You will now finally have a chance to influence the way the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) spends its money.
Five days after Hindustan Times demanded a greater say for citizens in the way the BMC spends public money, the BMC has now agreed to take note.
Responding to HT’s report, the civic standing committee, which has control over civic coffers and approves all expenditure by the BMC, on Friday agreed to hear citizens’ ideas.
It said it will receive all the suggestions and ideas offered by the citizens.
According to the procedure, the BMC commissioner presents the budget to this panel, which has the power to amend the budget and present it to the corporation.
Accordingly, the panel has initiated two special email ids, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, where citizens can send their ideas.
Starting Saturday morning, the panel will keep this channel open for five days, till Wednesday evening.
Welcoming HT’s initiative, Shiv Sena youth wing Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray said, “We are all for making the budgetary process much more participatory. Unless citizens participate in major decisions regarding the city, they will not be able to harbour a sense of belonging towards the city,” he said. The Sena, in alliance with the BJP, is ruling the civic body.
Standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse said: “We will study the ideas we receive from the citizens and then use our committee’s powers to amend the budget to include the best ideas we get.”
HT had, on Monday, initiated a campaign asking civic authorities and policy-makers to allow citizens a voice in the process of drawing up the civic budget.
The budget preparation of the BMC, the country’s richest civic body, has never been a participatory affair.
Seeking to change that, HT had asked citizens to send in their ideas for the budget on Monday, the response to which has been very heartening.
Thackeray said the panel would ensure the exercise wasn’t a token gesture.
“All the suggestions that the panel receives should be scrutinised carefully. The panel must also ensure that each suggestion must get a response on whether it’s feasible or not,” he added.
Following HT’s campaign, the BMC has agreed to consider your ideas.
Send them to writetoBMC@gmail.com and tweet using #myBMCbudget
Have ideas on what the BMC must spend on?
Send them to the BMC on writetoBMC@gmail.com and tweet to us with #myBMCbudget.