Empower local institutions

The state budget will best serve Bengaluru city and its citizens by focussing outlays on systems, processes and institutions. Bengaluru’s challenges today are systemic and long-term, not dependent merely on a handful of infrastructure projects. They can be solved only by systematic work with a long-term focus which can be delivered only by strong institutions. The few thousand crores that the state budget allocates each year on projects clearly haven’t achieved the desired impact. 

We need our city institutions- BBMP, BWSSB, BDA, BMTC, BESCOM- to be empowered and enabled to deliver infrastructure and services to Bengalureans with larger degrees of independence and access to resources. Currently, these institutions are not adequately empowered or enabled, either financially or administratively. Given these weaknesses, only the state government can make the required investments to transform them into robust and independent institutions.  The state budget should set aside substantive funds for filling in vacant staff positions, for enhancing and deepening the talent pool of these agencies, particularly specialist positions like planners, engineers, accountants, communication professionals etc., and for fully integrated IT systems. One-time investments could spruce up financial management systems and processes including MIS and decision support systems overhaul billing and collection systems, to put in place a comprehensive citizen engagement system etc.  What we should therefore hope for is that the state empowers our city institutions through decentralisation measures by providing financial support to bolster these institutions and amending their governing legislations to meaningfully hold them accountable.       

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