Will BMC Propose New Taxes To Increase Revenue?

BMC is keen on finding ways to increase its income that has taken a sharp hit due to falling revenue from the real estate sector

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) budget will be presented today to the Standing Committee. It is expected that the civic administration will propose new charges or taxes, and schemes to collect pending dues to boost its income, which has seen a sharp dip due to dwindling property tax and Development Plan department charges (DP charges comes from real estate sector). The civic body might also try to allot more funds to ongoing projects like wastewater treatment plants, the Coastal Road, two bridges near Mahalaxmi station etc.

Last year the budget was Rs 30,692 crore. There may not be a drastic change in the budget size this year, but the civic administration is keen to increase its revenue. In previous years, municipal commissioners had introduced various charges including property tax on slum homes, one per cent surcharge on buying and selling of properties, and service charges for art and entertainment facilities to improve BMC revenue. But these weren't implemented. Even in the last budget, no additional taxes were introduced. So it is expected that there will be indirect taxes or an increase in charges.

Big Projects Might Gain

The BMC commissioner might also give more weightage to ongoing big projects instead of new ones. The allotments for the Coastal Road and wastewater treatment plants may get a significant rise. In the last budget, there was a provision of R1,600 crore for the Coastal Road. Its work had stalled after a court order for over six months and the BMC used only R350 crore till December. The work has started and the civic body wants to make up for the delay. The R14,000 crore wastewater treatment plants are also in the tendering process.

There will also be an allotment for the two pending bridges near Mahalaxmi station. Standing Committee recently passed a Rs 745 crore proposal for the bridges. The proposed Rs 1,000 crore Deonar waste-to-energy plant will be allotted funds. Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi started the project of Miyawaki forests.

The city expects more environment enhancing projects. Last year, there had been a budget allocation of Rs 1,200 crore for the implementation of the DP. But the civic body spent merely Rs 5 crore till December end. It will be interesting to see how much allocation the DP gets. Societies may get up to 5 per cent rebate in property tax for processing waste.

'Identify New Sources Of Income'

"The BMC should try to complete the pending projects in stipulated time period. More importantly, it must identify new sources of income and execute them," said Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party in the BMC.

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Source: www.mid-day.com

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