Thursday, May 21, 2009


BBMP may be flush with cash and grants, but who will deliver the goods?
S Kushala | TNN

Bangalore: Three MPs, 27 MLAs and 198 corporators. For a city of 800 sqkm, which grew bigger two years ago, the size of the elected representatives, with nominated Rajya Sabha members, MLCs and nominated corporators thrown in, is not only bigger than the state assembly but will also see three layers of political governance for every 25,000-30,000 population. Such a huge cabinet of elected representatives means primarily, more money.
Enhanced allocation means speedy development. At the corporators’ level, a bigger Bangalore will require Rs 2-5 crore per ward towards ward grants — more allocation for newer wards which are crying for infrastructure upgradation. This apart, the government’s allocation of special grants will be increased with the expanded number of wards.
From its side, the government gives BBMP Rajdhani funds and special funds — all about Rs 500 crore. Added to this, funds under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for identified projects. “We can expect additional funds of Rs 600-700 crore if the 198 wards happen and elections are held. Since the government is keen on having more wards towards the periphery, there will be good allocation as the outer areas need a rehaul. They lack even the basics. Infrastructure needs to be built from scratch,’’ explain civic officials.
For starters, the BBMP budget for 2009-10 itself has ploughed in Rs 4,238 crore for the city with Rs 2,857 crore for infrastructure. Its finances have started looking up, with BBMP improving property tax collection — 2008-09 tax collections have crossed Rs 700 crore.
For year 2009-10, the target is Rs 1,100 crore, which the BBMP is sure of achieving. According to urban affairs analyst V Ravichandar, the MPs and MLAs are supposed to legislate but citizen expectation is that they need to deliver on city development. One expects funding for city projects by the state government to go up in view of the upcoming BBMP elections. In terms of central funding, JN-NURM is likely to get further impetus with the UPA at the Centre.
“To help fix Bangalore in the interim, we will need in excess of Rs 10,000 crore. Finding that kind of money will be difficult, irrespective of the number of elected representatives. I am skeptical about the 198 corporators and a titular mayor meaning anything for Bangalore, in the absence of implementing the Kasturirangan Committee report,’’ says Ravichandar, member of the erstwhile BATF.
With the formation of 198 wards, for every 25,000 to 30,000 population, there will be three levels of political administration — corporator, MLA and MP. Nearly seven wards will come under each assembly segment; 8 assembly segments cluster under a Lok Sabha constituency. The budget has allocated Rs 882 crore towards ward works which will get almost double the grants.
Observes Sajan Poovayya, chairman of FICCI, Karnataka: “Bangalore’s metamorphosis into a metropolis has brought with it some serious problems. Bangalore supports a population more than that of Denmark and Finland. The issues range from lack of basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation to larger issues such as lack of transparency in governance. The need of the hour is for elected representatives to work under a common minimum agenda.’’
BIG BUCKS FOR BBMP How much moolah will it bring in?
Rs 2-5 crore per ward State govt’s extra grants BBMP budget: Nearly Rs 3,000 crore for infrastructure MP: Rs 2 cr for constituency development - MPLAD Fund MLA: Rs 1 cr for assembly development BDA: Rs 500 cr per annum; started funding ward development works last year JN-NURM yearly funds
Identify good projects and MPs can get Union ministry sanction, allocation of funds From chief minister’s special funds, MLAs can get money for projects Corporators can have their way through to get the mayor’s discretionary funds for special ward works City MLAs can prevail upon government for more funds for Bangalore in the next budget


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