The Mumbai civic body, on February 4, 2019, earmarked Rs 4,151 crores for health and Rs 2,074 crores for primary education, besides allocating funds for a number of infrastructure projects, in its Rs 30,692-crore budget for 2019-20, in which no new tax has been proposed. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s total budget estimates (Rs 30,692 crores) for the next financial year, was 12.6 per cent more than the last fiscal.
In 2018-19, the country’s richest civic body had presented a budget of Rs 27,258 crores, which was an increase of 8.4 per cent over the 2017-18 estimates. In its budget estimates for FY20, the BMC neither proposed any hike in the existing taxes, nor any new levy. Civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta, who presented the budget, said the civic body has primarily focused on important projects and sectors like health, education, bridges, road and traffic, among others. The cash-rich BMC, in 2016-17, had presented its highest-ever budget of Rs 37,052 crores. However, it slashed the budget size by about Rs 12,000 crores in the subsequent year (2017-18), by presenting a budget of Rs 25,141 crore, calling it ‘realistic’.
For implementation of the Development Plan (DP) 2034, a separate budget of Rs 3,323.64 crores has been proposed for 2019-20, for improving amenities. Mehta earmarked Rs 4,151 crores for health and Rs 2,074 crores for primary education, which are 13 per cent and seven per cent, respectively, of the total expenditure. Total establishment budget size stood at Rs 11,946 crores, which is 48 per cent of total revenue.
The BMC set aside funds for mega projects, including the coastal road (Rs 1,600 crores), cycle track (Rs 120 crores), the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (Rs 100 crores), a waste-to-energy plant at Deonar (Rs 100 crores), major and minor repairs of bridges (Rs 108 crores), zoo development works (Rs 110 crores) and solid waste management (Rs 177 crores). Other major projects are expansion of KB Bhabha Hospital-Bandra (Rs 10 crores), redevelopment of Bhagwati Hospital (Rs 40 crores) and construction of a medical college building in Cooper Hospital (Rs 35 crores).
In addition, the BMC proposed Rs 44 crores as capital investment for the BEST undertaking and allocated Rs three crores for providing 50 per cent concession to senior citizens travelling in buses operated by the civic transport utility, whose employees went on a strike last month. Among other projects, the civic body proposed Rs two crores for night shelter support system, Rs one crore for the mayor’s new bungalow in Dadar and Rs five crores for constructing a 16-storey building for working women in suburban Goregaon. Other proposals include development of a textile museum (Rs 15 crores), upgradation of Deonar abattoir (Rs 20 crores), construction of Topiwala market (Rs 20 crores), redevelopment of Sion Hospital premises (Rs 10 crores), installation of CCTV cameras (Rs 124.30 crores) and a footpath policy (Rs 100 crores). The civic body also made a provision of Rs five crores for the Bal Thackeray memorial.
Speaking to mediapersons after presenting the budget, Mehta said, “We have focused on development projects for improvement of the city’s infrastructure, like roads, storm water drains, bridges, solid waste management, water projects, as well as to provide basic amenities to Mumbaikars.”