Why the BMC keeps falling short

The Mumbai civic budget was presented yesterday, and as expected, saw a rise in the overall outlay. The current year’s estimate stands at Rs 33,514 crore as compared to Rs 31,178 crore the previous year.

But that is not the operative part. The richest civic body in India (its budget is bigger than the budgets of entire states in many cases) has spent only 30 per cent of its budgeted expenditure until December 31, 2014. This is not only shocking, it is a joke that the BMC is playing on the city.

The figures are stark. On roads, the civic body spent Rs 1,026 crore compared to the provision of Rs 2,309 crore. On bridges, it has spent a mere Rs 84 crore as against a budget provision of Rs 333 crore.

The less said about gardens, the better. While the entire city is crying out for open spaces and better facilities in green areas, the BMC spent just Rs 45 crore as against a provision of Rs 361 crore.

On solid waste management, one of the burning issues that is troubling the city, the gap is laughable; only Rs 62.54 crore have been spent despite Rs 421.24 crore allocated to it. On health, the spend was an abysmal Rs 13.58 crore as against Rs 232.75 crore allocated.

We could well run out of adjectives to describe the pathetic condition of expenditure of India’s premier civic body, but as things stand, the next financial year could end up as a similar, if not the same story.

At the same time, the BMC has kept up its record of raising tax rates and thereby burdening citizens further. Which is why, despite its enormous income, Mumbai’s civic body remains one of the least efficient government institutions in the country.

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