November 24, 2016 12:10:08 am
In a major setback to the ruling NCP in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the practice of drafting a separate budget of the civic education board, currently headed by NCP members, is being discontinued for 2017-18. This is being done by citing the fact that the term of the board gets over in the current financial year, and proposing its inclusion in the regular budget of civic body, which would be prepared by the civic administration as an interim budget.
The PMC education board had tabled its draft budget for 2017-18 in the Standing Committee, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 377.41 crore. As per the procedure, the proposal was referred to the civic administration for its opinion.
In its opinion to the committee, the civic administration has said, “The education board was dissolved as per the state government decision taken in 2014, but later the powers were restored till the term of the existing board gets over. The term of the existing board would be over by the end of the current financial year… so, as per the government decision, the education department would be considered like any other civic department and included in the general budget.”
It added that there was no need to give a separate opinion on the draft budget as the education department would be included in the general budget.
The civic administration has sought the nod of the Standing Committee to enable it to implement the state government’s decision of including the education board as the primary education department in the civic budget.
Incidentally, the PMC would be going to polls in February, so the civic body is all set to get an interim budget for 2017-18 till the new general body comes to power.
The final draft budget for the next financial year would be prepared by the new general body.
“The 2017-18 budget prepared by the PMC education board would not hold any significance. The powers of preparing the draft budget for the education department would be solely with the civic administration, as is done for any other civic department. The draft would then be tabled in the Standing Committee and the general body for final approval,” said civic officer.
There are 310 civic schools under the PMC and over one lakh students study in them. The political parties see it as an opportunity to directly reach out to one lakh households, through the education board, by taking populist decisions.
In the draft budget submitted to the Standing Committee, the NCP-controlled civic education board had proposed to extend the free school uniform scheme to students of pre-primary schools, along with students of primary and secondary schools, starting four more e-learning schools in the city, installing CCTV cameras in civic schools to ensure security to students, and generating power through solar energy by installing solar panels on all civic school buildings.
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