cited was that these procurements were to be made only when surplus funds became available under the police modernisation scheme.
According to Home Department officials,under the scheme,annual requests from the Mumbai Police for procurement of weapons,gear,vehicles,communication equipment and housing are usually forwarded to the government under two categories components A and B.
While items requested by the police under component A are sanctioned and funds released immediately,the procurements requested under component B are made as and when surplus funds are available, said an official,who did not wish to be named.
However,a top Mumbai Police officer told Newsline on condition of anonymity,What was actually happening over the past few years was that requests under component B were sanctioned in principle by the Home Department. However,the funds were never released. That is why we had to prioritise our requests and could only hope that funds might be released under component B too some day.
The Home Department has now merged these components and promised release of funds for all procurement requests sanctioned. As a result of the blasts,we have now told the police to merge both components and send a single list of items that need to be procured. Funds will now be released for all the items that have been sought and the police need not wait for them till surplus funds are available, said the official.
Under the modernisation scheme,75 per cent of the funding is to be borne by the Centre and the rest by the state government. According to Home Department officials,the Centre recently approved Rs 197 crore.
The police have been asked to submit an exhaustive list of what they need and the entire funds will be made available in a month, said the official.
To cut down on delays in procurements due to red tape,proposals for procurements over Rs 25 lakh will no longer be sent to the state Cabinet for approval. Instead,a high-powered committee comprising the Chief Secretary,Additional Chief Secretary (Home),Principal Secretary (Home),the Maharashtra Director General of Police and the Mumbai Police Commissioner has been empowered to approve them.
Blasts toll 27
The death toll in the 13/7 triple blasts rose to 27 as another victim succumbed to injuries on Thursday. Prashant Joshi,who was injured in the Zaveri Bazaar explosion,died at JJ Hospital. Joshi had sustained severe head injuries and had a shrapnel in the brain,which was surgically removed. He had also suffered 10 per cent burns on his hands and lost his eyesight as well. The businessman is survived by his wife and seven-year-old son. Dr T P Lahane,dean of JJ Hospital,said there were no more critical victims there.