Mumbai: BMC unveils Rs 39,038 crore budget, focuses on health and infrastructure

In a relief to citizens, no additional civic tax or licence fee was proposed in the budget by the city's civic body, which is set to go to polls early next year

Press Trust of India February 04, 2021 13:08:14 IST
Mumbai: BMC unveils Rs 39,038 crore budget, focuses on health and infrastructure

File image of BMC headquarters. Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday unveiled Rs 39,038.83 crore budget for the year 2021-22.

In a relief to citizens, no additional civic tax or licence fee was proposed in the budget by the BMC, the country's richest civic body that goes to polls early next year.

The BMC said in the budget that its revenue collection declined due to "the decisions are taken to combat COVID-19 and to provide relief measures for different sectors affected by it".

It said its property tax collection was "adversely affected" due to the pandemic and the resulting lockdown.

The total budget estimates for the next financial year are 16.74 percent more than the last fiscal when it had presented a budget of Rs 33,441 crore.

Municipal commissioner IS Chahal, who presented the budget before to the standing committee, kept the civic taxes and licence fees unchanged.

"There is no additional tax and charge in the budget," he said while talking to reporters after its presentation.

In the 11.51 crore surplus budget, the civic body is expecting a revenue of a Rs 27,811.57 crore from various sources, including property tax, water and sewage charges, compensation in lieu of octroi and DP fees, which is Rs 636 crore less as compared to the Rs 22,448 crore estimated revenue of FY 20-21.

The civic body increased its budget allocation for health care to Rs 4,728 crore from Rs 4,220 crore in FY 20-21.

It also raised the capital expenditure by almost 50 percent with an aim to build new hospitals and improve the existing health infrastructure.

It said it had earlier estimated Rs 6,768.58 crore revenue from property tax, but the pandemic forced it to later revise it to Rs 4,500 crore, due to which its income reduced by Rs 2268.58 crore.

Similarly, the revenue from the Development Plan (DP) department decreased to Rs 2,679.52 crore, from the estimated Rs 3,879 crore due to the pandemic, lockdown and slow-down in the real estate sector, it said.

Chahal, however, said, "The drop in property tax collection is a temporary phase and the BMC expects that it will come to normalcy in the near future."

He said they have been following up with the state government for Rs 5,274 crore of dues and with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) for Rs 1,600 crore dues.

"We expect to receive this amount from the government in 2021," he said.

The budget does not make any announcement about any new major infrastructure project and the BMC focuses on various ongoing development projects, besides health services, education and other facilities.

The civic body has estimated Rs 18,750 crore for FY 21-22 from the Rs 14,637.76 crore in FY 20-21 for the capital expenditure works, which includes traffic operation and roads (Rs 1,600 crore), Coastal Road project (Rs 2,000 crore), Water supply projects (Rs 1,232.17 crore), stormwater drains (Rs 1149.74 crore), Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (Rs 1,300 crore) and sewage disposal (Rs 1,060.06 crore), among others.

A provision of Rs 750 crore for the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) was made in the budget, and the BMC also announced to give Rs 406 crore loan to it to enable it to pay gratuity to 3,649 employees.

The BEST undertaking provides public bus service to Mumbai and neighbouring cities.

The BMC also announced to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation each to 101 BEST staffers, who died due to COVID-19 while discharging their duties.

Chahal said that the civic body has proposed to the government to declare the BMC as the single planning authority for the entire city for its integrated planning and development.

"This proposal is under consideration of the government," he said, adding that it may happen very soon.

He also said that they have proposed to build a world-class aquarium and marine research institute on Worli dairy plot and the Rs 500-crore project will be funded by the Maharashtra government.

Beautification of footpaths, flyovers, and traffic islands is planned, besides building new public toilets and up-gradation of five gardens in each ward before December end, he added.

The civic body has proposed to open 10 CBSE schools, Chahal said, adding that a total of 963 upper primary schools and 224 secondary primary municipal schools of the BMC will be renamed as Mumbai Public Schools to positively influence public perception towards the civic schools, he said

He also announced the creation of "climate change department" in BMC, in the wake of the addition of Mumbai in C40 cities of the world.

The civic chief said the BMC plans to set up a 'Dabbawala Bhavan' in central Mumbai as a mark of respect to Dabbawalas, who have been providing tiffin service in the city since 1870 and continue to feed two lakh citizens every day.

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said the budget focuses on the overall development of Mumbai and includes various development works.

The opposition parties, however, criticised the budget of the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC.

BJP leader Ashish Shelar alleged that the budget showers various concessions to the rich people.

Ravi Raja, opposition leader in BMC, said the civic body has shown a dream which cannot be fulfilled.

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