BBMP budget spares city of fresh taxes

BBMP budget spares city of fresh taxes
With Assembly elections slated for 2018, the BBMP toed the state government’s line by focusing on welfare schemes, but did not announce new taxes in its 2017-18 budget presented on Saturday. The budget, with an outlay of Rs 9,241 crore, also lays special emphasis on horticulture, health, afforestation and education.

Taxation and Finance Committee Chairperson M K Gunashekar, who tabled the budget, proposed to set up a Pouravahini Team that will oversee the implementation of the decisions taken by the council and submit a action-taken report every quarter before the council. For the first time the BBMP admitted that there are 19 lakh properties in the city and proposes to allot a unique digital identification number to all properties in the next fiscal.

The Palike expects to collect Rs 3,726.25 crore as property tax in the next fiscal, though there was a major pitfall in its revenue target and achievement in the present fiscal. To achieve this goal, the Palike plans to rely upon the ongoing Total Station Survey. An amount of Rs 146.34 crore has been allocated for the development and maintenance of parks. While an extensive plantation drive is proposed to be carried out in government offices, the budget also lays emphasis on rainwater harvesting, rejuvenation of underdeveloped parks, construction of water tanks to irrigate parks, beautification of medians, junctions and boulevards, and development of parks in newly added areas of BBMP.

The Palike has reserved Rs 38 crore for urban forestry and intends to plant 10 lakh saplings. Each tree would get a unique identity number and the survey would cost Rs 4 crore. The budget also proposes tree wardens for the city. In addition to this, lakeside nurseries will be developed at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Lakes have also got importance in this budget with an allocation of Rs 89.5 crore. An amount of Rs 50 crore has been reserved to set-up sewage treatment plants.

Healthy allocation
Gunashekar has reserved about Rs 220 crore on health projects to provide relief to the economically weaker section. This includes Rs 4 crore allocated for the distribution of coronary stents to cardiac patients from the poor and the middle-class. The Palike reserved Rs 89.36 crore for various schemes under the education department, including free health insurance facility, and CET coaching and computer training for PUC students.

Of the whopping Rs 503.25 crore reserved for welfare programmes, Rs 100 crore has been alloted for ‘Namma Swantha Mane’, Rs 167 crore for community facilities in areas predominanted by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Rs 29.5 crore has been set aside for the welfare of Pourakarmikas. Apart from this, the BBMP has also included the state government’s ‘Namma Canteen’ in the budget. Allocations for major infrastructure projects have been presented verbatim from the state budget.

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