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In digital age, Mumbai civic body to spend ₹31 crore to buy paper

mumbai Updated: Jan 05, 2017 10:50 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
BMC

Corporators were quick to react, with many saying the civic body was wasting the tax payers’ money in the digital-age. (HT File Photo)

It’s a time when the Central and state governments are going digital and pushing e-governance plans. But the Mumbai civic body is about to spend Rs31.15 crore to buy paper.

The standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday passed a proposal to buy 10 different types of papers — cover papers, A2, A3 and full-scape copier papers, assorted colour cards, art paper, drawing papers, parchment papers, pulp boards and so on — for the municipal printing press and property tax departments for the years 2016-2018. 

Corporators were quick to react, with many saying the civic body was wasting the tax payers’ money in the digital-age.

“The world is progressing at a faster pace than BMC. Why do we need to spend so much on paper when the emphasis of the government is on e-governance? All corporators have been provided with laptops, but we still get a hard copy of the agendas for meetings,” said Asif Zakaria, a Congress corporator and member of the standing committee.  

But civic sources sought to defend the expenditure saying a lot of work still requires the use of paper. The civic body holds different kinds of meetings through the year, including the standing committee, improvements committee, education committee, works committee, tree authority and general body meetings. The administration prints the agendas that contain proposals that will be discussed at these meetings for every corporator, and then some copies for the records and the press.

This runs into hundreds of pages. This is apart from the papers used for the day-to-day functioning — all heavily dependent on documents, said sources. 

“The BMC requires papers in all offices, schools and committee meetings. Therefore, we have floated tenders for the purchase of these papers for two years,” said Ram Dhas, the deputy municipal commissioner of the central purchase department. 

In the recent past, however, in a bid to save money for the exchequer and speed up administrative work in the country, the Central government has been promoting the concept of e-office and e-governance, where the documentation and records are digitised and done entirely online . To promote ease of governance and transparency, it has been asking government offices to go paperless.

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