RTI reply says the NMC failed miserably to utilise Rs 18.85 crore in the past 3 years
Nagpur: The Covid-19 outbreak seems to have come as a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Nagpurians as Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) broke the record of spending on healthcare in just three months.
According to a NMC reply to the query posed by activist Abhay Kolarkar under Right to Information (RTI) Act, the allocation for healthcare was Rs 5.72 crore in 2016-17 budget of the local body. However, at the end of that year, NMC could spend only Rs 3.51 crore that is 61.39 per cent of the budgetary allocation. In 2017-18, NMC made a provision of Rs 6.24 crore in its budget for healthcare. As against this, it could utilise only Rs 1.99 crore that is, a dismal 31.94 per cent of the allocation. The next year, 2018-19, was more or less a repeat of dismal performance on this count. For, as against budgetary allocation of Rs 6.89 crore for healthcare, NMC spent Rs 2.48 crore which was just 36.13 per cent of the allocation. Thus, in three years from 2016- 17 to 2018-19, NMC could utilise Rs 7.99 crore (42.41 per cent) as against budgetary allocation of Rs 18.85 crore.
Post coronavirus outbreak, during the period from March 25 to July 15 this year, NMC received Rs 5.28 crore from the Government under State Disaster Relief Fund. As per the reply to Kolarkar’s query under RTI Act, NMC utilised ‘entire amount till date’. In the past few months, NMC drew flak over expenditure on COVID-19 healthcare facilities created out of the city. It had to be abandoned later despite placing beds etc, as it could not be utilised for want of trained staff to handle the patients.
In response to another query by Kolarkar, NMC’s Health Department replied that as many as 359 of NMC staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. But, the department could not provide the information regarding Corporators testing positive for COVID-19 citing the reason that the said information ‘was not available with this office’.
The information regarding initiatives and expenditure thereof, for NMC employees and corporators, also was not available, stated the Health Department of NMC in response to other queries under RTI Act.