THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Budget estimates for 2019-20 made no mention of several demands and suggestions made by the Shiv Sena, which controls the municipality. While the Sena had opposed the scheme for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to municipal school students instead of providing them school supplies, the BMC in its Budget announced the start of the scheme.
Also, the education Budget remained silent on educational tablet devices for school students. In 2018-19, the civic body had made a Rs 12-crore allocation for providing tab devices to school students from Classes VIII to X.
In addition, the BMC Budget makes no mention of the property tax exemption and rebate for houses up to 500 square feet and 700 square feet, respectively. During the civic body election in 2017, the Shiv Sena had promised a complete exemption from property tax for houses measuring up to 500 square feet. Last year, Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav had moved a proposal for the property tax exemption and rebate, at a meeting of the BMC’s general body, which was then sent to the state government. The BMC is yet to receive a reply to the proposal from the state government.
In another development, after BEST workers went on strike recently, the Shiv Sena had demanded the merger of the BEST budget into the BMC Budget. The Sena had also supported the plea for financial assistance for the debt-ridden BEST. However, the BMC Budget made no mention of such a merger.
Meanwhile, the civic Budget entirely skipped mention of the ambitious 24-hour water supply scheme. Officials indicated that the Rs 250-crore Water Distribution Improvement Project (WDIP) is likely to be scrapped. The BMC had introduced WDIP in 2014 to start 24-hour water supply in the city.
Meanwhile, a dedicated fire compliance cell for the Mumbai Fire Brigade remains on paper, even two years after being announced. Another mega project to build water supply tunnels from Powai to Veravali and from Powai to Ghatkopar does not find a budgetary provision.
Apart from this, last year’s MCGM centre for Municipal Capacity Building and Research finds no mention in the latest allocations.