Mumbai: Civic budget on February 4; exercise for the first time since 1985 under administrator

NEW DELHI:The budget of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the fiscal 2023-24 will be presented on February 4, the first time since 1985 that the exercise is being undertaken when the term of the corporators have ended and the financial capital’s civic body is under an administrator.

The polls to BMC are pending due to factors like the coronavirus pandemic, delimitation of wards and OBC quota after the five-year term of corporators ended on March 7, 2022.

An official said additional municipal commissioners will present the budget to commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, who is also the state-appointed administrator, against the normal practice of the civic chief presenting the budget to the standing committee, which comprises corporators.

Additional commissioner (projects) P Velarasu will present the budget estimates for the financial year 2023-24 to Chahal at the civic headquarter at 11.30 am, while the education department’s budget estimates will be presented at 10:30am by additional commissioner (eastern suburbs) Ashwini Bhide, a civic administration release said.

The BMC budget for 2022-23 was Rs 45,949.21 crore, which was rise of 17 per cent from the amount for 2021-22.

While the budget is likely to be presented with an eye on the civic polls, there is no clarity when they will held, sources said.

The undivided Shiv Sena has ruled BMC for nearly 25 years, though the split in the party in June last year due to the rebellion of Eknath Shinde, who went on to become Maharashtra chief minister with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has changed equations, they added.

The state government, which has indirect control on the civic body due to it being under an administrator, will give the Shinde dispensation an upper hand in budget proposals and fund allocation, these sources claimed.

Incidentally, a release issued on Thursday from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said Shinde had given inputs to the civic chief on various items to be included in the budget.

As per the CMO release, Shinde has directed to Chahal to include topics such as erection of air purification towers in the city for pollution control, conducting door to door screening of citizens suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, setting up of skill development centres in municipal schools, beautification of city as well as transparency in civic administration.

The air towers to control pollution are to be erected on the lines of those in Delhi, Gurugram and Lucknow, while measures have also been suggested to increase the green cover of the country’s financial capital, the release said.

About 27 per cent of Mumbai’s residents are suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure and, hence, the need for a door to door screening to give people relief and to prepare data, it said.

The CM has also asked Chahal to include points and measures in the budget to ensure good governance, the release added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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