Major spend on infrastructure and development, hikes in health-education provisions too
Geetanjali Minhas | February 5, 2020 | Mumbai
With a Shiv Sena chief minister in Maharashtra after almost 20 years, Asia’s largest and civic body, ruled by the same party, has presented a budget of Rs 33,441.02 crore for 2020-21, with an increase of 8.95 percent against Rs 30,692.59 crore in 2019.
The budget was presented in the standing committee of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) by municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. In 2016-17 the BMC presented its highest-ever budget of Rs 37,052 crore, slashing it by around Rs 12,000 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 25,141 crore.
The budget has allocated Rs 14,637.76 crore for development projects and improving infrastructure. Rs 1,600 crore has been allocated for road improvement, a 27.5 percent increase over last year’s allocation of Rs 11,480.42 crore. The BMC has proposed to design and build new roads over 60 feet with separate utility duct corridor to prevent frequenters trenching.
Rs 2,699.65 crore has been kept for traffic, operations, roads and bridges.
The BMC’s ambitious coastal road project, planned to finish in four years, is given Rs 2,000 crore, a 25 percent increase over Rs 1,600 crore in 2018.
The Goregaon-Mulund link road extension by 12.2 km for east-west connectivity has been allocated Rs 300 crore, a three-fold rise from Rs 100 crore in 2019-20. The budget for footpath repairs has been halved to Rs 50 crore.
Rs 10 crore has been allotted for construction of working women’s hostel in the western suburbs at Goregaon (W) to provide safe and convenient accommodation for women. Rs 226.77 crore has been allocated for the garden department, and the civic body plans to grow 4,00,000 plants with the Japanese Miyawaki urban forestry method in its 65 plots.
For water conveyance and tunnel works, Rs 170.79 crore has been provisioned and approximately Rs 6 crore has been earmarked for re-engineering and reconstruction of water treatment plants. Rs 4 crore has been marked for the Dadar beach beautification, for which a scheme proposed by the consulting architect will be adopted.
To encourage and promote start-up ideas focused on helping BMC with problem-solving, Rs 15 crore has been allocated for setting up incubation labs where such ideas will be granted financial aid. BMC has provisioned Rs 503.51 crore for the Garagai dam project to ensure future water supply.
The BMC education budget has been hiked from Rs 2,733.77 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 2,944.59 crore. The civic body proposes to open ICSE and CBSE affiliated schools, delegate powers to school head teachers to appoint data entry operators and temporary retired school teachers, pay fees for competitive exams, disposal of scrap material and approvals of bills up to Rs 10,000. Rs 50 lakh has been allocated to provide financial aid for top 25 SSC rank-holders from BMC schools to pursue undergraduate degrees. BMC schools will implement three “water break bells” as a reminder to students to drink water and keep themselves well hydrated.
A budget allocation of Rs 26 lakh has been made to set up a digital telescope and mini observatory in Vidyan Kutuhal Bhavan to give students a first-hand experience of space science.
A budget allocation of Rs 20 crore has been made for the installation of 6,666 CCTV cameras at gates and classrooms from Std 4-7 of municipal schools. Rs 24.3 crore had been allocated for these cameras in the previous year, though the project was not completed.
Rs 1.84 crore has been approved to provide hand sanitizers for 17 schools for the specially abled. BMC will spend Rs 2,944.59 crore for primary education increasing its earlier budget of Rs 2,733 crore by Rs 210.82 crore. A budget provision of Rs 1,031.92 crore has been made under ‘Primary Education Government Aid’. Rs 129.94 crore revenue has been proposed for secondary education.
For upgrading the filing system to modular sliding file storage, BMC has provided Rs 10 lakhs. Rs 1,500 crore has been allotted for BEST to repay procured loans for new buses under wet lease, payment of wages and implementation of the ITMS project. It runs a fleet of 3,400 city buses and ferries more than 34 lakh passengers. The BMC has set aside funds of Rs 3 crore where 50 percent concession will be provided to senior citizens for travelling in non-AC buses. In 2019 BMC had proposed Rs 44 crore as capital investment for the BEST undertaking and with the same concession to senior citizens travelling in the buses.
For blind and differently-abled people the BMC proposed 100 percent concession in bus fares for non-ac BEST buses for which it has created a fund of Rs 6 crore. It will also provide self-propelled scooters for differently-abled persons with side wheels and set aside Rs 70,000 for procurement for beneficiaries. It has budgeted a provision of Rs 5 crore for a total 511 beneficiaries.
The health budget has increased by 3 percent to Rs 4,260.34 crore compared to last year and it proposes to increase the number of dispensaries functional in the evening OPD (from 4pm to 11pm) to 35.
The municipality also announced a dedicated BMC Tourism Department and Rs 183.03 crore has been allocated for the day-to-day activities to be conducted by external experts and accrediting travel agents. It also announced commencement of ecotourism activities around water supply reservoirs such as Tanda and Vaitarna dams.
The BMC has proposed Rs 2 crore to meet any challenge arising from the spread of Coronavirus in Mumbai.
The BMC’s budget estimates for revenue are pegged at Rs 28,448.30 crore, a 13.87 percent increase over Rs 24,983.82 crore of 2019-20. It expects to earn approximately Rs 125 crore from the stamp duty charged for the registration of new properties. The body plans to earn revenues of Rs 950 crore over the next five years from this head. Rise in revenue generation of Rs 600 crore is expected by providing conditional floor space index (FSI) to regularise areas like flower beds and deck lifts which are currently being used unauthorized.
The civic body has however seen a reduction of about Rs 335 crore in annual demand. The Shiv Sena’s populist decision to waive property tax of houses of up to 500 sq ft after coming to power has put revenues under stress. The budget has emphasised on collection of at least 10 percent of Rs 15,000 crore from outstanding property tax. It has proposed to increase five percent in fees for issuance of trade licence, market licence and birth certificate.
“BMC will withdraw Rs 4,380 crore from the reserve fund to meet its expenses in the coming year. It will adopt a prudent investment policy to increase the interest income. It will implement an investment philosophy that encapsulates the global principles of safety, liquidity and returns,” said municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.
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