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With a massive shortfall in revenue and mounting expenses, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country's richest civic body, is desperately looking at ways to increase its sources of income and curtail expenditure.

As part of its budget document presented on Wednesday, the BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal has listed a slew of measures to generate revenue and to collect the pending ones.

According to the budget document presented on Wednesday, the Capital Expenditure which was ₹5432.24 crore in the year 2018-19, has increased to ₹10903.58 crore in the year 2020-21.

Meanwhile, within a short span of two years, there is a significant rise in the Capital Expenditure of the civic body. An increase to ₹18750.99 crore is estimated in the year 2021-22.

"Capital Expenditure of the BMC has increased. However, it will not be sustainable unless revenue collection /generation is improved and new sources of revenue are added," Chahal said.

The overall budget estimates of the revenue income for the financial year 2020-21 was ₹28448.30 crore, which is revised to ₹22572.13 crore, a reduction by ₹5876.17 crore. The Budget Estimates for the financial year 2021-22 for revenue income is proposed to be ₹27811.57 crore, ₹636.73 crore less than Budget Estimates of 2020-21.

The major sources of revenue for the year 2021-22 are Grant-in-aid on account of compensation from the state government in lieu of Octroi ₹10583.08 crore, income from Property tax ₹7000 crore, income from D.P. Department ₹2000 crore, income from interest on investments ₹975.56 crore, income from Water & Sewerage Charges ₹1598.08 crore.

“The BMC is facing various difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic such as increased expenditure against affected revenue collection. Revenues have majorly declined due to decisions taken to combat Covid-19 and to provide relief measures for different sectors affected by Covid-19. If this continues, the civic body will face a huge financial crisis," Chahal added.

Revenue from Property Tax was estimated to ₹6768.58 crore in 2020-21, has been revised to ₹4500 crore now. Besides a revision in property tax that was due this year has been postponed.

Besides this, revenue from DP Department was estimated to ₹3879.51 crore which was revised to ₹1199.99 crore. Thus, there is a sizeable decrease of ₹2679.52 crores. An amount of Rs 1600 crore towards land premium and infrastructural development charges is outstanding from SRA. Total outstanding dues from the regional offices of various departments of the State Government under the jurisdiction of BMC, amounts to ₹5274.16 crore till December 2020. This includes an amount of ₹3629.83 crore on account of Grant-in-aid from Education Department of the State Government.

Measures listed by BMC to increase revenue income includes:

* The civic body has initiated attachments, auctions and disconnection of water supply of properties for non payment of property tax.

* BMC is implementing a Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Project to get analytical reports of demand, collection and outstanding at real time. Defaulter list will be available at any time which will help to get a category-wise outstanding list.

* Flat-wise Bill Generation for recovery of outstanding dues of property tax.

* Revision of Municipal Services fees.

* Scrutiny Fee for granting the permission for providing Fire and Life Safety measures in the building as per DCR/DCPR - 2034 based on the gross built-up area of the building.

* Fire Service Fee

Financial Measures taken to fight Covid-19

* An ex-gratia payment of ₹50 lakh is proposed to be given to the family members of the deceased employees/ covid fighters.

* The expenditure incurred for the daily special allowance (₹300 per day) is ₹417 crore till December 31, 2020.

* BMC has paid ₹49.95 crore to MSRTC for free emergency transport services provided by them from March 23, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

*BEST undertaking had to hire 1000 additional buses from MSRTC since September 24, 2020. BMC assisted BEST by giving a grant of ₹33.80 crore. A provision of ₹60 crore is proposed in Revised Estimate 2020-21.

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Free Press Journal