With the ever-increasing financial deficit, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is finding it difficult to carry out infrastructure projects.
The civic body owes a whopping Rs 15,428.67 crore to the contractors for the past two years alone, while also incurring a debt of Rs 706.73 crore. Against this, its total estimated revenue for FY 2017-18 is Rs 7,315.85 crore.
Acknowledging the cash crunch, BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad wrote to the Urban Development Department (UDD) to bring the Palike under the ambit of the Karnataka Local Fund authorities and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003, to restore financial discipline.
The act makes it mandatory to have revenue surplus to enable sufficient funds for spending, besides helping local bodies achieve realistic
“...All these years, the BBMP projected unrealistic budgets, where the revenue estimates were too high and it failed to collect the estimated income either through tax or through funds allocated by the state government,” Prasad stated in his letter.
Interestingly, as a lesson from the past, the BBMP attempted to present a realistic budget for the year 2018-19 in May.
The civic body had pegged a higher revenue of Rs 9,995.81 crore during 2017-18. However, it had to revise its estimates later in the year
to Rs 7,513.98 crore, he further said.
The BBMP has brought down its revenue collection target by Rs 673.3 crore compared to the previous year.
The civic body expects to collect Rs 9,322.48 crore through tax revenue, non-tax revenue, government grants and recoveries and refund, this time around.
“There is no financial discipline in the BBMP and I have written to the state government so that a system is brought
wherein we spend based on how much we earn,” Prasad said.
The letter also describes how the civic body is finding it harder to implement infrastructure projects in the 110 villages, one town municipal council and seven city municipal councils,
besides clearing pending bills, paying salaries, solid waste management, urban forestry and education, among others.
A lot of job codes have also been taken up.