The BMC, which has been splurging on availing technology services, has made its intentions to capitalise on its Information Technology (IT) department quite clear. But its one move that has made many wonder whether it has gone a wee bit overboard, is its alleged decision to allot a fat pay cheque to the department's yet-to-be appointed director, which amounts to more than what civic chief Sitaram Kunte himself gets.
A source said, "Since the BMC has already awarded various IT works' contracts, the house is already set in the order. In such a case, there was a requirement for the BMC to appoint somebody who knows the organisation in and out. But they are getting on board a director at a Rs 30 lakh per annum salary, which is Rs 2.5 lakh per month, while the civic chief gets not more than Rs 1.75 lakh per month. It is sheer waste of public money."
The municipal administration has decided to appoint an IT department director and his/her deputies allegedly without issuing advertisements in this regard. It has invested more than Rs 150 crore towards outsourcing/consulting IT services. The corporation has already awarded three contracts to manage software (for Rs 80 crore), data centres (Rs 52 crore) and consultancy services (Rs 10 crore), each for three years.
The salaries and allowances to be offered to the three men, associated with National Institute of Smart Government (NISG), is going to cost the BMC a bomb at Rs 1.87 crore for two years for which the personnel will serve the corporation. The NISG is a non-profit company established in the public private partnership (PPP) model with the central government and NASSCOM being its promoters.
"Before appointing the men, the municipal administration had got an informal approval for the same. According to the committee's resolution, the civic body should have issued advertisements for the posts. It has not done that," said Sainath Rajadhyaksha, general secretary of Brihanmumbai Municipal Engineers' Union.
However, Rajadhyaksha said that the IT department was in need of an expert who will streamline the system. "Since the administration is going to appoint the men soon, let's see what difference they make to the existing system," he added.
When asked to comment on the issue, additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said, "Nobody has come to me with complaints until now."