The Aam Aadmi Party government has decided to allocate ₹350 crore as Swaraj Fund in the budget for the next financial year, even as an equal amount under the same head is all set to lapse in the current financial year because it could not be utilised.
Also called Citizen Local Area Development (C-LAD) Fund, all development works under the Swaraj Fund was to be decided through mohalla sabhas. However, the funds remained unutilised as the proposal to constitute mohalla sabhas is still pending with the lieutenant governor.
Sources in the Delhi government said the AAP leadership is hopeful that unlike previous L-G Najeeb Jung, Anil Baijal would clear the proposal that includes the modalities of implementation and its monitoring.
Holding mohalla sabhas is one of the flagship projects of the AAP government, aimed at decentralisation of governance by ensuring citizen participation in decision making. However, the government has not been able to notify the mohallas and conduct public meeting as the Cabinet decision has been pending with the L-G’s office for past several months.
In a recent interview to HT on the occasion of completion of two years of AAP government, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had counted pendency of mohalla sabhas as one of the biggest regrets to not have been able to implement it on the ground.
“To begin with Rs350 crore will again be allocated under Swaraj Fund in the upcoming budget. If required, we will increase the amount in revised estimates. We are hopeful that the L-G will clear the proposal at the earliest. If it’s done soon, we can even start work on funds earmarked for this financial year,” a senior official involved in the budget making said.
Sources said that the deputy CM, in one of the regular meetings with Anil Baijal, had requested the L-G to expedite the clearance of the file.
In June last year, the Arvind Kejriwal Cabinet had cleared proposal to constitute 2,972 mohalla sabhas, besides creating a project management unit (PMU) called Mission Swaraj to co-ordinate the entire project. Both proposals were then sent to the L-G for his approval.
Mohalla sabhas were conducted in 11 assembly segments including Karawal Nagar in May 2015 as a pilot project. Development works worth R 50 lakh in each of the 11 assembly segment were decided in these meetings. Government wants to take the model to all the 70 constituencies in the city.