The Greater Chennai Corporation’s budget for 2023-24 is expected to be announced this month and according to an official, the process of preparing it began in September 2022.
However, the delay in conducting the area sabhas can result in residents’ concerns going unnoticed. Each voter is a member of their area sabha which is chaired by the councillor.
In area sabhas, residents can voice their concerns and give suggestions. Taking these into consideration could make the budget more responsive, said Charu Govindan, coordinator, Voice of People.
She said there was a need for this kind of participatory budgeting. “Consulting residents will only improve decisions regarding the budget. It will help the Corporation understand what needs to be improved and by how much across the city,” she said.
Jaishankar B., member, Valimiki Nagar Residents’ Association, said the government must be willing to consider suggestions given by residents to the councillors.
“Our councillor and area sabha representative are both active but there must be some response from the Corporation and the government with regards to using these suggestions,” he said.
“We welcome suggestions from citizens regarding the budget and they can always share them with their councillor or zonal officer,” said Vishu Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner, Revenue and Finance.
The budget was prepared after discussions with zonal officers and standing committees and after getting their inputs. However, it is up to the Corporation to create channels to facilitate residents to raise issues.
Regarding the area sabhas, the Deputy Commissioner said they would take place this month and issues raised by residents would be considered.