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‘Bengaluru corporation should further reduce dependence on state grants’

A report by the non-profit organisation Janaagraha highlights the civic body’s high dependence on state grants and says such funding is discretionary and may not be sustainable.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) (File Photo)

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a budget outlay of 10,480 crore for the year 2022-23. The civic body aims to collect Rs 3,680.15 crore – 56 per cent of the revenue – in taxes and cesses.

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In its budget analysis, the non-profit organisation Janaagraha said the budget variance for the last fiscal is at 5 per cent, which indicates good budget practices and tighter implementation. More importantly it is in line with the Karnataka Local Fund Authorities Fiscal Responsibilities Act, it said.

Janaagraha highlighted the corporation’s high dependence on state grants, which it said are discretionary and may not be sustainable . “It is critical that the BBMP has predictability of funding, which means assured funds coming in at expected timelines like the grants from central and state finance commissions, in addition to its own revenues. Predictability of funds strengthen BBMP’s ability to execute projects, maintain and improve infrastructure and meet citizens’ aspirations,” the report said.

In its analysis, Janaagraha also showed that the municipal corporation’s dependence on grants registered an overall decreasing trend from 53 per cent in 2016-17 to 38 per cent in 2022-23.

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The NGO suggested that corporation should further reduce its dependency on grants in 2022-23 through mobilizing its own revenues.

“While the Karnataka state government grants have provided much needed relief to the BBMP and citizens of Bengaluru, such dependence on state grants may not be sustainable and must not be taken for granted. The BBMP has also proposed significant increases in other sources of revenue like health cess, duct services/ OFC charges, building regulation compounding fees. This would reduce dependency on property taxes, [its] largest own source of revenue,” it said.

“Property tax estimates for 2022-23 are Rs 3,152 crore, which is 31 per cent higher than the revised estimates of 2021-22 indicates that the BBMP is gaining capacity in property tax collection. Over the past 2-3 years, the BBMP has also strengthened its collection efforts by focusing on recovery from commercial properties and expanding its tax net by bringing new properties under assessment (properties near the administrative borders of BBMP limits). Steps are also being taken to ensure better property tax collection by improved enumeration and correction of zonal miscalculations by citizens,” Janaagraha said in a release.

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In a departure from the traditional practice of presenting the budget in the public eye, the civic body uploaded the budget 2022-23 on its website on March 31 without any prior announcement.

First published on: 21-04-2022 at 08:57:48 pm
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