How Bengaluru’s civic agencies perform, financially

Even as the city’s civic agencies are short of adequate funds to serve the burgeoning population, the available resources aren’t managed properly, a study says


Bengaluru has added six times more people than Chennai in the last decade and is the fastest growing urban district in India, as per the last census with roughly 8.5 million people. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Bengaluru has added six times more people than Chennai in the last decade and is the fastest growing urban district in India, as per the last census with roughly 8.5 million people. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: Bengaluru’s civic agencies in charge of housing, water and transport scored poorly in financial management in an analysis by Janaagraha, a non-profit organisation.

In a range of 0 to 15, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) scored between 4 and 6.

Five parameters were considered -- budgetary discipline, effectiveness of audited annual accounts, internal controls, financial performance and transparency.

Bengaluru has added six times more people than Chennai in the last decade and is the fastest growing urban district in India, as per the last census with roughly 8.5 million people. But, as a government panel recently noted, the city’s urban infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with that growth.

Even as the city’s civic agencies are short of adequate funds to serve the burgeoning population, the available resources aren’t managed properly, the study found. Both these factors affect the ability of these agencies to meet their service obligations, it said.

Also Read: Seven reasons why Bengaluru is growing to become an unlivable city

According to Janaagraha, BWSSB, which oversees water, a crucial resource for the city, pays over Rs. 300 crore in loan interest every year, while BDA is a cash-surplus entity. “It shows there is little coordination between various government agencies to manage money,” says Srikanth Viswanathan, coordinator (advocacy, research and capacity building) at Janaagraha.

The organisation said it conducted the study to provide the same kind of reportage for public utilities as the media does for private companies.

“Imagine we are talking about a private company here. We would have sold our shares right?” said Viswanathan. “We are all shareholders in these agencies. Unfortunately, as long as you are living in Bangalore, you can’t sell the shares in them,” he added.

However, the study did not look into the financial management of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike (BBMP), the city’s governance headquarters.

“BBMP is getting enough attention through adverse court remarks and citizen initiatives. So, we tried to look at other agencies that are crucial to the city. We are planning to bring out such audit reports every three months from now on,” said Vishwanath.

READ MORE