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Tough choices ahead for Corporation

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The Hindu       10.08.2017 

Tough choices ahead for Corporation

Road works stalled as contractors protest over GST charges

The city Corporation is left with some hard choices to bring an end to the tender boycott by its contractors after the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which has stalled road works in the city. It could either revise the estimates by cutting down on the volume of work, thus earning the displeasure of the councillors or bear the extra costs from its own funds, at a time when it is reeling from loss of entertainment revenues.

The Mayor has called for a meeting with representatives of the six contractors’ unions in the city Corporation to bring an amicable settlement to the issue. Officials from the Taxes Department will also participate to communicate with the contractors.

Last month, all the contractors unions decided to boycott the tender process for works to be carried out in the city roads, citing the increase in their financial burden after the implementation of GST. Earlier, the tax for civil works were fixed at 6%, including Value Added Tax (VAT) of 4%, welfare fund contribution of 1% and income tax of 1%. Post- GST, this tax component has increased to 18%.

Thin margin

“Already, we were having only a thin margin of profits for works taken up in the Corporation. The GST has come as a huge blow. We decided to stay away from the tender process as there was no point in it, if we are not getting any profits from this. The issue can be solved if the Corporation is ready to bear the extra burden,” says contractor Anil.

Though the Corporation officials are hinting at a reduction of the tax to 12% by the GST council, no official decision has been communicated yet.

“By the time GST was implemented, we had got the technical sanctions and began the tender process. Only, VAT was considered in these estimates. Now, revising the estimates is not practical. The councillors will not agree to the cutting down of the already estimated works. The State Government has to take a decision on whether we can revise the estimates or make it up from our own funds. More clarity will be there after the government publishes a revenue note regarding this,” said the Corporation Mayor V.K.Prasanth.

Meanwhile, contractors who are not part of any of the six unions, bid successfully for the tenders of few works in the Kazhakuttam zone. The unions are seeing this as an attempt by the local body to defeat their tender boycott.

  • Mayor has called for a meeting with six contractors’ unions
  • Other contractors bid successfully for tenders in Kazhakuttam zone

BBMP to finally digitise employee records

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The Hindu          07.07.2017  

BBMP to finally digitise employee records

How many Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials got promoted/transferred/suspended last year? It seems even the civic body does not know.

While employee names and payment records were centralised a while ago, details on employee transfers and promotions continue to be maintained separately in each zone by the respective drawing and disbursing officers. For citizens, this becomes evident while trying to contact officials based on the information provided on the BBMP website. Many officials would have been transferred or retired but this information is rarely updated.

BBMP has finally woken up to this lacunae and has decided to bring in computerisation of all employee records. “Sometimes, we do not get to know if an officer has been transferred or promoted as there was no information coming to the head office,” said V. Manjunath, an official working for the BBMP Establishment and Administrative Reforms Standing Committee, who is part of the digitisation programme.

According to G.R. Harishilpa, Assistant Commissioner (Administration), the software for centralisation of records is ready and officials are waiting for approval from the Finance Department to start the system in a month or so. As the records of 9,000 employees will need to be entered, she expects that the system will be running in another three to four months.

“Currently, employee service registrars are being handled by the 140 drawing and disbursing officers working under BBMP, and there is a delay in updating records,” she said.

The database will also include permanent pourakarmikas employed directly by the civic body.


Ward committees to be finalised next week: BBMP Commissioner

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The Hindu         12.06.2017    

Ward committees to be finalised next week: BBMP Commissioner

The one-month deadline given by HC to set up these committees ended in May

As citizen activists raise their pitch to get more people to enrol in ward committees, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has said that the list for all 198 wards will be finalised next week. The one-month deadline given by the High Court of Karnataka to set up these committees ended in May.

With allegations that councillors are misusing powers to pick and choose people for the committees, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Pasad said citizens can send in their nominations directly to him. In fact, activists had alleged that in many cases, councillors were thwarting nominations of residents who were more likely to question them. In addition, there are misgivings about the kind of work involved and the time they need to put in, they said.

The Palike had recently informed the High Court of Karnataka that ward committees have been constituted in 68 wards. Of these, around 27 have been functioning even before the High Court’s intervention. Kathyayini Chamraj from CIVIC Bangalore said, with the Commissioner enabling nominations to be filed through him, residents, who had hesitated to file their nominations fearing interference from councillors, could also now apply.

“It is necessary for serious-minded citizens to become part of it to break the nexus. Or else, people chosen by the councillors will hold constitutional positions,” she said. So far, various civic groups have managed to get 350 people nominated to the ward committees. A similar campaign to get more citizens to volunteer was held by the Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) on Saturday as well. Srinivas Alavilli from CfB said, “We need 1,980 people to stand up and be counted as members of the 198 wards. However, a very few people signed up owing to a variety of reasons. This is an opportunity for people to get into governance.”

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