‘Octroi will remain the prime revenue source in 2014-15’

Excerpts from a press conference by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte after the budget.

Mumbai | Updated: February 6, 2014 11:21:49 am
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte. Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte

Do you plan to raise a loan from your internal sources for capital expenditure?

If there is a need, we will raise a loan worth Rs 2000 crore.

The civic body had estimated to collect Rs 7,740 crore from octroi in 2013-14. Why did it revise this target to Rs 7,200 crore?

Last year, the government had intended to abolish octroi completely and we had initiated steps for transition to Local Body Tax (LBT) by October 1, 2013. The introduction of LBT met with opposition from traders. Also, the necessary amendment for LBT in the MMC Act did not take place and now, the BMC is the only urban local body in Maharashtra to levy octroi. This uncertainty led us to delay undertaking projects such as X-ray scanners and upgrade of octroi nakas that would have upped our octroi receipts. The dilly-dallying over the decision led to decreased revenue generation. Octroi will remain the prime revenue source in 2014-15 as owing to elections, the transition to LBT is not expected this year, too.

Was the Rs 100-crore grant extended to BEST due to political pressure? Will the grant be extended in the coming years, too?

As of now, the grant has been declared as financial assistance to BEST for 2014-15 so that they do not have to hike fares.

Your capital expenditure allocation has increased from Rs 9,369 crore in the current financial year to Rs 11,051 crore in the next even as you have lowered the revised estimates for the current year to Rs 6,430 crore. How do you ensure that this amount will be spent?

Budget estimates are planned based on assumption that all planned capital works will receive permission and will commence in that year. But that does not always happen. In unforeseen situations, where the required permissions do not come and there are other issues of rehabilitation of project affected persons, the projects do not take off and the capital expenditure remains under-utilised.

Where will Rs 7,700 crore for the master plan for roads come from? Will you have to use a portion of your savings in fixed deposits?

No. The money will come from our annual revenue receipts and the BMC is in a financially robust position to undertake this master plan without touching its savings. We can be our own financers.

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