With budget approval, BBMP set to tighten its belt

More than a week after BBMP proposed Rs 8488 crores as the budget for 2010-11, the corporation on Thursday went a step ahead and announced an additional Rs 350 crores to the budget through revenue projections.

Mayor S K Nataraj and Chairman of Finance and Taxation Committee Chairman P M Sadashiva, addressing the media after the BBMP budget was approved in council. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal.

The Rs 350 crores is an increase in revenue projections through the following: a Rs 70 crore increase in betterment charges (earlier estimate was  Rs 120 crores), Rs 150 crores more of property tax (earlier estimate was Rs 1501 crores), Rs 70 crores more from trade licenses (earlier estimate was Rs 107 crores), Rs 50 crores more through Akrama Sakrama (earlier estimate was Rs 750 crores). Also, Rs 10 crores will be collected through issue of dog licenses.

P N Sadashiva, Chairman of the Taxation and Finance Committee, also announced an increase in allocations to each ward, which is now a total of Rs 698 crores. This is after corporators voiced their concerns about not being granted enough funds for ward-level works. Each ward has now been been allocated grants in addition to the Rs 2 crores (old wards) and Rs 3 crores (new wards).

All figures are in Rs. crores.

Outstanding payments

 2010-11

Expenditure

2010-11

Receipts

2010-11

Bills (Completed works) – 1700

Bills (Ongoing works) – 3025

Liabilities – 2244

Loans – 2612

Installments – 592

Administration – 500

Health – 336

Others – 4878

Salaries and Pension – 333

Admin Expenses – 162

Health – 336

Edu, Culture & Sports – 103

Debt Servicing – 592

Welfare – 604

Maintenance Works – 526

Capital Works (JnNURM) – 337

Capital works (Others) – 4878

Current Assets and Liabilities – 617

Property Tax – 1651

Betterment charges – 190

Trade licenses – 177

Akrama Sakrama – 800

Dog licenses – 10

Advertisement tax – 100

Miscellaneous receipts – 701

Grants from state government – 1866

JnNURM grants – 195

Loans – 1890

Other Receipts – 844

Total – 15887

Total – 8488

Total – 8423

 

Additional Grants

For Wards – 331.8

For 12 Assembly constituencies – 51

35 special works – 104.7

 

BBMP Commissioner justifies budget outlay

In the four days of discussion in the BBMP council, several corporators raised concerns about the revenue projections of the corporation and even condemned the fact that huge amounts of bills were yet to be paid in addition to more loans being taken.

BBMP Commissioner H Siddaiah addressed the council on Thursday, responding to some of the issues brought up during the budget discussion.

Siddaiah firstly put before the council, the BBMP’s current financial status. (See Outstanding Payments in table)

"Keeping all of this in mind, we have made the budget. What can we cut down on now?", Siddaiah asked, to which Leader of the Opposition M Nagaraj (also corporator of Ward 23 – Nandini Layout), asked, "Who is responsible for those pending bills? What were the officials doing till now?"

Siddaiah did not respond.

Siddaiah however said that the challenge is to address all these issues and work around them. He cited the example of Section 108 (a) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act pertaining to payment of property tax, which says, "If default is made in payment…the person liable to the tax, shall pay a penalty at the rate of two per cent per month of the amount tax remaining unpaid after the period specified in sub section (1)." The Commissioner said the BBMP has not been collecting these fines from defaulters.

Congress and JD(S) corporators protested against the BBMP budget approval by walking out and staging a dharna, respectively. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Siddaiah says BBMP has recorded that only about 15 lakh properties come under their tax net. He said the BBMP will now have to get their act together in collecting tax to reach their projected revenue of Rs 1651 crores from property tax for 2010-11.

"We have started cutting down unnecessary costs. Accountability and transparency will be stepped up. We will do what is called as ‘tightening the belt’", said Siddaiah in his address to the council. He also echoed the BJP’s reason for taking huge amounts of loans in this budget, saying, "Loans are for development. There is no country in this world that has not taken loans. We should take this up as a challenge."

Mayor S K Nataraj also addressed the council, saying, "This is a people-friendly budget." He said Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will announce the state government’s grants to the BBMP in a forthcoming council meeting.

However, Congress and JD(S) corporators continued to maintain their disapproval of the budget. While BJP’s floor leader Katte Sathyanarayana, corporator of Basavanagudi (Ward 154) formally announced the approval of the budget, Congress members staged a walkout, and JD(S) members sat in the well of the house, shouting slogans in protest.

Commissioner speaks

  • BBMP Commissioner H Siddaiah said the court case on ‘midnight tenders’ was only with regard to the tender process and not the works themselves. "There is no stay on the works, so there is no question of stopping them", he said, referring to projects to make signal free corridors.
  • On asked why BDA is developing lakes in the city, Siddaiah says this is being done only to reduce financial burden of the BBMP. He said the BDA will also build multi-level parking lots for the BBMP. "They will build on BBMP property. That doesn’t mean the land will be transferred to BDA. It will continue to remain with us", he said.

Other announcements

  • Taxation and Finance Committee Chairman P N Sadashiva announced that medical insurance will be introduced for sexuality minorities under the Pandit Deen Dayal Suvarna Arogya Suraksha scheme.
  • Sadashiva also said that BBMP schools will soon include lessons on freedom fighters to inculcate the spirit of patriotism and national harmony among students

 

About Vaishnavi Vittal 139 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.

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