India's Richest Civic Body Earned Less, But Budget Up By 2,700 Crores

Due to the slump in real estate and exemption of property tax to residential homes with carpet area up to 500 sqft, BMC showed a deficit of Rs 335 crore in property tax collection

The budget of Mumbai's BMC focuses on infrastructure projects and civic amenities

Mumbai:

The country's richest civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), revealed its budget 2020-21 on Tuesday to the tune of Rs 33,441 crore or 8.95 per cent more than last year's budget, which was Rs 30,692 crore.

Due to the slump in real estate and exemption of property tax to residential homes with carpet area up to 500 sqft - a state government directive, which was the election promise of the Shiv Sena - the BMC showed a deficit of Rs 335 crore in property tax collection.

BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said he's hoping that the corporation would make up for the loss of income with money from sources like land lease and collecting pending rent.

"We used to get revenues from premium of land to the tune of Rs 3,000-3,500 crore. That has reduced due to inflation to Rs 2,500 crore. But we hope to make it up from various other avenues," the BMC Commissioner said.

The budget focuses on infrastructure projects and civic amenities and has allotted Rs 14,638 crore as capital expenditure for roads, bridges, stormwater drains and solid waste management, among others.

Mumbai's coastal road, a project of the Shiv Sena, has seen an increase of 25 per cent allocation to Rs 2,000 crore, up from Rs 1,600 crore in 2019-20.

After the incident of CST bridge collapse, the civic body has been conducting audits of old bridges and foot overbridges. Some Rs 800 crore has been kept aside for maintenance and repairs of bridges.

For the education department, Rs 2,944 crore has been allotted, which is 7.71 per cent more than last year's allocation, while Rs 4,260 crore is for the health department, 14 per cent more than last year's revised estimates for the department.

Yashwant Jadhav, Standing Committee Chairman, BMC, said, "This is a satisfactory budget. We have tried to address all problems and taking steps to solve them through this budget."

However, the Congress, which is in the opposition in the BMC ruled by the Shiv Sena, is not very pleased with the budget.

Ravi Raja, Leader of Opposition, said the budget is just about showing dreams to Mumbaikars and they have changed the numbers from last year. "There is no new proposal in the budget," he said.

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