Democratising urban governance

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Bhubaneswar, May 25: A Citizen Watch Group was formed to monitor the Development of Bhubaneswar City to participate in the budget making process of the BMC and offer technical support wherever needed to ensure quality public services. The Municipal Corporation has been urged to create citizen interface points to collate various feedbacks, suggestion and complaints of the citizens regarding services being provided. This can help in making the people aware of the ongoing programmes of the city and to monitor the progress.

A multi-stakeholder roundtable  was organized with active participation of seventy people from sixty different organizations such as Senior Citizen Federation, Prashanti Vihar Vikash Samiti, VSS Nagar Unnayan Parisad, Saileshri Vihar Mahila Samiti, Co-operative Housing Project Welfare Association etc. The roundtable was facilitated by CYSD-OBAC as part of a democratizing urban governance programme. Ananta Narayan Jena, Mayor of BMC and Labanya Sabar, Chief Financial Officer of BMC outlined the various ongoing programmes in the city in areas such as garbage/waste disposal, street lighting, drain repair and management, parking, 24 hour electric city supply, water supply, advanced health care facilities, rehabilitation of slum dwellers, plantation, up gradation of technology etc.

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The team OBAC shared the findings of a research “Finance of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation-An Analysis and Assessment”. While the budget size has gone up by ten times in 2016-17 as compared to 2004-05, the expenditure priority in important sectors like maintenance and operation of capital assets and solid waste management has gone down. On the other hand, expenditure on office establishment has gone up. BMC hugely depends on grants. Since own revenue is more sustainable, efforts should be made to enhance own revenue. The budget variance i.e the difference between the budget estimate and actual budget should be within the safe limit. The budget estimate on each item in each financial year needs to be translated in actual expenditure.

This round table was the first of its kind after the city was declared as a Smart City.

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