With the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) proposing to extend the scholarships given to children of its staff residing outside the civic jurisdiction, many fear the civic body may now be flooded with demands for extension of all PMC schemes to residents living outside its limits.
In a proposal tabled before the Women and Child Welfare Committee, the urban community development department has pointed out that the children of civic staff residing outside PMC area are unable to get benefit of the PMC scholarship scheme.
The PMC introduced the scheme four years ago, under which students of Class X and XII scoring above 80 per cent in board exams are given a cash reward of Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively, if they are residents of PMC area. “There are some civic staff who stay out of the PMC area and are not able to avail of the benefit despite working for the civic body,” it said.
“The demand has been there since the launch of the scheme and it can be fulfilled from the budgetary provision made for it,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Naresh Zurmure in the proposal.
Many, however, feel the proposal is likely to result in demands for extension of other schemes too to areas outside the PMC limits. “The PMC schemes are meant for residents of the city. The residents are tax payers and have the right to avail of PMC schemes. Those staying out of the PMC area are not tax payers and extending benefits of civic schemes to them would be wrong,” said a civic officer.
“There are multiple schemes for the unemployed youth, women and the disabled. Besides, there is financial assistance to pay hospital bills. If this scheme is extended to the civic staff residing outside PMC limits, there will be demand for extending other schemes too,” he added.
The PMC was already facing financial burden in implementation of the scholarship scheme and has not been able to pay the total amount to eligible students. It has been equally dividing the total allocation among all the eligible students. Extending the scheme would further reduce this amount.
The civic administration had recently rejected the demand for increasing the financial assistance for hospital bills from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh to poor people above 80 years, citing shortage of funds.