BMC chief announces populist Rs 30K cr budget

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 5 February 2019

This amounts to Rs 3,434 crore more than last year’s Rs 27,258 crore budget. The key focus of the civic body in the new budget appears to be infrastructure.

MUMBAI: Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta announced the richest civic body’s budget, worth Rs 30,692.59 crore for 2019-20 on Monday. This amounts to Rs 3,434 crore more than last year’s Rs 27,258 crore budget. The key focus of the civic body in the new budget appears to be infrastructure. 

The BMC faces a loss of Rs 189.96 crore due to octroi abolition. After implementation of GST, the octroi was abolished and the main focus was property tax. The real estate business slowed down due to which the collection of property taxes and the implementation of capital-based property tax could not take place properly which in turn affected the BMC’s revenue collection.    

The commissioner’s proposed improvement of the quality and lifespan of the city’s footpaths and has allocated Rs 100 crore for the new footpath improvement policy. The footpath will be constructed with stencil concrete, marble chips and cement concrete or plain cement concrete. On the other hand, Rs 100 crore has been allocated for major projects like Goregaon-Mulund Link Road. The BMC has allocated Rs 1,600 crore for the Coastal Road Project that is set to cover 9.98 km linking Marine Drive to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link with the estimated cost of Rs 12,969 crore.

The education allocation has been hiked for 2019-20 to Rs 2,733 crore as opposed to Rs 2,569 crore during 2018-19. The amount will be spent on revamping BMC schools with CCTV cameras, digital classrooms and e-library among other facilities.

The civic chief proposed a Parking Authority to create more parking space in the city. There is a provision in Development Plan and Development Control Rule (DCR) that there should be a separate body to manage the parking. There will be an additional commissioner who will handle the charge of parking commissioner. The budget allocates Rs 3 crore for the authority. 

The civic chief proposed improvement of 370 km of city roads and Rs 1,520 crore has been allocated for this. 106 km of the road will be with cement concrete while 172 km with asphalt. 

For bridges that are managed by the civic body, the municipal chief has allocated Rs 600.75 crore. The BMC manages 344 bridges including flyover bridges, sky-walks and subways. The allocation is for construction of new bridges, redevelopment of dilapidated construction and its maintenance.  The budget is being seen as a populist one. Though there are no new taxes or hike in taxes, charges like market fees, factory fees, health service charges in civic-run hospitals have been revised.  

Rs 9,268.9 crore has been earmarked for schemes targeting the urban poor. Rs 3,323.64 has been earmarked for implementation of Development Plan of the city. Interestingly, the BMC has made provision of Rs 34.10 crore for improvement of the capital works of the BEST. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BUDGET
- Coastal Road: `1,600.07 cr
- Goregaon Mulund Link Rd: Rs 149.59 cr  
- Road and Traffic: Rs 1,520.09 cr
- Bridges: Rs 600.75 cr
- Health Services: Rs 4,151.14 cr 
- Education Dept: Rs 2,733.77 cr 
- Rivers’ beautification: Rs 825.05 cr 
- Fire brigade: Rs 200 cr
- Gargai Dam project: Rs 122.90 cr

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