Are separate zonal budgets the next step towards a more decentralised Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)?
At the council meeting on Wednesday, civic commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar said that the BBMP may consider having separate budgets for each of the eight zones in the city. This comes shortly after the Chief Minister’s decision to appoint four Special/Additional Commissioners, each of whom will oversee two zones and have the same powers as the civic chief.
Mr. Kumar mooted the idea of separate budgets during a discussion on decentralisation of powers. “In the long run, this may be essential. While some heads of accounts may be centralised, the others can be handled at the zonal level,” he said while stating how zonal budgets would help the civic body truly achieve decentralisation of powers. “With zonal budgets, releasing funds will be easy, as will sanctioning job codes,” he added.
The discussion on decentralisation began when several councillors, cutting across party lines, complained about many files pertaining to emergency works to be handed over to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Ltd. (KRIDL) being held up in the head office. They also pointed out that they are forced to follow the movement of the files physically in the absence of an e-filing system as well as approach the Chief Financial Officer to get job codes sanctioned for works that have been approved.
Mr. Kumar said that the BBMP had handed over works amounting to several crores to KRIDL. “However, there should be some accountability and transparency. Some files may be held back, as we feel it may be tendered,” he said, and added that the civic body should have a timeline for each work, right from floating of tender to sanction of job codes.
Conceding that previous attempts at decentralisation and delegating powers to zonal commissioners were in vain, he said unless the Special/ Additional Commissioners utilise the powers delegated to them, the Government Order (GO) on decentralisation would remain on paper.
When councillors sought details on the GO, the commissioner said that he would issue a circular on powers that have been delegated to the four Special/Additional Commissioners soon, besides taking steps to simplify the process of approval, movement of files and sanction of codes.
Deputy Mayor B. Bhadre Gowda on Wednesday tabled the Administration Reports for three financial years (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15) amid questions by the Opposition BJP about the legality of the process.
Opposition Leader Padmanabha Reddy and others sought to know if the reports could be tabled when the election to the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor had been notified.