Fifteen years after its launch, the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Citizen Participatory Budget initiative has got a fillip as the civic body, in association with the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, is digitising it by developing a software programme for its effective implementation.
Launched in 2006-07, the initiative has been praised at various levels. Under the initiative, residents can submit their suggestions in a prescribed form. The civic administration, after scrutinising applications, decides their priority while submitting them to the ward committees for the final list of works to be included in the next year’s budget. People can propose works on roads, footpaths, storm water drainage, solid waste management, street lights, gardens, cycle tracks, traffic signals, bus stops, public parking, public toilets, water supply, public buildings, sign boards, etc in their wards.
“The PMC has decided to make the entire process of preparing the participatory budget transparent by proposing a web-based software application. The application shall be able to work both in a web-based environment as well as on desktop machines and tablets and mobile phones,” said Rahul Jagtap, from the civic body’s information technology department on Thursday.
Interns appointed under a Union government programme are preparing the software, Jagtap said, adding that the process started on Monday. He said residents would be able to track the status of their suggestions till they are included in the budget.
The web application will include an input platform for project suggestions with a corresponding database for the corporation. It will also feature a resident-friendly budget analysis dashboard and an administrator-friendly project analysis dashboard, Jagtap said.
“The idea is to develop a mobile-compatible website named PB+, which will be used by residents to provide project suggestions based on the amenities required in their wards. These inputs given by citizens will be stored in a database. This database will be accessed by PMC officials and the information will be used to constructively pursue the participatory budgeting process,” he said.
The database will also collect the respondents’ names, mobile numbers, email IDs, addresses and ward numbers. The project suggestions will be provided to ward offices for selection and approval. The aim is to both augment the response and simplify the process for everyone.
The open-source web application will be available in English and Marathi and have three sections—Know Your Ward Better, Basics of Budget, Cast Your Vote and Track Your Vote.
The first section will have details such as ward maps, names and contact details of corporators and other information. Basics of Budget will provide a simplified overview of the city’s budget, including a sector-wise breakdown of revenues and expenditures.
Cast Your Vote will allow residents to vote for their desired projects and specify the exact location and other particulars. Each resident can submit a maximum of three suggestions. They can use Track Your Vote to check the status of their suggestions.