New Delhi: Asia’s richest civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday (February 4, 2023) presented Rs 52,619.07 crore budget for the year 2023-24 with an emphasis on health, education and infrastructure. The budgetary estimates crossed the Rs 50,000-crore mark for the first time and Shiv Sena (UBT) called it the “path to financial bankruptcy”. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, termed the budget as “truly for Mumbaikars”.
“This is the first time in the history of the country’s richest civic body that the budgetary estimates for FY 2023-24 have crossed the Rs 50,000 crore mark and the capital expenditure is more than 50 per cent,” BMC commissioner and administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal said.
The budget estimates for the financial year 2023-24 are proposed at Rs 52,619.07 crore, which exceeds the budget estimates for 2022-23, that is Rs 45,949.21 crore, by 14.52 per cent.
Chahal said that he had received 8-9 written suggestions from Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadanvis and most of them have been incorporated.
“One such feature based on these suggestions will be the launch of the ‘Aarogyam Kutumbam? (Family Health). Chahal said 15,000 health workers will go door to door and screen 35.1 lakh families living in the BMC jurisdiction for hypertension and diabetic patients.” This will be a permanent scheme in BMC,” he said.
BMC budget: Health gets Rs 6,309.38 crore, primary education Rs 2,319.37 crore
As per the budget documents, the total expenditure for health is estimated at Rs 6,309.38 crore, which is 12 per cent of the total budget, while the same for primary education is Rs 2,319.37 crore and Rs 10,015.92 crore for water supply and sewage disposal.
The BMC has made a provision of RS 3,545 crore for the Coastal Road Project, which is expected to be completed by this year-end, Rs 2,825 crore for traffic operations and roads, Rs 800 crore for BEST undertaking as against Rs 1,382.28 crore in FY 22-23 and Rs 227.07 crore for Fire Brigade as against Rs 300 crore in FY 22-23.
The budget estimate of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for the year 2023-24 was presented at the Municipal Headquarters today.@CMOMaharashtra @Dev_Fadnavis @dvkesarkar @MPLodha @IqbalSinghChah2 #BMCBudget pic.twitter.com/eL9hG1fHgc— My Mumbai, Your BMC (@mybmc) February 4, 2023
At least 12 new projects, including the construction of footpaths on either side of roads with 9-metre width, digitization of classrooms in civic-run schools, air quality monitoring, and family health scheme, were announced in the budget.
The BMC will launch a scheme for 41,774 students studying classes 9 and 10 in 249 civic-run schools under which the existing schools will be renamed as “Mumbai Public Schools and Skill Centers” and students will be provided vocational training for AI, parallel fashion designing , robotics, automobile technology, electronics, tourism etc, to make them employment-ready.
Chahal said 1,300 of 7,934 classrooms in BMC schools will be made digital in the next financial year as per the suggestion made by the CM.
Under the Air Pollution Mitigation Plan, the civic body will install 14 air purification towers for Rs 3.5 crore in each of the seven administrative zones, apart from setting up air purifying machines at another five locations in the city. For installing these towers, a sum of Rs 50 crore has been earmarked in the budget.
Chahal said the number of E-buses in the BEST fleet will go up to 3,400 by the end of 2023.
The BMC will come up with the “pedestrian first” policy wherein footpaths will be constructed on either side of roads whose width is 9 meters or more.
According to Chahal, the civic body’s fixed deposits stood at Rs 88,000 crore.
As per the budget document, the BMC, from its FDs, will withdraw Rs 7,400 crore for the coastal road project, as well as the construction of the Goregaon-Mulund link road and sewage treatment plants. The BMC would withdraw Rs 5,376 crore for other expenditures and Rs 5,970 crore for “internal temporary transfers”.
The civic chief also said the BMC will also use money from the Rs 15,600 crore infrastructure fund that has been created by levying a host of premiums.
“Big infrastructure projects cannot be accomplished by levying of tax on the public. Ultimately, these FDs are made from public money. Hence if we have to give the public the concrete roads, coastal roads, STPs, we will spend from it,” Chahal said.
BMC budget paves way for Mumbai’s financial bankruptcy: Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray said that the BMC is “pro-contractor” which will lead to the financial bankruptcy of Mumbai.
He also demanded the BMC explain the “hiked expenses in the pro contractor” budget.
“Today’s BMC budget shows that it has begun to pave way for Mumbai’s financial bankruptcy,” he said.
While it’s good that there’s no big ticket project announcement, through the budget, as demanded by @advanilparab ji earlier and me through a letter to BMC, the BMC has shown higher expenditure on old projects, which is uncalled for.
It is a contractor driven budget, obviously
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) February 4, 2023
BMC budget ‘truly’ for Mumbaikars: BJP’s Ashish Shelar
Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said the budget is not for people working for cuts, commissions and contractors, but it is “truly” for the Mumbaikars.
“The budget is not the one favoring only the contractors but it is a budget made to address the demands of Mumbaikars,” he added.