Palike to hasten social welfare schemes

Palike to hasten social welfare schemes

After coming under sharp criticism for its failure to utilise Rs 334 crore for social welfare schemes in the previous fiscal, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will now expedite the programmes.

Replying to the charges leveled by corporators at the BBMP Council meeting that the Palike was not serious on welfare schemes meant for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said the Palike has opened a dedicated bank account where the welfare funds will be deposited. He wondered why there was no dedicated account for welfare schemes despite clear guidelines by the government to have one. “To start with, Rs 50 crore has been deposited,” said Prasad.

He said he has simplified the process of utilising funds for welfare schemes through devolution of powers to the zonal level joint commissioners. They can use funds without waiting for the head office’s approval. “There is no need for files to reach head office. The funds will be directly transferred to the zones,” said Prasad. He added that the joint commissioners will only have to submit the utilisation certificate.

Regarding the grants for the SCs/STs to construct single houses, the Palike has asked the executive engineers to verify and approve them, said Prasad. When the corporators pointed out that the Palike officials demand fresh caste certificates from beneficiaries of single houses, the commissioner said such demands are uncalled for since the castes do not change every now and then.

“The old caste certificates will be sufficient to release funds,” said the commissioner. The chief accounts officer informed the council that in 2015-16, Rs 516 crore was sanctioned of which Rs 334 crore could not be utilised.

Mayor G Padmavathi suggested that an arrangement should be made where all the clearances should be given at one place, so that the schemes can be inaugurated in one go by the chief minister. She directed the Palike administration to approve the welfare programmes in a month.

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