BMC's Rs 31,178 crore budget is a 'routine budget': Kunte
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte presented what the Opposition labelled a 'routine budget' yesterday; with notable provisions being those made for women’s schemes, mini fire stations and repair of civic properties
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte presented the civic budget for 2014-2015 to the Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale yesterday. The BMC’s budget this year is Rs 31,178 crore, with Rs 5.77 crore in surplus. The civic body has projected a capital expenditure of Rs 8,159 crore, which will be spent on major projects, for which it has to procure internal loan of Rs 2,000 crore.
While it had been anticipated that new projects would be announced to appease voters in election year, there were no such announcements. The good news, however, is that no new taxes were proposed for citizens. The BMC expects Rs 7,800 crore in Octroi and Rs 3,956 crore by way of property tax.
And 48 per cent of this revenue, which amounts to around Rs 10,638 crore, will be spent on establishment expenditure, which includes salary and stationery for the BMC. Only about 16 per cent, which amounts to Rs 3,433 crore, will be spent on operations and maintenance.
In spite of the scathing criticism that has been directed at it, fungible FSI continues to be one of the major sources of revenue for the BMC, after Octroi. The civic body has earned around Rs 3,400 crore from fungible FSI, and expects to rake in over Rs 4,000 crore in year 2014-2015.
New plans on the cards
Department of business development
The BMC has planned to create a new department for Business Development, which will try and improve the ease of doing business in the city. The department will facilitate single window clearance, try to attract new green field investment in the city, and work for development of connectivity and infrastructure in the central business districts, so that Mumbai does not rank low in any international survey.
Schemes for women
The BMC has made a provision of Rs 15 crore for women’s schemes. The municipal commissioner appealed to female corporators to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas on welfare schemes for the betterment of women in the city.
To stop illegal dumping of debris in mangrove swamps and on footpaths, the BMC has announced a plan titled 'debris on call'. Citizens can call the ward office to collect debris generated during repair or reconstruction work. The BMC will send a vehicle to collect the debris, in exchange for some payment.
Mini fire stations
In order to reduce response time in any emergency, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has proposed 10 mini fire stations at strategic locations. A Rs 8 crore budgetary provision has been made for this alone. For general improvements all through the department, a provision of Rs 357 crore has been set aside.
Cleaning in private layouts
According to BMC’s new policy, it will clean all private layouts, including those under MHADA, MMRDA, Public Works departments.
Repair of BMC properties
Red-faced after the collapse of BMC's Babu Genu building at Mazgaon that claimed 61 lives last year, the BMC has set aside Rs 541.5 crore in its budget to repair and reconstruct BMC properties.
Highlights of the budget
The BMC has planned to construct a 35.6-km-long coastal freeway, from Nariman Point to Malad-Marve Road. This will be a combination of reclamation, bridges, elevated roads and tunnels in the western suburbs.
The civic body has made a budgetary provision of Rs 345 crore for construction of new bridges and repairs on existing bridges in the city. Apart from bridges, the BMC plans to improve CST and Churchgate subways, keeping in mind the historic nature of the area.
The BMC had initiated the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (Brimstowad) Project in 2005 to improve the carrying capacity of the nullah and storm water drains in the city. Out of a total 58 works, 17 have been completed and 37 are in progress. For the year 2014-15, the BMC has earmarked Rs 486 crore for the work.
Like last year, the BMC has assured it will convert wood-based crematoriums into PNG ones, in two phases. In the first phase, the BMC plans to convert the crematoriums in Shivaji Park, Amboli, Babhai, Charai, Sion, Undarai (Malad), Dahanukar Wadi and Daulat Nagar.
The BMC plans to develop old dilapidated staff quarters, using an FSI of 4. A budgetary provision of Rs 180 crore has been made to develop staff quarters in four, including those in Gautam Nagar in Dadar.
No new hoardings on old buildings
The BMC has come up with a policy not to allow hoardings on terraces of buildings that have completed 30 years. Also, religious spots and terraces of heritage precincts will be free of hoardings. No new permissions will be granted for the same.
Culture and sports
The BMC seems keen on boosting cultural activities and sports in the city, for which a provision of Rs 200 crore has been set aside. There are plans to extend the Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum, build a new sports complex at Borivli, and repair sports complexes in Andheri and Mulund.
The BMC promised 24x7 water supply in the coming years, and set aside a staggering Rs 6,127.14 for the water department alone. Repair and reconstruction of the 80-year-old pipelines is also a priority for the BMC. A sum of Rs 1,035 crore has been set aside for tunnels in the water supply system as well.
The garden department, which has been plagued by delayed development of open spaces and rampant encroachment, has been allotted a budgetary provision of about Rs 529.81 crore. A large number of theme parks have been proposed in the budget.
Total Budget for the year 2014-15
Rs 31,178.19 crore
Rs 7,800 crore
Rs 3,956.28 crore
Water and sewage charges
Rs 1,312.28 crore
Development plan department
Rs 4,444.27 crore
Establishment cost (salary and stationery)
Rs 10,638.56 crore
Rs 981.11 crore
Operation and maintenance
Rs 3,433.39 crore
Revenue grants, contribution and subsidies
Rs 4,188.92 crore
Sunil Prabhu, Mayor
This is a citizen-and-business-friendly budget. Various new projects have been incorporated in the budget. This budget has fulfilled all the promises that had been made by the saffron alliance in the previous civic poll.
Sitaram Kunte, Municipal commissioner
There are various projects, like the construction of the 100-km underground water supply tunnel, which no one can see like they can see the monorail. There are many works and projects that are vast but unnoticed. Mini fire stations, masterplans of roads, hospitals are the main highlights.
There are some good points as well as bad points. It is good that they are prioritising women's safety, but they have not come up with any new projects in the city. The roads and bridges in the city are already in a bad condition and there is need for better technology, not just waste of money. The dream of the city to have 24x7 water supply has not yet been realised, and there is no clear mention of the status of the same. This is a very routine budget, with no promises. Now we will have to see how much work was actually completed in the past year too. - Devendra Amberkar, Opposition leader