Kejriwal govt creates Swaraj Funds in 11 constituencies

The Delhi government has created Swaraj Funds of Rs 20 crore each in 11 constituencies, setting the stage for implementation of its ambitious scheme of participatory governance.

“The Swaraj Funds have been created in all the identified 11 constituencies and it is now up to the urban development department to start utilising them,” said a functionary in the office of Chief Secretary K K Sharma.

A finance department official said a total budgetary allocation of Rs 220 crore has been made for the 11 identified constituencies where ‘mohalla meetings’ were held before the presentation of Budget 2015-16.

“For the remaining 59 constituencies, a total of about Rs 30 crore has been allocated,” said the official. Officials in the urban development department said for the 11 constituencies the list of works which voters of the area want to be done with the fund would be reviewed before getting down to executing them.

“In some constituencies, the priorities are known. These projects would be taken up first,” said an official. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “The payment towards the development work will be made to the contractor upon completion, only after citizens of the area give consent regarding satisfactory quality of the work.”

“Participative budgeting is a step towards democratic and transparent administration and management of financial resources,” said Sisodia. A brainchild of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the creation of the Swaraj Funds is aimed at avoiding corruption and mishandling of public funds.

The creation of Swaraj Funds in the 11 constituencies is a pilot project for the current financial year. Similar, funds would be created in all the 59 constituencies from the next year.

Sisodia said in each constituency the citizens would themselves decide the priority of implementation of these development works.  New procedures and systems have been been laid down for payments to give speed to the process of fund utilisation, said an official.

Even at the time of announcing the creation of the fund, Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal highlighted the fact that his government aims to facilitate improved citizen involvement in governance.

The successful conduct of mohalla meetings in the 11 constituencies had dispelled doubts about the implementation of the AAP government’s plan to introduce crowdsourced budgeting.

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