Mumbai: Mixed Reactions Pour In As BMC Unveils ₹59,954.75 Crore Budget For 2024-25

Mumbai: Mixed Reactions Pour In As BMC Unveils ₹59,954.75 Crore Budget For 2024-25

As the political landscape buzzes with diverse opinions, the BMC budget for 2024-25 continues to be a subject of intense scrutiny and debate among Mumbai's political leaders.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 09:59 PM IST
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BMC | File photo

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) presented its annual civic budget for the financial year 2024-25, amounting to Rs 59,954.75 crore, marking a 10.5 percent increase from the previous year. However, the political landscape saw diverse reactions from leaders of various parties, reflecting both appreciation and criticism.

BJP's Positive Take:

Notable among the voices praising the budget is Adv Ashish Shelar, MLA of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Shelar commended the budget's continued focus on education, roads, and key infrastructure projects. Particularly, he applauded the innovative aspects, such as the emphasis on women empowerment through financial assistance to self-help groups and the launch of the 'Mumbai Mahila Suraksha Abhiyan' with a dedicated allocation of Rs 100 crores for women's safety. Shelar also expressed appreciation for the BMC's commitment to environmental concerns, welcoming the plan to introduce a Climate Budget.

Shiv Sena UBT's Perspective:

However, the Shiv Sena party, led by Uddhav Thackeray, took a different stance. Uddhav Thackeray, in his remarks, emphasized the party's contributions to major projects like the Bandra Worli Sea-Link bridge and the Coastal Road. He accused the current government of taking credit for the completion of projects initiated during Shiv Sena's governance, dismissing their role in the achievements. Thackeray also criticized the timing of project inaugurations, suggesting political motives in the lead-up to elections.

Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray expressed concerns about project sustainability, alleging the BJP-led government's exploitation of Mumbai and their intent to burden citizens with taxes and tolls. Thackeray emphasized the self-sustainability of their planned projects through FDs without hidden taxes or tolls.

He accused the BJP-led government of favoring builders and contractors, leading to Mumbai's looting. Thackeray criticized the inauguration of the partially completed Mumbai Coastal Road, attributing it to politicians exploiting the city for election gains. He lamented the use of incomplete projects for political purposes, expressing disappointment in the city being manipulated for political ends.

SP, Congress Slam Budget:

Samajwadi Party MLA Rais Shaikh expressed disappointment, terming the BMC budget "discriminatory." Shaikh criticized the proposal for a separate fee for patients from outside Mumbai and Maharashtra, calling it a violation of the fundamental right to healthcare. He asserted that such a fee structure would deny healthcare to the poor and needy and pledged to vigorously oppose it.

Shaikh also highlighted concerns over the allocation of Rs 7991 crore for healthcare, representing only 12 percent of the municipal budget. He criticized the lack of tax relief for citizens, given the BMC's status as Asia's richest civic body.

Congress leader Ravi Raja criticized the BMC's budget for 2024-25, dismissing it as a deceptive illusion aimed at misleading Mumbaikars with inflated figures. Raja raised concerns over the 10% increase in the budget from the previous year, questioning its necessity and the sustainability of such growth. He expressed skepticism about the Municipal Corporation's financial management, citing issues with property tax collection, a significant drop in income from fungible FSI, and unclear funding sources for development projects.

Raja also highlighted the depletion of Fixed Deposits by Rs 8,000 crore and criticized inefficient capital expenditure, citing incomplete projects and questioning the rationale behind a budget increase when only 40% of the capital expenditure was spent last year. Moreover, he challenged the claim of a "clean and pollution-free Mumbai," stating that superficial measures have failed to address pollution issues, concluding that the budget presents a false dream without providing tangible benefits to the city's residents.

Positive Notes From Mumbai Suburbs Minister:

Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Minister of Mumbai Suburbs, took a positive stance, acknowledging the BMC's focus on crucial development initiatives. Lodha praised the allocation of funds for fundamental services, education, healthcare, cleanliness, pollution control, women's safety, and urban development.

As the political landscape buzzes with diverse opinions, the BMC budget for 2024-25 continues to be a subject of intense scrutiny and debate among Mumbai's political leaders.

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