Laundry list is fine, give plan details too
For the comprehensive development of Bengaluru under the Amruth Nagarothana scheme for infrastructure facilities, Rs 6,000 crore is to be spent over three years.
Published: 06th March 2022 05:57 AM | Last Updated: 06th March 2022 07:53 PM | A+A A-
It is difficult to analyse the efficacy of a budget when a mere laundry list of allocations is given, without a corresponding analysis of what has changed in terms of percentage allocation to various sectors, when compared to previous years. Hence, one does not see the woods because of the trees. It would be more helpful if the Chief Minister concentrated on these aspects in his budget speech, instead of merely reading out the laundry list.
For the comprehensive development of Bengaluru under the Amruth Nagarothana scheme for infrastructure facilities, Rs 6,000 crore is to be spent over three years. One wonders if this scheme is part of the Master Plan for Bengaluru, and have the projects been decided upon as per the physical and social infrastructure gaps prevailing in the wards? Has the consultative process prescribed for planning been followed for this allocation?
Or is this money going to be allocated preferentially on political considerations to constituencies of MLAs of the ruling party, while MLAs of the Opposition are going to be neglected? Though solid waste management is mentioned, one does not know how much will be spent for overhauling the woeful infrastructure for collecting garbage and setting up decentralised waste processing units.
Given that the pandemic has exposed the glaring lack of infrastructure, manpower and resources for universal healthcare, one expected more allocation. ‘Namma Clinics’ have been proposed in all wards for teaching yoga and testing of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. But these will not be equivalent to full-fledged Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). Currently, there are no PHCs in 57 wards. There are vacancies of doctors, specialists, nurses and ANMs in all healthcare facilities. While four super speciality 300-bed hospitals have been proposed, more necessary would be Secondary Healthcare Centres in every assembly constituency, and Tertiary Healthcare Centres in every zone. They would not only provide more employment but also enable proper delivery of services.
A total of Rs 26,200 crore is supposed to be allocated for the Metro, the costliest option for decongesting Bengaluru. Another Rs 21,091 crore is to be allocated for the Peripheral Ring Road, which is mired in problems of land acquisition from farmers, but which will mostly benefit private car owners. Instead, the long-pending demand for circular rail would have been a better and easier option. What is glaringly missing is support for people and environment-friendly bus transport system of BMTC, which is the cheapest and most efficient way to decongest Bengaluru. Nor is there any mention of non-motorised vehicles and pedestrian facilities. One bright spot is the allocation of Rs 15,267 crore for Bengaluru’s Suburban Rail project.
Infrastructure needs for Anganwadis, primary schools, housing for slum-dwellers, skill development etc in Bengaluru are expected to be fulfilled by the respective departments, but one does not know how much of the budget is going to be spent on Bengaluru.
In this context, CIVIC’s recommendation that every municipal ward (and Gram Panchayat) should be given a unique location code, which all departments should mandatorily include in their budgets and expenditure vouchers submitted to the treasury, was appreciated by the Department of Administrative Reforms, and action promised. This would allow better analysis of how much money is being spent in Bengaluru on human and social development, and not just its traffic infrastructure.
Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee, CIVIC Bangalore