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You can now air your civic needs ahead of Bengaluru budget

MY CITY, MY BUDGET Janaagraha campaign aims to collect at least 20,000 inputs from citizens ahead of the next budget by March.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 02, 2015, 10.51 AM IST
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Heaps of garbage was seen piled up on busy church street in Bengaluru on November 8, 2015.
Heaps of garbage was seen piled up on busy church street in Bengaluru on November 8, 2015.
BENGALURU: Urban governance group Janaagraha has launched a new platform on which citizens could have a say in what their neighbourhood requires from Bengaluru's budget. The 'My City My Budget' campaign aims to collect at least 20,000 inputs from citizens ahead of the next Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget due to be tabled by March 2016. The campaign would also cover the budgets of Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company and the traffic police.

"The campaign will cover anything the city needs that can be budgeted," said Sapna Karim, coordinator civic participation at Janaagraha.

The campaign has an online platform for citizens to key in what they need from the budget. In parallel, Janaagraha is reaching out to resident welfare associations, schools and colleges with focussed sessions to collect inputs. Citizens can use the online platform to seek budgetary attention for ten broad areas - mobility, water supply, solid waste management, sanitation, public health, electricity, environment, crime, public utilities and heritage sites.

The initiative has contacted 167 RWAs to shortlist 15-20 priority projects they wanted budgeted for their areas. Karim said: "We act as a facilitator and provide aggregated inputs to the government. After the budget, we will tell citizens what was actually included and follow it up with quarterly neighbourhood reports."

BBMP and BDA, two of Bengaluru's largest municipal bodies, consistently fall short of their own estimates due to unrealistic budgeting. Between 2010 and 2014, consecutive budgets of BBMP overstated the amount of money it expects to generate (receipts) and spend (payments) by about 60% against actuals. The BDA is worse off with a variance of as much as 80% every year. As a result, little is left for the city's development and upkeep.

BBMP Special Commissioner (Finance) Kumar Pushkar said the civic body's budget is prepared largely based on inputs received from officers. "If we get inputs directly from residents, it'll help us taking care of their requirements within the budgetary constraints," he said.

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