No new taxes likely in BMC '13-14 budget

BMC is set to present a Rs 29,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore budget for 2013-14 with a major thrust on strengthening its current services and completing pending projects. No additional taxes or charges are being proposed, and the civic body is unlikely to announce new projects or schemes. The BMC budget in 2012-13 was for Rs 26,581 crore, 26 per cent higher than the previous year.

Civic officials said BMC will place renewed thrust on health, education and information technology areas. For the next year, too, the civic body will devote its resources to ongoing projects. "We will avoid allocating funds for new projects," said an official.

The ambitious projects taken up during the past three years include complete concretisation of major roads and upgrade of major hospitals. But these are far from complete. The civic body was unable to spend on many projects this year.

With a strengthening of its sources of income this year, BMC can provide for a substantial rise in the next financial year. "We are expecting the budget to increase by 10-15 per cent for the next financial year," said a senior civic official.

Despite increasing the budget, the civic body was unable to spend even one-fourth of the funds set aside for capital expenditure during the first nine months of 2012-13, according to BMC data.

Mayor and Shiv Sena corporator Sunil Prabhu said, "This year, the focus will be to complete all pending projects and enhance the current services provided by the civic body. We are planning to focus on health infrastructure upgrade, which has been on the cards for past few years, in addition to complete computerisation of civic services," he said. The civic body is also planning to take up the much promised coastal road project and road concretisation projects, he added.

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