The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has vested control of the over Rs 350-crore discretionary fund for special development of the city with the in-charge minister.
This was announced Monday in the course of presentation of the city budget for 2014-15 budget that projects an unrealistic outlay of Rs 7,773.08 crore despite mounting debts and squeezed revenues. Allowing the city in-charge minister to use special development fund is a departure from the practice of allocating the money to legislators and will give the minister greater control over city politics.
The ruling Congress in the state is set to reap the benefit of the trend set by the BJP-led BBMP council. The council did not announce major projects for the city in its fifth and last budget but focused on completing ongoing works.
The key budget proposals include installing GPS-based electronic meters in 20,000 auto-rickshaws at Rs 6,000 each to prevent women passengers and tourists from being cheated and misled, establishing a solid waste management authority to oversee garbage disposal, hi-tech e-toilets in crowded areas, a Bangalore history museum at Freedom Park, pet ambulances and 50 per cent property tax concession for people living within a km of garbage dumps.
The BBMP did not increase taxes but aims to swell revenues by ensuring the existing ones are collected.
Chairman of the taxation and finance committee M S Shivaprasad, who presented the budget, said the BBMP council was waiting for government nod to adopt Karnataka Land Revenue Act that will enable action against property tax defaults. The budget made paying guest facilities taxable. Efforts would be made to effectively collect property tax from commercial, non-residential buildings, shops, service apartments, paying guest dwellings and malls, Shivaprasad said.
The BBMP expects to collect Rs 3,573.42 crore in property tax, generate Rs 182.48 crore from hoardings, Rs 750 crore from optical fiber cable service organisations and Rs 60 crore through trade licences. Leader of Opposition Manjunatha Reddy of the Congress said: “The budget figures are way above the BBMP income. It is a fictitious budget.” Last year, the BBMP council had announced an outlay of Rs 8,498.57 crore but later brought it down to Rs 3,236.15 crore. The expected receipt last year was Rs 8,445.26 crore but the actual Rs 3,208.95 crore.