The richest civic body in the country, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which will present its budget for 2020-21 on Tuesday, is feeling a massive squeeze on its major sources of income. The civic body has suffered a fall in its revenue, which could lead to a slash in capital expenditure on budgetary provisions for many departments this year.
In review meetings held in the last couple of weeks for setting the budget estimate for the next financial year, officials from the chief accountant (CA) department have cautioned other departments on allocations for capital expenditure. Sources said due to poor income, most departments could see a cut of 15 to 20 per cent in their budget.
“We have been asked to give an estimated amount that is going to be consumed for sure. Every year, at the end of the fiscal year, consumption is poor. Taking note of the financial situation of the civic body and low consumption, the CA department has decided to slash allocations. This year, not much was spent due to the code of conduct enforced during Lok Sabha and Assembly elections,” said an official from the BMC.
Till December 31, 2019, the BMC has spent 45 per cent of its budget. The budget estimate for 2019-20 was Rs 30,692 crore. Sources said this year, the budget estimate was likely to be close to previous year’s. The departments that are likely to face a cut in budgetary provision are roads and traffic, solid waste management projects (SWM), storm water drain (SWD), gardens, water supply projects (WSP) and other mega projects that have not taken off for long, such as the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road and Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP).
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According to the civic body, in 2019-20, Rs 1,471 crore was the allocation for roads, Rs 825 crore for SWD department, Rs 239 crore for SWM department, Rs 1,600 crore for coastal road department, Rs 550 crore for bridges, Rs 201 crore for fire brigade and Rs 474 crore for MSDP department. The expenditure in a majority of the departments was between 14 per cent and 79 per cent.
Officials said the allocation for departments, including coastal road and waste to energy plant at Deonar dumping ground, cycle track along Tansa water pipeline and Mithi River Rejuvenation, could be more as work was in progress. Though in the last two years, the expenditure by the BMC has improved slightly, it is still behind when it comes to using a large chunk of the budget.
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