Rich South corporation presents ‘poor’ budget

Civic body enjoyed surplus of Rs 359 crore when it was formed in April, but failed to show any major achievement.

South Municipal Corporation, the richest civic agency in the city, has failed to cite a single prominent new development project in its first budget plan.

The corporation enjoyed the luxury of starting with a surplus of Rs 359.28 crore when it was formed in April following the trifurcation of the MCD. Given its strong financial status, it will not need to take any loan from the Delhi government.

But its commissioner, Manish Gupta, failed to list any achievement in his budget speech. Instead, he criticised the city government. "We had misleading budget last year on account of which the corporation did not take into account the wage and means loan from the government, income from Civic Centre and many departments did not have realistic targets," the commissioner said.

"We have two sources of income...internal revenue and money from planned funds from Delhi government, transfer duty, electricity tax and one-time parking charge on vehicles. The government did not release the municipal reforms funds for 2011-2012. The money will be given to us only when we achieve the revenue targets from internal sources," he said.

The corporation has a Rs 702-crore revenue target for the 2013-2014 fiscal.

Leader of the Opposition Farhad Suri called the budget visionless and directionless. "We increased property tax on commercial and industrial units. This will demotivate the business community. Even the target income from property tax of 12 lakh untapped properties, on the basis of which the budget is claimed to be self-sustainable, will be achieved in 2015. Everything has been proposed and no single project has been initiated or has materialised," he said.

The corporation has data from the Geospatial Delhi Limited (GSDL), giving a unique identification code to each property in South Delhi. "The data provides 3D images of every property along with the percentage of construction and vacant land," the commissioner said.

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