NAGPUR: While the Maharashtra Government is encouraging urban local bodies and district administration to set up Citizen Facility Centers (CFCs) for providing better services, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), it seems, is hell bent of paralyzing the vital department, financially. Already bearing the brunt following cutting down the provision by half in the revised Budget of 2014-15, the Municipal Commissioner hit the final nail by pegging the budget of CFC at 1/3rd in the proposed Budget for 2015/16 and ensured that the department licks the dust.
According to sources in NMC’s General Administration Department (GAD), a provision of only Rs 3 crore was made in the last budget (2014-15) for running the CFC. The provision of Rs 3 crore had to deal salaries of 131 Computer Operators (Rs 8000 per operator) deployed on contract basis, purchase of computer related material annually as per requirements, annual maintenance work, telephone and Internet bills, fund for e-governance related work etc etc.
Following is break-up of expenditure:
• Salaries of Computer Operators (Annual): Rs 1.3 crore
• Purchase of computer material (Annual): Rs 20 lakh
• Maintenance (Annual): Rs 10 lakh
• Telephone & Internet Bill: Rs 4.8 lakh
• Other expenditures: Rs 20 lakh
Total: Rs 2 crore
The exercises of cutting down of budget provision for CFC started when the present Municipal Commissioner, before presenting the revised budget, directed the Chief Accounts and Finance Officer (CAFO) to reduced it by Rs 350 crore in general. In return the CAFO directed the heads of department to cut their budgets substantially. Acting on the directive, the chief of GAD Mahesh Dhamecha went a step and sent a proposal to CAFO pegging the budget provision at Rs 1.50 crore, half of the Rs 3 crore provisioned in 2014-15 Budget without underlining the needs of CFC Department and without any consultation, as well. The Rs 1.50 crore provision will meet the expenditure incurred in paying salaries of computer operators only. The remaining payments on various heads will hang in balance for want of no funds.
However, much to the chagrin of CFC Department, the Municipal Commissioner made a provision of Rs 1 crore only in the proposed Budget for 2015-16 and thus hit the last nail on the Department’s coffin. In the meanwhile the proposal for increasing the salaries of Computer Operators deployed in CFC Department on contract basis from Rs 8000 to Rs 12,000 has been approved. But the number of operators has been decreased from 131 to 121. With this account, the expenditure on salaries of operators in the next financial year is likely to be Rs 1,74,24,000 per annum. Apart from the salaries the expenditure of CFC Department on various other heads is likely to be Rs 55 lakh. It means the total possible expenditure the CFC Department is likely to incur stands at Rs 2.25 crore. In this situation the budget provision is only Rs 1 crore for CFC Department appears nothing but senseless exercise.
Unless the budget provision is not increased substantially the functioning of CFC Department is certain to get paralyzed. In sum, considering the requirements of CFC Department a provision of at least Rs 3.3 crore for 2014-15 and 2015-16 is anticipated.
– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha(rajeev.nagpurtoday@