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Mumbai: MCGM’s budgetary allocations & challenges within.

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Shashwat Mishra, Mumbai Uncensored, 1st January 2022:

With the advent of the Ease of Living Index (EOL) rankings released by NITI AYOG, Urban Governance and the responsibility of various municipalities across cities are kept in check. A municipal corporation of a city is the authority of the first instance, responsible for the development of that city. This article focuses on Mumbai, focal point of the article is budgetary allocation in the city of Mumbai. This article is based on the Urban governance report released by Praja Foundation, a non-partisan organization working towards enabling accountable governance since 1997 based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra.

The report covered several parameters which cumulatively decide the state of urban governance. However, municipal finance is a section of the report which adequately covers the budgetary allocation in the city. The report concluded that 50% of the participants believed that the budget allocated was adequate, however, 44% felt that the budget allocated was underutilized. The underutilization has been linked to two main factors, project delays and difficulty in procuring licenses. The two issues raised by councilors and MLAs in Mumbai are corruption & outsourcing work to contractors who eventually fail to deliver it within the deadline.

An official from Mumbai pointed out that, “Budget is sufficient but utilization doesn’t happen.” On the other hand, one of the MLAs opined that “MCGM has good money, but have been spoiling it by putting it into wrong projects, it has been giving it to contractors who are doing a bad job. Every head in the MCGM is corrupt. Knowing this we should change the guidelines, change the contractor’s law to get better work done.” The next aspect of this issue is budgetary control, as in who has control over the budget. On this issue there are two countering opinions, councillors believe that, although the budget is prepared by the commissioner but they had the opportunity to participate in the budget-making process. The executive on the other hand points out that, budget is prepared by the local assembly which is then scrutinized by the standing committee.

 The finalization of the budget is based on the will of the executive or the political dispensation, and hence, such factors often supersede what the local administration has in mind. This is the reason why the councilors in Mumbai feel that the corporation should have more control over the budget whereas MLAs believe that the state government should have control over the budgetary spending. “Local body should be given the independence to work according to their way.” says the Councillor, Mumbai. Whereas, MLAs point out that, “State control on the corporation is necessary. For eg: If 25 Lakhs is spent on road construction and the state is involved in the audit, it will promote transparency and reduce chances of corruption.” There needs to be mutual coordination between the two stakeholders, the corporation and the executive. A specialized agency that would handle budgetary allocation may be a solution, but again it depends on whether the two stakeholders are on the same page or not. Governance will improve with participation and mutual working at every level.

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25 Hindu Pakistani Refugees living in Rajkot to vote in Gujarat elections for the first time.

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Amna Lakdawala, 25th November 2022, Mumbai Uncensored:

25 Hindu refugees who had left Pakistan because of religious persecution were granted citizenship by India in August, and they can now vote, thanks to the Central Government!

A precious possession was presented upon the 37-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Sunil Dev Maheshwari, in August: Indian citizenship. He is now qualified to vote in Gujarat’s next assembly elections, which will take place next month. After receiving citizenship in Rajkot, Sunil and 24 other Hindu refugees from Pakistan will cast their first votes in an election in India.

“I have lived in this nation since my parents and I arrived in Gujarat in 2009 after fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan. The best day of our lives was August 12, when 25 Hindu Pakistani immigrants were given full Indian citizenship in Rajkot. We are pleased that we will be allowed to vote this time because we have received an Aadhaar card as well as other Indian credentials”, the man remarked.

Sunil is a marketing executive for a local private company that resides in a rental home in Rajkot’s Bhagwatipara neighbourhood. In 2014, he wed a Hindu refugee from Pakistan; they have two children. “Now that we are citizens of India, no one can refer to us as Pakistanis because we are no more foreigners. We are quite happy to be Indian”, he continued.

Approximately 500 Pakistani Hindu immigrants are reportedly residing in Rajkot and waiting to be given Indian citizenship, according to sources. 25 Pakistani migrants, the majority of whom were Hindus, received citizenship from the minister of state for the home, Harsh Sanghavi, in Rajkot in August. As per sources, many refugee families waited 16 years for citizenship and will now participate in the largest democracy in the world by casting their votes.

Before any of this, the central government changed the Citizenship Act, enabling Pakistani minorities to become citizens of India.

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पीएम नरेंद्र मोदी ने यूपी के बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेसवे का किया उद्घाटन

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Nazneen Yakub, Mumbai Uncensored, 16th July 2022:

उत्तर प्रदेश के 296 किलोमीटर लम्बे बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेसवे का प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने उद्घाटन किया। बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेसवे के उद्घाटन के दौरान वहां मौजूद यूपी के मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ इसके साथ ही यूपी के उपमुख्यमंत्री केशव प्रसाद मौर्य और ब्रजेश पाठक भी मौजूद रहें।

प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने उद्घाटन करते समय यह कहा कि बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेसवे से चित्रकूट से दिल्ली की दूरी तो 3-4 घंटे कम हुई ही है, लेकिन इसका लाभ इससे भी कहीं ज्यादा है। ये एक्सप्रेसवे यहां सिर्फ वाहनों को गति नहीं देगा, बल्कि ये पूरे बुंदेलखंड की औद्योगिक प्रगति को गति देगा। हम कोई भी फैसला लें, निर्णय लें, नीति बनाएं, इसके पीछे सबसे बड़ी सोच यही होनी चाहिए कि इससे देश का विकास और तेज होगा। हर वो बात जिससे देश को नुकसान होता है, देश का विकास प्रभावित होता है, उसे हमें दूर रखना है।

बता दें कि बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेसवे में करीब 14,850 करोड़ रुपए की लागत लगी हैं। यह एक्सप्रेसवे इटावा, औरैया, जालौन, महोबा, बांदा, और हमीरपुर जिले को कवर करेगा, चित्रकूट जिले के भरतकूप क्षेत्र के पास गोंडा गांव में समाप्त होगा। यह एक्सप्रेसवे चित्रकूट को लखनऊ-आगरा एक्सप्रेसवे से जुड़ेगा।

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List of world leaders with whom PM Modi held bilateral talks at the G7 Summit

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Megh Shah, Mumbai Uncensored, 12th July 2022:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi as always, had a busy schedule when he landed in Germany for the G7 Summit. As per the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, the PM held a total of 6 bilateral meetings in addition to the interactions between him and all leaders present at the Summit. The list includes:-                                                                                                       
  • Meeting with – Mr. Alberto Fernandez (President of Argentina)                  

Issues discussed – Cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, climate action, renewable energy, nuclear medicine, pharmaceuticals, electric mobility, defence cooperation, agriculture, food security, traditional medicine and coordination in global bodies.                                                                                                                                

  • Meeting with – Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa (President of South Africa)                                                                                       

Issues discussed:-Deepening bilateral cooperation in areas like trade and investment, food security, defense, pharmaceuticals, digital financial inclusion, skill development, education,  insurance, health, and people-to-people contacts. Welcoming the WTO agreement reached in June 2022 that supports the production of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries (India and South Africa were the first countries to submit a proposal on waiver of Covid-19 vaccine patents. The two countries also discussed regarding India and South Africa’s permanent UNSC membership in a reformed UN.                 

  • Meeting with – Olaf Scholtz (Chancellor of Germany)                      

Issues discussed:-  The two leaders reviews the progress made in bilateral cooperation after PM Modi’s visit to Germany in May this year. Discussions covered issues like climate action, provision of climate financing and technology transfer. Both leaders also agreed on the need to further deepen trade, investment and people to people ties.                                                                                                                            

  • Meeting with – Joke Widodo (President of Indonesia)

Issues discussed:– Increasing trade and investment between the two Asian countries. Discussions on Indonesia’s current and India’s forthcoming G20 Presidency.          

  • Meeting with – Ursula von der Leyen (President of European Commission)

Issues discussed:- The leaders expressed their delight at the resumption of negotiations between India and the EU on Trade, Investment, and GI Agreements. They examined India-EU collaboration in a variety of areas, including digital cooperation, climate action, and technology and innovation.                                                                            

  • Meeting with – Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada)

Issues discussed:- A productive meeting was held in which the leaders discussed India-Canada bilateral relations and agreed to further strengthen trade and economic linkages, cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, as well as people-to-people ties.

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