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BMC yet to open up, despite Disclosure Act

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As reported by Shalini Nair in expressindia.com on 25 May 2008:

BMC yet to open up, despite Disclosure Act - ExpressIndia.Com


BMC yet to open up, despite Disclosure Act


Mumbai, May 24 Among other things, PDA requires municipal corporations to reveal audited financial statements showing the balance sheet, receipts and expenditure every quarter; also, spending on providing major services and details of major works


It was supposed to be a step above the Right to Information Act as it requires urban local bodies to voluntarily disclose information about their performance from time to time.


But the city’s municipal corporation is way behind the March 31 deadline for implementing the Public Disclosure Act, a mandatory reform to be eligible for project funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The Act had been hailed as one of the most important reforms that would ensure better governance and accountability.


The Maharashtra Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils (Second Amendment) Act 2007, popularly known as the Public Disclosure Act (PDA), came into force on 26th December 2007. Among other things, it requires municipal corporations to reveal their audited financial statements showing the balance sheet, receipts and expenditure every quarter.


It also makes it compulsory for civic bodies to reveal the expenditure incurred on providing major services and details of major works, time of completion and disbursement made, among other things. The information has to be updated periodically and opened up for public scrutiny through the media or the BMC website.


Deputy Municipal Commissioner P K Charankar said the BMC had so far completed 70 per cent of the reforms mandated under the JNNURM. As for the PDA, he said that he did not have much information, “As far as the budget goes, we have disclosed our expenditure for 2006-07. The expenditure for 2007-08 will take some more time.”


According to Chief Accountant (Finance) Ram Dhas, the delay is partially due to the problem with the SAP system implementation. “Also, we received the copy of the Act from the state government only recently. The Act will be implemented within a fortnight. There are 13 items that have to be disclosed. Most of its is already ready.”


The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) got its act together following a letter by local RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who pointed out the need to implement the PDA at the earliest. “Recently, I received a letter from the PMC telling me that all their records are in place and I could inspect them whenever I want,” said Kumbhar, adding that it is one of the major obligations under JNNURM conditions.


The PDA would help citizens monitor each and every work in their local area, he said, adding that “for instance, in case of a road work, documents on the exact estimates, plans, money disbursed will be available for instant public scrutiny anytime.”


RTI activist Kewal Semlani terms the BMC’s failure to implement the act as “complete laxity” on its part. “Look at how proactive the PMC has been,” he said. Semlani said that in case BMC does not put up the information in the public domain by the month end, RTI activists have decided that they would take up the matter with the Union Urban Development ministry as well as the World Bank. “This would lead to a stay in releasing BMC’s next installment of funds. Presently, the RTI Act also requires suo motu disclosure of all the above information, however with the PDA there is a fear of penal action and hence it is more effective,” said Semlani.

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This is the story of JNNURM grant every where. in Vadodara there is no transparency in the JNNURM projects. No disclosures for public even in Vadodara RTI Act 2005 noy properly applicable. The Gujarat government not yet cancelled its Circular dated 14.11.2005 of GAD RTI cell not giving the FILE NOTINGS to an RTI Act2005 applicant.

The public authority of VMSS Vadodara don't give FILE Notings to RTI Act 2005 applicant.

Dear Mr. Shaktisinh Gohil opposition leader of Gujarat Congress.Vadodara got Rs 81.61 crores from JNNURM grant. Where is the Housing Scheme from the JNNURM funds for the EWS people of Vadodara? Where is the ULC land for construction of EWS houses from the JNNURM Scheme? All the reserved TP plots sanctioned from 1975 to 1995 are illegally altered for poor houses of Vadodara with agitation. The Urban poor slum dwellers huts are demolished with out providing them alternate site as per Gujarat State Policy. All these illegality is going on by the Advice of Mr. Chirag Zaveri, opposition Congress leader of VMSS. First check your own congress leaders of Vadodara.Vadodara’s citizens is suffering since 15 years due to logging of Rain water with sewerage into the houses from Polo Ground to Makarpura GIDC. Who are responsible? Only two congress leaders Chirag Zaveri and Chinnam Gandhi those don't allow the slum to be shifted from Masia Kans.

Dr R.K.D. Goel Vadodara Ph 2647677

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