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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

A civic budget to ensure transparency

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 04, 2013
First Published: 01:35 IST(4/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:36 IST(4/2/2013)

Mumbaiites can look forward to a reform-centric civic budget on Monday, with greater focus on delivering civic services.

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As Hindustan Times had earlier reported, the annual civic budget for 2013-14, while continuing to focus on basic amenities like roads and storm water drains, is unlikely to have any big-ticket announcements.

Instead, if sources close to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief Sitaram Kunte are to be believed, this budget is aimed at ensuring a better, more fool-proof system of ensuring that civic amenities are provided to citizens.

For instance, the BMC, which had a budget of more than Rs. 26,500 crore last year, is looking at a way to overhaul the purchases it makes.

For every major purchase the civic body makes, it plans to now ask citizens and experts in the public domain about the purchase and take recommendations from the public.

So, you, the citizen, will be able to give your feedback on whether a purchase is warranted or not and if it is, you could submit recommendations on its specifications.

According to sources, the BMC is also planning to hike its budget allocations for water supply projects in order to boost the city’s water supply and distribution.

More funds may be devoted to the city’s road works, although more than Rs800 crore of last year’s Rs1,800-crore budget remains unused. “We are concentrating more on concretisation of roads this year.”

It is also learnt that the BMC chief might make a mention of two taxes that the civic body is thinking of imposing in the future - the state-proposed local body tax and the tax on solid waste generation. Both these taxes will be imposed once the BMC phases out octroi, which is the biggest chunk of income for the BMC currently.

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