BBMP tables non-taxing Rs 9,287.81-crore budget

BBMP tables non-taxing Rs 9,287.81-crore budget

Bengaluru

Budget will change the way BBMP functions, says Spl Commissioner; no new taxes or hikes; Rs 2,000 crore to be devolved for zonal-level projects

With a focus on decentralisation and financial discipline, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Saturday presented its Rs 9,287.81 crore annual Budget for the financial year 2021-22. This year’s budget is lower by Rs 1,611.42 crore than the last fiscal’s (2020-21) Rs 10,899.23-crore budget. The Budget has neither imposed fresh taxes nor hiked the existing ones.

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Finance) Tulasi Maddineni presented the Budget in the presence of BBMP Administrator Gaurav Gupta and Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad. “This journey would be long because we currently have pending bills of about Rs. 3,000 crore for BBMP and projects in various stages of implementation of about Rs 7,000 crore that BBMP must pay for from its own resources. These liabilities have spurred us to take difficult decisions. Well begun is half done; we have begun our journey with this budget,’’ Maddineni said.

The BBMP Budget proposes to devolve around Rs 2,000 crore to the zones for disbursement for the citizen services and developmental projects at the zonal level. “This beginning carries the seeds of revolutionary change in the way BBMP functions. Bengaluru is the global technology cluster with a highly educated population who expect world class services. A unified digital platform is being readied to act as a gateway for citizens,’’ she said.

How green is my Bengaluru

E-Asthi

The digital initiative E-Asthi would be extended to the entire BBMP area this financial year. The Budget has allocated `10 crore for implementation of E-Asthi.

Rs 1 L for the best garden

To encourage roof-top and household gardening using in-house compost, the Budget proposes to start a zone level competition with a prize amount not exceeding ` 1 lakh per zone for the best roof-top / household garden using in-house compost. This will be implemented by the horticulture department.

Rs 60 crore for SWD

Flooding has been a cause of concern and the changing rainfall patterns have made newer areas vulnerable to flooding in the city. The Budget has allocated `60 crore for desilting and maintenance of storm water drains as part of the civic body’s goal of zero flooding.

Rs 31 crore for lakes

The Budget has allocated `31 crore as against the `7.40 crore that was spent in 2019-20 for the maintenance of lakes in the city. “Protection of lake areas through boundary fencing is a task for which resources of `10 crore have been provided for specifically. The Lake Adoption scheme would be enabled for corporates with a turnover of more than `100 crore,’’ she said.

Social Welfare

The BBMP’s major responsibility is to ensure social justice and welfare of the disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society. Towards this, the Budget has provided funds of `546.89 crore out of available funds as compared to `513.78 crore in the year 2019-20.

“However, we also need to be aware that we have a huge list of pending liabilities on this account. Our current liability for already approved and executed schemes is to the tune of `1,000 crore, of which ‘Individual House Scheme’ itself accounts for about `900 crore. Therefore, we made a conscious decision not to take up new schemes but to rather pay the available money to the existing beneficiaries,’’ she said.

Funds for Covid-19

The Budget has allocated `337 crore towards medical expenses under the public health and clinical wings. This will be in addition to the amount provided by the state government based upon case load and need. “We are also aware that providing speciality services is not one of our strengths, so we intend to partner with private medical colleges for provision of specialist doctors at our referral hospitals. A model MoU is being made to provide quality care at BBMP hospitals,’’ she said.

Solid Waste Management

The Budget has allocated `1,622.23 crore for solid waste management including ongoing capital projects of `522.00 crore. This would appear to be high, compared to the previous years. “For the first time in seven years, tenders have been finalised and awarded for collection and transportation of garbage. We wish to highlight that the vehicles under these tenders have RFID attendance and GPS tracking,’’ she said.

Footpaths

The BBMP had received 9,706 budget inputs during the My City My Budget campaign. The Budget has allocated `20 lakh for every ward committee towards footpaths under the mission ‘Footpaths for Citizens’. The BBMP proposes to have 1,000 km of walkable footpaths to a length of least 5 km per ward using these funds.

“Non-motorised transport initiatives like Cycle Lane and pedestrian pathways will be taken up under Government of Karnataka funds,’’ she said.

Revenue

The Budget proposes correction of zonal misclassification to bring unassessed properties into the tax net and it has issued notices to 78,000 property owners using GIS tools and more properties are being identified. “This year, we will be moving to the capital value system of property tax assessment. We are the only Urban Local Body that has not shifted to a capital value system in our State. This is essential for receiving funds under the Fifteenth Finance Commission. Work is going on in collaboration with the state revenue department to make the system of A Khata and B Khata history. We have set ourselves a target of `2,800 crore for property tax collection, which with cess will amount to `3,500 crore,’’ she said.

Incentive for teachers

The Budget proposes to continue the incentive for students at the BBMP educational institutions with a budgetary allocation of `1.10 crore. As per this scheme, a student scoring more than 85 per cent in SSLC exam would be given an incentive of `25,000. “We intend to start a scheme whereby SSLC class teachers in a school will get an incentive of `2 lakh, when at least 60% of the students, not being less than 20, score 85% marks,’’ she said.

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