Decentralisation of power: A solution in pieces

BBMP Budget meeting 2019-20.

How will zonal budgets make a difference to Bengalureans? Splitting the budget to cater to different zones might look good on paper. But can it work on the ground, can the utilisation of the allotted funds be more monitored better? Here are a few voices from across the city.

“The idea of dividing the BBMP budget and distributing it to eight zones is a stroke of genius,” feels Manoj B A, a resident of Arakere. “Mismanagement of money is resulting in work delays and the general public are now being victimised.”

He believes that “the decentralisation of budget will definitely bring a good amount of transparency and accountability in the functioning of BBMP and is the dire need of the day. A system to check the spending of money is also required.”

However, he has a word of caution: “Care has to be taken to spend the decentralised budget money according to the needs of the areas in a timely manner. The practice of allocating more money to the ruling party corporators should be avoided.”

It helps in paying more attention to clear the garbage and providing basic amenities, he notes. “Implementation of the decentralised budget with a fool proof mechanism will be beneficial for both the government and the public.”

However, it should have a right perspective. The problems of people in big wards are different from problems in small wards. “Fund allocation must be done according to the size of each ward and the problems must be addressed accordingly.”

While zonal budgets are yet to get a concrete shape, the BBMP will soon get special commissioners, each in charge of two zones and with powers equal to that of the Commissioner at the zonal level. Many believe this will ensure faster completion of works.

The BBMP Restructuring Committee had earlier recommended the division of the Palike into five different corporations. The State government had rejected the proposals. But the recent decision to appoint special commissioners has found many takers among the citizenry.

They see it as a partial implementation of the report. But, to ensure good governance and solving civic issues, much more needs to be done, they feel.

“The B S Patil committee report that talks about splitting BBMP into five independent corporations must be implemented fully and the empowerment must be done at the ward level. The wards need to be restructured scientifically so that the area under each ward is equal so that the resources can be utilised according to the area of each ward,” says Vishnu Kasavanahalli, a resident of Belandur.

Decentralisation of power is a good initiative, but the powers given to each special commissioner should be discussed and the responsibility of each officer defined. The BBMP already has eight zones but the conditions of roads and other essentials that come under BBMP in many areas is pathetic and needs more attention.

Whitefield resident, Pravir B notes: “Decentralisation of BBMP Commissioner’s powers by appointing four special commissioners is a positive step. However, Mahadevapura zone including Doddanekundi, Bellandur, Whitefield, Kadugudi, Hoodi and Varthur is in pathetic state and a victim of neglect. The next step should be to split it from BBMP and make it a separate district or city.”

In the new setup, the power of the corporators will remain the same. Some of them have welcomed the decision and believe that work will progress at a good speed.

Chickepete ward corporator Leela Shivakumar notes, “This is a good move. I welcome this. Earlier, processing the documents and getting them signed would take a lot of time as one person was responsible for authorising and giving approval.”

Now, with the appointment of four special officers, “the work can be done easily as the responsibility is shared between several people and the burden on each person is reduced. Hence, the approvals to start different projects can be sought quickly and we can take several development measures.”

 

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