The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) budget does not have any funds earmarked for Indira Canteen, neither does the state budget. With no funds, outgoing BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad thinks the running of these canteens will become difficult. He said that in the year 2017-18, the fund allocation was ₹100 crore. In 2018-19, ₹145 crore were earmarked for the canteens in 2018–19, but only ₹115 crore was released by the government. “The expenditure was ₹137 crore; the civic body had to spend ₹21.66 crore from its resources,” he said.
Prasad told The Hindu that he wrote to the government many times about a demand for ₹210 crore, but was appalled to realise there was no mention of it in both the State budget and the supplementary budget. Since it is a State welfare scheme, Prasad thought the mention would be in the State budget and did not think to include the allocation in the BBMP budget. Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, however alleviated his concerns by saying that the civic body will be searching for ways to fund it soon.
Earlier this month, there were rumours of quashing the scheme altogether. Although Mayor Mallikarjun stated that she would make sure nothing of that sort happens. She told The Hindu, “Indira Canteen is a an ambitious welfare programme of the state government. Though the government may have changed, we will not allow the canteens to be shut down. We will find funds from the welfare schemes of the BBMP, which could probably be diverted.”
Several councilors sought to know if there was any proposal to change the name of the canteens, but the ruling party leader Abdul Wajid asked the mayor to speak with Yediyurappa in this regard, but Prasad confirms there was no plans to change the names.
There are 173 static and 18 mobile canteens in the city and as many as 14.47 lakh people had had food in these canteens since they were opened. It would be unfortunate if the canteens are done away with.