Want to tweak the budget? Mail BMC

For 'Mumbaikar's budget', civic body invites suggestions and objections from citizens through e-mail or fax to standing committee chief; promises enforcing proposed changes

This is for those who are not happy with the sundry tax hikes proposed in the BMC budget. Your one mail or fax can change things. For the first time, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has assured of considering revisions in the budget on popular demand.

Vox populi: The idea behind asking citizens to participate in fashioning
the budget, presented on Tuesday, is to give voice to the common
man, officials said. File pic

The budget presented before the standing committee of BMC on Tuesday by Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar touched a raw nerve with its proposals for increasing water charges, additional development charges and other provisions.

Now, chairman of the standing committee, Rahul Shewale, has invited citizens to come forward with their recommendations or protestations. The idea is to forge what officials are calling the 'Mumbaikar's budget'. "If citizens have a problem with anything, like proposed revised rates of water supply or increase in budget provisions to protect open spaces, they can write directly to me or the local ward committee chairperson. Their suggestions will be discussed in the committee and changes will be made accordingly in the budget," said Shewale.

Citizens can write to rahul.shewale@rediffmail.com or fax on 022 22620833 in the 10 days between March 26 and April 4. The standing committee has the authority to thrash out and make necessary changes in the budget before it is cleared under the MMC Act, 1888. Committee members will discuss and make changes before seeking the final approval in the civic general body meeting, which is attended by all 232 corporators in the city.

"The idea behind inviting citizen participation in the making of the budget is to give relief to the common people. Any suggestion is welcome regarding what they need, how they think civic services can be improved or taxpayers' money saved," Shewale said.

He appealed to senior citizens, youth organisations, medical fraternity, town planners, architects and lawyers to voice their opinions. Citizen groups welcomed the move. "Better late than never. The intent to get people to participate in the preparation of the budget is a good idea but it should not be a gimmick to score brownie points with the public. Officials should take the exercise seriously," said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convener of Citispace NGO.

"It is a good thing that they invited suggestion from citizens," GR Vora, activist, F-North Ward Citizens Federation. "The civic body should allow activists from NGOs or advanced local managements (ALMs) to attend the local ward committee meeting," he added.

Write to
Citizens can mail their recommendations to Standing Committee Chairperson Rahul Shewale at rahul.shewale@rediffmail.com, or fax them on (022) 22620833, between March 26 and April 4

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