If you are not from the city and avail medical services from civic hospitals, you may be asked to pay more than those who are from Mumbai.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is mulling this option in its 2017-18 budget to be tabled on Wednesday with an eye on increasing its non-tax revenues ahead of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out.
Non- tax revenue is the income earned by government from sources other than taxing the citizens.
The uniform GST in July will finally discontinue octroi, which garners maximum revenue for the civic body. With its powers to tax also largely taken away, the civic body will increasingly focus on non-tax revenue.
This may pinch your pockets in ways such as a hike in fees for birth and death certificates given by the civic body, more rent on BMC-owned leased plots and increase in penalties, with the civic body keen on maintaining its buoyancy post GST.
While there is no clarity yet on the increase in various fees charged by the civic body, officials indicated the controversial suggestion of having a separate fee structure for patients outside Mumbai was likely to make a comeback this year. This would mean patients from nearby regions, including Thane, Dombivli, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan, will have to pay a different fee as opposed to those living in Mumbai for treatment at KEM, Nair and Sion hospitals.
The civic body stated earlier that nearly 45% of the patients treated at civic hospitals are from outside. However, in lieu of the BMC polls, the proposal was shot down last year, with all parties calling it discriminatory.
“We are not in a bad situation [financially] as of now. However, with doubts over reimbursement by the state, we are looking at unconventional methods to maintain buoyancy,” said a senior civic official.
After the GST introduction, Centre has promised to compensate states if their revenue growth is below 14% in the first five years of GST. However, the BMC is unclear as to how state will reimburse the losses, primary being the earnings from Octroi which on an average provides BMC with Rs 7,000 crore, annually.
A closer look at civic body’s income shows that nearly 69% is earned from taxes. Of this nearly 59% is from Octroi alone. Another civic official involved in budget making process said “Since last budget we had begun increasing our non-tax revenue. In the last budget speech civic chief had asked all departments to explore other sources of income.”