BBMP budget spares tax hike, focuses on reducing debts | Bengaluru News - Times of India

BBMP budget spares tax hike, focuses on reducing debts | Bengaluru News – Times of India

Bengaluru

BENGALURU: Caught between the financial distress caused by the pandemic and pending arrears payable to contractors, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Saturday presented its budget for 2021-22 focusing on reducing debts. The budget, with an outlay of Rs 9,287 crore, was devoid of populist fixes and over-the-top projects that could burden taxpayers of Bengaluru.
BBMP administrator Gaurav Gupta said: “The emphasis of the budget is on completing several long-pending projects and ongoing infrastructure works in the city.”

Presented in the absence of an elected council (comprising corporators), the budget hasn’t proposed any hike in taxes (including property and advertisement), cess, rentals collected from several BBMP properties and fees for various services, including khata certificates.
BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad, said: “Unlike in the last four years, this budget has been more realistic as it is in sync with BBMP’s revenue. New projects were being announced in the past, when there were not enough funds to maintain existing civic amenities. However, this time the budget is more citizen-centric.”
The Palike hopes to mobilise Rs 3,353 crore from tax revenue, Rs 1,250 crore from non-tax revenue, Rs 421 crore grants from Centre, Rs 3,845 crore grants from state government and Rs 417 crore in the form of library cess, beggary cess and urban land transport cess.
Of the Rs 9,287 crore it plans to spend, 49 per cent has been earmarked for development works.
Deviating from the past, the budget gives thrust to decentralisation of funds and accountability at the zonal and ward levels.
“Administrative decisions involving financial resources to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore will be delegated to the zonal level,” said BBMP special commissioner (finance) Thulasi Maddineni, while presenting the budget.
This apart, Rs 1,622 crore has been allocated towards solid waste management (SWM).
However, a major cause of concern for BBMP pertains to payment of bills for various projects executed by contractors.
“We currently have pending bills amounting to Rs 3,000 crore for civic works completed and ongoing works worth Rs 7,000 crore. These intimidating liabilities have pushed us to take difficult decisions,” she added.

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