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No new surprises – BMC Budget 2018

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Brihanmumbai Corporation (BMC)- the richest civic body in the country, presented its budget today for the financial year 2018-19. The budget of 18-19 has witnessed an increase of Rs. 27,258 crores as compared to the current fiscal. Its budget size in 2017-18 was Rs 25,141 crore— which had witnessed a drop of almost Rs 10,000 crore. This is municipal chief Ajoy Mehta’s third budget since he took charge in April 2015. Here are some of the recent updates:

  • The BMC will spend Rs 9,522.45 crores on public work in the next financial year. The scam hit roads department gets more allocation of Rs 1202.20 crores this year as compared to Rs 1078.61 crores last year.
  • BMC proposes to spend Rs 1,202 crore in road work for the next financial year. They have proposed allocations as much as Rs. 1500 crores for the Coastal road and Rs. 100 crores for the GMLR ( Goregaon -Mulund Link Road )project. Rs 467 crore provision for new work, related to bridge construction and flyover extension at various places. A budget amount of Rs 1 crore has been allotted for implementing the on-off street parking policy.
  • “No new tax or no hike in existing tax proposed in the budget”, says municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta
  • BMC proposes to start 35 new schools under the Public-private partnership in classrooms which have closed on account of decreasing or zero student strength. These schools will be affiliated to CBSE, IB, Cambridge, CISCE boards. An e-library at a cost of Rs 1 crore has been proposed. Services like website, computers, internet, e-books will be made available at 25 public libraries on an experimental basis
  • As a part of the state’s international board, 24 BMC schools (one in each ward) will be started. Budgetary allowance of Rs 25 lakh allocated. The budget provision of Rs 25 crore for primary section and RS 2.38 crore for the secondary section has been made.
  • The BMC will provide a nutritious supplementary meal along with midday meal which will include a protein-rich dry snack from this year.
  • The civic body has made a budget provision of Rs 5 crore for installation of 4,064 CCTV cameras in 381 school buildings.
  • A budgetary allowance of Rs 18 crore has been made for the maintenance of the tabs purchased in the past 3 years and upgrading the syllabus in the memory cards
  • Rs 180 crore has been allotted to procure fire fighting equipment, fire safety compliance cell and introducing the new firefighting system.
  • BMC makes provision of Rs 12 crore to install organic converters in the civic market, to process the waste generated in these market.
  • Rs 6 crore grant to BEST proposed for 100% concession in bus fare to visually challenged and the differently abled persons in non-AC buses.
  • Major and peripheral hospitals to get 230 ventilators worth Rs 16 crore.
  • Rs 50 crore allotted for remaining revamping work of Byculla Zoo in next financial year.
  • BMC makes provision of Rs 110 crore for initiating the work of waste to energy plant at Deonar dumping ground.
  • Rs 4 crore allotted in civic budget for Art Gallery in Mumbai to educate school, college students in Disaster Management and to make them understand about various disasters like earthquake, Tsunami, Landslide, fire, etc
  • BMC will spend Rs 53 crore to deal 55 flood-prone areas in the city before coming monsoon, to reduce waterlogging.
  • BMC proposes to develop the textile museum, library, auditorium, art gallery and public plaza on The India United Mills land at the cost of Rs 300 crore and Rs 25 crore budget provision has been made in the 2018-19 budget estimate.
  • To enhance the security and vigilance inside Byculla Zoo premises a CCTV network with public address system will be developed at a cost of Rs, 5.20 crore.
  • The work of stopping sewage ingress in Powai Lake is expected to commence in March 2018 and shall be completed by August 2019.
  • Working women hostel of total cost Rs 13.65 crore will be constructed at Goregoan with a budget provision of Rs 2 crore. The hostel will be of ground plus 15 floors with accommodation for 175 women.
  • BMC commissioner proposes use of GIS Maps system to take action against illegal structures.
  • A provision of Rs 1 crore has been proposed to undertake cement concretisation of roads in all goanthon areas of Mumbai.
  • BMC has started utilising imported material to get instant relief from potholes. After satisfactory results, the BMC has processed a proposal for manufacturing of a similar material in BMC owned plant, the manufacturing of this material will start before monsoons.
  • Keeping the street dwellers in mind, Night shelters will be constructed in Chandivali, Magathane and Dahisar area for which Rs 5 crore budget provision has been made.

Seems like the BMC Budget 2018-19 is unlikely to spring any new surprises to the people of Aamchi Mumbai. With hopes on BMC funds being allocated judiciously on crucial departments like roads, promises of houses to be built are yet to get fulfilled in the coming years.

 

National

PM visit a damp squib: JKNPP

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Describing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the state as a damp squib , the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) said today that the people of Jammu were left demoralised as their pressing issues did not find a mention in his address.

With the entire focus on Kashmir-centric issues, endorsement of the Centre’s unilateral ceasefire decision and describing himself as a disciple of Kashmiriyat, Modi has completely disregarded the sentiments of Jammu region which gave his party an unprecedented mandate in previous parliamentary and assembly elections, JKNPP chairman Harsh Dev Singh said.

With both PM Modi and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mehbooba exchanging pleasantries and attempting to please one another, the Jammu region’s issues faced a total eclipse and rather receded into the oblivion, he claimed.

While the people expected the prime minister to make a statement on the Pakistani firing on the borders and consequent loss of innocent lives and properties, he said, Modi “regretfully chose to keep mum”.

The rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua district in January this year and subsequent demand for a CBI probe into did not find a mention in the prime minister’s address, he said.

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More than two child rape cases daily in Delhi, experts call for policy for rehabilitation

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With more than two cases of child rape being reported everyday from the national capital, experts have stressed on the need for a rehabilitation policy for the victims.

Rehabilitation is about rebuilding the life of the victims of sexual assault and a policy is needed as these children live with the trauma for a long time, they said.

This emphasis comes close on the heels of a number of brutal rape cases in the national capital region recently.

In January, an eight-month-old girl was allegedly raped by her cousin in northwest Delhi’s Netaji Subhash Place, while in April, a 10-year-old girl was raped in a madrasa in Ghaziabad after the accused alleged took her from Ghazipur on the pretext of meeting his friends.

The 10-year-old’s father said that it has been a month since the horrific incident but she was still scared and struggling.

“She loses her temper very quickly. She hasn’t been able to step out of the home after the incident and is scared. She was counselled but after that she has not received any counselling,” he said.

According to Delhi Police data, more than two children were raped in the national capital every day in the first four months of this year.

Till April 30, 282 cases of child rape were reported as opposed to 278 last year during the same period. Last year, 894 such cases were reported, as per the data.

Delhi Commission For Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal said there was a lack of sensitivity from the police due to the burden of cases and added that sometimes, even the parents blame the children.

“We have seen the parents blaming the children saying, ‘all is lost’. For a child, it is traumatic and confusing. The parents have no idea how to handle their children,” she said.

“Also, there is a lack of sensitivity on the part of police since they are also handling many cases at the same time. There is an acute shortage of women investigating officers,” the women’s panel chief added.

The police, on the other hand, said they ensure that child rape cases are handled by women officers. However, the delay in sometimes reaching out to the victim, creates the perception of insensitivity, they said.

“The law says that child rapes will be handled by women investigating officers. Many a times, it happens that the women officers have left for home after finishing their eight-hour shifts,” a senior police officer said.

“If such a case is reported, the women personnel are specially called and that sometimes causes a delay of a couple of hours, making the victim’s family feel that the police are not understanding their trauma,” the officer said.

The officer also said the investigating officers always ensure that the child is spoken to in the presence of a counsellor which also in some situations causes a delay of couple of hours.

The police said in most of the cases, the accused is known to the victim’s family and the complaints only come to them after the offence has occurred.

Maliwal said that they have been demanding a rehabilitation policy for the victims in such cases.

“There has to be a proper hand-holding for the victim at least from the time of the incident till the conviction. The government should frame a rehabilitation policy for such victims,” she said.

Advocate and child rights activist Ananth Kumar Asthana, said that assistance should be given to these victims in a more comprehensive.

“Counselling is indeed necessary for helping the victims deal with the trauma but it cannot be given in an ad-hoc manner. Mere counselling is not sufficient in many cases.

“Support to the victims has to be based on individual needs of the child and the State must commit to provide a comprehensive support to victims either through a legislation or through a scheme,” he said.

The state must acknowledge that the rehabilitation of victims cannot be dependent on the outcome of a trial and is not limited to a court case, he said, adding that rehabilitation is about rebuilding the life of an individual victim.

Last month, the Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age.

The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Evidence Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce a new provision to sentence convicts of such crimes to death.

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Man lynched for alleged cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh

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A 45-year-old man was beaten to death and his friend severally thrashed by four people for allegedly slaughtering a cow in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the police said.

The incident happened in Satna district on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. The deceased has been identified as Siraj. The other person, identified as Shakeel (35), was also brutally beaten and sustained severe injuries. The four accused have been arrested, a police official said.

The accused, on getting information that two persons were slaughtering a cow at a forest area in Anjar village, about 70km from Satna town, reached the spot and allegedly beat one of them to death, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Hingerkar said.

Sub-Divisional Officer of Police, Maiher area, Arvind Tiwari, said they recovered “beef” and carcass of a slaughtered bull from the spot.

As per the investigation, the deceased was beaten with lathis (sticks), he said.

On getting information about the incident, the police reached the spot and rushed the injured person for treatment to a hospital in Jabalpur district, Tiwari said.

The police have arrested four persons — Pawan Singh (35), Vijay Singh (26), Phool Singh (36) and Narayan Singh (28) — in connection with the incident, he said.

About 400 policemen have been deployed to maintain law and order in the area following the incident, Inspector General of Police, Rewa Range, Umesh Joga said.

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