The Captain Amarinder Singh government has decided to get a third-party technical and financial audit done by some reputed firms of all municipal works valuing over Rs.10 crore, undertaken in the past three years, to identify lapses and take appropriate action as needed.
This was decided at a meeting of the Local Government Department, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, here on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, besides senior officials.
The government will get the proposed audit done by well-known external firms such as PWC, Deloitte, E&Y, McKinzie, KPMG, etc, to be completed within 30 days of award of the audit work. The RPF will be issued in the first week of May, an official spokesperson disclosed after the meeting.
It was also decided at the meeting to undertake concurrent 3rd party audit of all major municipal works in the future, along with a social audit. Regular checking and monitoring of all such works will be done by the state government.
The government has also decided to go in for e-governance, in a phased manner, across all the key services of the department in order to enhance efficiency, accountability and speed, and also to reduce costs, ensure easy and quick implementation of all decisions, and build trust with the citizens. Addressing the meeting, Sidhu said e-governance would eliminate corruption to a great extent by reducing human interface, especially in matters of clearances, licences etc.
As per the proposed e-governance plan, 67 Services & Management functions will be computerized for Corporations, Councils and Nagar Panchayats, another 22 for Improvement Trusts and 21 related to Administrative Functions and Complaints & Grievances at ULBs (Corporations, Councils, Nagar Panchayats and Improvement Trusts) across two phases. In addition, 46 Management Functions will be computerized at Secretariat and Headquarters and 10 at Regional Deputy Director Offices. This will facilitate over 30 lakh service delivery transactions for citizens, and another 2 lakh for businesses every year.
The meeting also decided to launch a series of reform measures to streamline and expedite progress on all urban development mission programmes in the state. The Chief Minister has directed the department to prepare and notify the Draft Model Building Byelaws, along with a policy for waste water recycling. The department has also been instructed to prepare and notify a policy on Fecal Sludge Management(FSM), the spokesperson revealed.
In another significant measure to bring in transparency, it has been decided to migrate completely to the Double Entry System, for which a new municipal account will be prepared and notified. The Chief Minister also directed filling up of at least 50% sanctioned municipal cadre posts in all the 16 AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation) towns of the state.
Earlier, in a presentation to the Chief Minister on 'Agenda for Good Governance’, the department officials pointed out that the municipal corporations were not maintaining account books, as a result of which they had no accountability with respect to revenue and expenditure.
The meeting stressed the need for financial discipline to tackle the problems faced by the department and push urban development in the state, which has witnessed a massive increase in urban population in recent years. It was also decided to create greater synergies for better coordination between the various agencies involved in urban development, said the spokesperson.
The meeting also discussed the Rs. 495.54 crore BRTS project in Amritsar, scheduled to be fully operational by August 2017, with Sidhu suggesting a review of the same. The minister suggested lowering of bus fares to make them competitive with other modes of available transport to make BRTS viable.
The issue of stray dogs menace also came up for discussion at the meeting and the Chief Minister directed health officials to ensure availability of anti-rabies vaccine in sufficient quantities to provide timely relief to the victims of stray dog bites.