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Citizen committees to monitor implementation of people's budget
February, 09th 2010

With the public sending in over 6,000 suggestions through the participatory budgeting process of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) this year, citizens' committees and NGOs have decided to form monitoring committees to ensure that the people's budget is implemented fully.

The participatory budget provides an opportunity to citizens to suggest development work to be taken up in the next financial year. The process for sending in suggestions for the particpatory budget for 2010-11 will begin next month. Municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade has made a provision of Rs 35.73 crore for the participatory budget for 2010-11.

"This year, 6,567 suggestions for the participatory budget were submitted by the people. Last year, around 2,500 applications were handed in. With the growing response, we have decided to co-ordinate with NGOs, citizens' groups and other organisations to form monitoring committees from this year onwards.

These committees will ensure that the PMC carries out the works suggested by the people and the provision made for the people's budget is fully utilised," said Kishori Gadre, director of Janwani, an initiative of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture to advocate and promote equitable and sustainable development.

"Because of the people's participation, some of the regular problems faced by the people at the local level are sorted out immediately. The participatory budget is now a vital part of the annual civic budget," Zagade stated in his draft budget note recently.

Corporator Ujwal Keskar said that the participatory budget ensures that no part of a ward is discriminated against.

"Generally, corporators are unwilling to carry out development work in those areas of his constituency which did not vote for him. The participatory budget allows people to directly suggest works in the budget," Keskar said.

However, not everyone is happy with the initiative. "If the citizens want any development work to be undertaken, they can directly approach the local corporator. The participatory budget amounts to unnecessary interference by NGOs and other organisations in the functioning of the civic body," a corporator, requesting anonymity, said.

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