Improve governance in Bangalore, here and now: MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 12:42pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar urges CM to check pilferage of funds approved for civic projects.

Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar has urged chief minister Siddaramaiah to look into the issue of rampant misuse of public funds in BBMP.

Responding to Siddaramaiah’s remark of BBMP having no money to take up development projects, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the reason BBMP in on the verge of bankruptcy is because of misappropriation of government funds and public assets due to widespread corruption.

“Wasteful and unplanned expenditure along with deeply entrenched vested interests have cast an ugly shadow on Bangalore’s governance,” said Chandrasekhar in a letter to the Chief Minister.

The MP said successive governments had been unsuccessful to arrest the decline of corruption and misappropriation of public funds, leading to failure of governance.

“Mr. Siddaramaiah’s government was elected on the promise of delivering goods, and chief minister must urgently own up to that responsibility and make public its strategy for good governance to put Bangalore back on track and commit a long term sustainable financial welfare,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

He said it was surprising to know that BBMP is in red despite city contributing to 30 per cent of the state’s GDP, and was a megacity of 8 million inhabitants, millions of tax payers and with many sources of revenue like road and property tax.

“Significant public assets like land, buildings etc is currently struggling to raise resources; manage basic public services and assets,” he said.

The government should pass the BMRGA Bill, which can effectively address large parts of governance reforms, and is pending with the government for long, he said pointing out that people are frustrated by the culture of corruption and the manner Bangalore was exploited by vested interests and corrupt officials.

Bangalore is vital to Karnataka as a gateway for investments and economic activity, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, adding its financial health was the only guarantor of its sustainable and planned growth and expansion.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar cautioned the chief minister against ignoring the voices of people against decline in governance saying that Delhi election results had showed that people were determined to get a change if government failed.

“Bangalore will respond similarly if government falters in checking the trend of city being driven by vested interests,” said Chandrasekhar.

Solutions to issues that cropped up due to governance failure
Lack of proper long term transparent planning for the city – Bangalore needs a proper statutory long term plan, including a financial plan.

Very inefficient use of financial resources with a highly corrupt and compromised contracting system that is driven more by vested interests rather than plans.  Contracting and use of money must be more transparent, competitive and efficient.

Deliberate refusal to plug loopholes in revenue collection. Expand tax coverage, establish targets and prosecute officials complicit in revenue leakages.

Extremely opaque utilization of government assets like land and buildings – used not to maximize financial resources, but to favour vested interests. – Land encroached by commercial interests must be taken back. Public land must only be leased or sold at market rates to maximize financial resources for city. Involve RWAs in budget and use of money.

Failure to tap obvious sources of revenue. Generate additional revenues by developing Bangalore into a tourist and conference hub with events in entertainment, business to attract tourists from all over the world.

Failure to attract sufficient private investments into PPPs to supplement or replace Government expenditure. Attract private investments into urban infrastructure and services, through properly laid out contracts and commercial terms.

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