'Our focus is on improving services'

No major big-ticket projects were announced in the civic budget. What is your vision for presenting this budget?
Several major projects such as the coastal road and the Middle Vaitarna dam project are already planned. Hence, we have focused on better implementation of existing projects. The emphasis is on providing good quality services to citizens.

A major transition of replacing octroi tax with local body tax (LBT) has been proposed by October this year. How do you plan to carry this out?
The Mumbai University and Tiss are conducting a study to check the impact of the transition. We have received a letter by the Centre to expedite the process and therefore we have planned to introduce LBT from October. Since civic bodies such as Thane and Pune would be implementing it from April, we will gain from their experience.

What would be its impact on the civic body's revenue?
Theoretically, the revenue should be equivalent to octroi. But we will know only after its implementation. Cash flow will be affected as a certain amount of revenue is deposited every day in the municipal accounts under octroi collection. Under LBT, it would be added every month or every few weeks.

A new source of revenue of premium from fungible FSI was introduced in last year's budget. Why was the anticipated revenue of Rs 1,500 crore not generated?
Since fungible FSI was a new concept, there was no past trend to gauge the revenue it would generate.

Plans for banner-free Mumbai and 'open defecation-free Mumbai have been proposed this year. How can these be achieved?
There has been much criticism that the aesthetic appeal of Mumbai has gone down. Political parties have informally agreed to bring down the number of illegal hoardings and banners in the city. Logistical augmentation is required and would be put in place to make these plans a reality.


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