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Staff shortage hits urban local bodies hard

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The New Indian Express      08.04.2017

Staff shortage hits urban local bodies hard

BENGALURU: The functioning of urban local bodies (ULBs) across the State, barring Bengaluru, is crippled due to an acute shortage of manpower at various levels. However, a major move to go in for computerisation of all citizen-related services is under way.

Out of the sanctioned strength of nearly 10,000 staff in the top management level (A grade), middle level office staff (B grade), and clerical grade (C), only around 5,000 personnel are on the rolls presently, says V Ponnuraj, Managing Director, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure and Finance Development Corporation (KUIDFC). 

Sufficient personnel are available only in the Group D category. While the position in South Karnataka is comparatively better, the vacancy rate in North Karnataka is as high as 60 per cent with certain pockets having up to 70 per cent vacancies, he said. “This has crippled our functioning,” Ponnuraj said.  

“The recruitment process is under way with 2,000 candidates set to join the ULBs in the next six months. An additional 1,000 jobs are set to be outsourced. So, a year down the line, we will be in a comfortable position,” he said. 

“We are in the firefighting mode now. To manage the crucial technical level posts, the Chief Minister has okayed the temporary recruitment of retired officers,” the KUIFDC MD said. “Project management consultants help out and agencies provide some kind of manpower,” he added.

While the front-end operations of citizen-related processes are computerised, it is still paper documents that are largely supplied for all practical purposes. “By using Enterprise Resource Planning methods, we have embarked on the process of computerising everything, what can be termed as Process Reengineering,” Ponnuraj said.

 This will help public who want to obtain a Katha certificate, building plan sanction or any kind of government-related approvals. 

Presently, even if documents given by the same department is required, the individual has to furnish a physical copy.  “If it can be accessed online, it will be easier for all,” he said.

Tracking of all projects online is in the pipeline. “This will ensure 100 per cent transparency. An applicant can track on real-time basis the movement of files from one section to another. It will also help us identify the particular desk where any delay is taking place,” Ponnuraj concluded.


Rs 304.25 crore budget for RMC, focus on Amrut

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The New Indian Express           08.04.2017  

Rs 304.25 crore budget for RMC, focus on Amrut

Budget session of Rajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation on Friday | Express

RAJAHMAHENDRAVARAM : The Rajahmahendravaram Municipal Corporation (RMC) here on Friday presented `304.25 crore worth budget for the 2017-18 financial year.

However, the Opposition party found fault with the Mayor for manipulating the figures. On the occasion, City Rural MLA Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary appealed to the council members to focus on development activities by keeping politics aside, as power is not permanent.

Mayor Pantham Rajani Sesha Sai claimed that the city was moving with rapid development works on a war footing. Because of Godavari Pushkarams and the Centre’s AMRUT scheme, the RMC was sanctioned sufficient funds. The AMRUT scheme will be mainly focusing on drinking water facility and beautification.

Municipal Commissioner V Vijayarama Raju explained that the budget estimates this year is `30 crore less than that of previous year only since there were separate schemes like Building Regulation Scheme last year.

The civic body collected property tax of `35 crore this year. The RMC is estimating grants worth `119.65 crore for 2017-18 though Urban Health Centre grants, MPLADS, Special Development Fund, maintenance special grants for internal roads and drains works, SC,ST Sub-Plan, AMRUT grants, etc.

However, the Opposition members alleged that the figures shown in the budget estimates were incorrect and demanded the Mayor to explain on what basis and how the budget figures were estimated.

Addressing the Council, Rural MLA Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary stated that property tax collections were satisfactory and felt the need to focus on advertisement and entertainment taxes for improving revenue. He requested the council members cutting across the party lines to focus on development and expressed doubt over him contesting in the next general elections.


Corporation to bring Mayor’s chamber under CCTV coverage

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The New Indian Express       08.04.2017  

Corporation to bring Mayor’s chamber under CCTV coverage

KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation is planning to extend CCTV coverage to the Mayor’s chamber, in the wake of the recent incident wherein Mayor Soumini Jain was verbally abused by director Jude Anthany Joseph.

The director had verbally abused the Mayor during a visit to the Corporation office seeking sanction for shooting a film at Subhash Park.

“Currently, the Mayor’s chamber is not under CCTV surveillance. The recent incident has forced us to extend CCTV coverage to the Mayor’s chamber. An earlier proposal to install CCTV cameras in the Mayor’s chamber was dropped,” said sources in the Corporation.  

Facebook wall of Mayor Soumini Jain

“At present, CCTV surveillance is restricted to the courtyard of the Corporation building. We will soon hold discussions with service providers to install CCTV cameras in the Mayor’s cabin,” said a Corporation officer.

“Anyone can enter my office any time, and there is no restriction on the public to meet me. This is the first time such an incident is happening in my office. There is no secrecy in the Corporation office and everything is open to the public,” said the Mayor. Meanwhile, the Mayor lashed out at Jude Anthany for his Facebook post against her. 

The Mayor in her Facebook post said it was an irony the director who misbehaved with a woman had come up with the noble intention of making a film on child sexual abuse. “He can  express his social commitment by making the film, but before that he should change his arrogant attitude towards women. Every individual should be subjected to reformation to ensure the overall refinement of society,” reads the post. 

The Mayor said the Facebook post was intended to support women in general, who face abuse at home, in public places and at workplace.

“Dear Jude, I too am worried about the recent atrocities against women and children. Your intention to make a film on the subject is good, but your abusive words against a woman in front of the staff will not send out a good message. You used such abusive words against me, because I am a woman,” reads the post.


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