Coronavirus forces Pune Municipal Corporation to review its 2020-21 budget

Siddharth Gadkari
Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, “We have decided to review the budget 2020-21 in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. Our revenue sources have been affected badly."

Pune: Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad has decided to do away with unnecessary development work and review the civic budget 2020-21. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, civic bodies are facing a financial crunch. The collection of property tax, the development charge and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) aid from the state government has declined drastically.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Gaikwad said, “We have decided to review the budget 2020-21 in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. Our revenue sources have been affected badly. We have to cut off our expenses on unnecessary works such as beautification and non-essential project works. In the coming two months, we will review the situation and submit a supplementary budget to the standing committee. We will have to set priority for civic works and allocate funds accordingly.”

He said, “We will continue water supply-related work and some drainage projects, which have already started. At present, we have started only pre-monsoon work.”

The municipal commissioner had tabled the civic budget amounting to Rs 6,229 crore for the financial year-2020-21 immediately after taking charge. It was further inflated by Rs 1,100 crore, and a budget of Rs 7,390 crore was sanctioned.

NO BEAUTIFICATION WORK
NGOs and MP Vandana Chavan also objected to the spending of public money on non-productive and non-priority works with both the state and PMC facing a financial crunch. The PMC has cancelled beautification works of roads and chowks worth around Rs 35 crore. 

AWAITING GST INSTALMENT
The State government transfers the GST aid to all municipal bodies every month. The state gives around Rs 2,000 crore to PMC as the GST aid every year. It is a major portion of revenue for the civic body. According to PMC chief accountant, they received Rs 50-crore instalment in April, of a total Rs 141 crore. Now, the PMC has not received the GST instalment of Rs 141 crore yet in May from the State government.

DIP IN PROPERTY TAX COLLECTION
The PMC property tax department emailed tax bills to property taxpayers for the year 2020-21 from April 1. It has collected only Rs 130.43 crore till date. Of the total 10.50 lakh taxpayers, only 1.30 lakh have paid tax till date.

Last year, the civic body had collected around Rs 319.08 crore (from over three lakh taxpayers) on the corresponding date. After giving relaxation in non-containment areas, PMC has also started Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) to pay property tax bills to citizens. 

NO DEVELOPMENT CHARGES REVENUE
PMC is not getting the building development charges as construction activity is completely stopped. It is a major revenue source for the civic body. The building permission department contributes over Rs 700 crore from development charges.

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