Mumbai: In a first, BMC looks for options to invest Rs 66,958 crore rather than keeping it in fixed deposits in banks

The country's richest civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is now exploring investment options such as forex, debt investment, equity investment, and commodity trading to invest its Rs 66,958 crore. It is for the first time that the BMC is going to invest rather than keeping it in fixed deposits in banks.

According to the Hindustan Times, currently, the amount has been kept in fixed deposits for a 15-month tenure, on which the civic body gets 7% interest. Of the Rs 66,958.09 crore, Rs 52,635.80 crore is reserved for infrastructure projects, Rs 12,963.62 crore for BMC’S liabilities toward pensions and other schemes for its employees, and Rs 1,358.67 crore for special funds.

Praveen Darade, Additional Municipal Commissioner, who is in charge of the finance department, told the leading daily, “We are looking at ways to invest, especially the Rs 12,963.62 crore, reserved for pensions. As the amount reserved for infrastructure projects can’t be used elsewhere, we will see how we can invest it.” He also added that, if they find a viable option outside the ambit, the civic body can look at amending the MMC Act.

On looking at ways to invest, BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi told the Hindustan Times, “Our liabilities in pensions will boom in a few years, and the BMC’S reserved funds will not meet this increased demand. The GOI allows government bodies to invest a certain small percentage of its funds as dynamic investments, which we want to do.”

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s budget for financial year 2019-20 breached the Rs 30,000-crore mark for the second time in three years even as India’s richest civic body’s revenue from real estate, one of its biggest sources of income, fell. The corporation neither introduced new taxes nor increased existing tax rates, according to the budget compilation by CARE Ratings. The Goods and Service Tax compensation, property tax receipts, water and sewerage charges, receipts from sale of extra floor space to developers and investments account for almost 85 percent of BMC’s income. The civic body, which now has accumulated reserves worth Rs 75,538 crore, will spend the largest chunk of its expected FY20 revenue income in on salaries, followed by infrastructure and sewage disposal.

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