No taxes: A budget to make present perfect, says Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation
In an apparent effort to set its house in order after receiving a lot of flak for not being able to live up to expectations of people by a long shot, Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) presented a 2013-14 budget Monday that allocates more funds for old and ongoing projects.
Third year in a row, no new project was announced.
There were no new taxes either, but that could be because the civic body has already taxed the common man enough in the past year or so without really offering him what he deserves in the form of infrastructure and other facilities and because there may be a mid-year water tariff revision.
The budget was Rs 86.1 crore surplus with an outlay of Rs 27,578.67 crore, up by a marginal Rs 997 crore (3.7 per cent) over Rs 26,580.94 crore of 2012-13.
BMC had presented a whopping Rs 26,581-crore budget in 2012-13, a 26 per cent increase over the previous year.
There was marginal rise in estimated capital expenditure from Rs 9,359.76 to Rs 9,369.41 crore. This could be because much of funds allocated for capital works this year remained unused.
After failing to fully use the budget allocation for traffic operations this fiscal, the 2013-2014 budget for roads is largely a carry forward estimate for works planned for 2012-2013. The corporation has allotted Rs 2650.74crore to the roads department, a minimal increase from the Rs 2,394 crore the previous year.
Among the projects yet to take off are road maintenance management system, road scanning and utility mapping for road works, a web-based pay-and-park facility and the Rs 8,000-crore coastal road project.
With a major thrust on strengthening current services, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte increased operation and maintenance expenditure by 29 per cent to Rs 3,218.56 crore. "(This is) To enhance efficiency and utility of assets already created and to deliver better and higher standard of services. This increase will have a direct bearing on service delivery in sectors such as health, solid waste management, markets, roads and slums," he said.