Like its several projects, the draft of the annual budget of Patna Municipal Corporation for the 2013-14 fiscal is lagging behind schedule amid speculation it would be a surplus financial plan in nearly a decade.
The draft of the budget is traditionally prepared by February 15. Thereafter, it is sent to the mayor and his deputy for remarks before being tabled at the corporation board meeting. But this time, it is yet to be completed.
Mayor Afzal Imam claimed that the draft was being prepared and would be approved by the PMC board by March 15. “The accounts department of the PMC is at present working on finalising the draft budget for the next financial year. We have planned to get the new budget approved by the PMC board by March 15,” he told The Telegraph.
The civic body had come up with a deficit budget of Rs 49 crore for the current financial year (2012-13). It had projected an income of Rs 227.64 crore and an expected expenditure of Rs 276.96 crore.
In the budget for the earlier (2011-12) financial year, the PMC had projected a deficit of Rs 29 crore. Barring 2006-07, when the civic body, registered a marginal profit of Rs 14 crore, it has been running in losses for over a decade.
Several new measures are, however, expected to boost the income of the PMC this year. Bihar Municipal Property Tax (Assessment, Collection and Recovery), Rules, 2013, Tax and Non-tax Recovery Regulations, 2012, Bihar Commercial Towers and Related Structures Rules, 2011 and Patna Municipal Corporation (Grant of Permission for Display of Advertisement and Similar Devices) Act, 2012, aim to enhance the revenue collection for a surplus budget.
“We have recently hiked the holding tax rates in the city. It is now twice the earlier rates. All such policy measures aim at increasing the revenue of the civic body, based on which we are expecting higher estimated revenues, leading to a surplus budget,” said Imam.
With regard to the proposed expenditure, solid waste management, installing and maintaining streetlights and better parking arrangement in the city are the focus areas.
Revising the earlier decision to assign the responsibility of solid waste management to Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo), the urban development and housing departments have recently handed over the work to the PMC.
Promises, however, are unlikely to break the ice with citizens who are unhappy with the performance of the civic body this financial year.
“The PMC has been talking about installing 50 streetlights in each ward since 2011. But not a single light has been installed anywhere. Waste management plan has also been a dismal failure despite the high court pulling up the civic body a number of times on the issue. The civic bosses have often promised improved bus stands and parking but never fulfilled the promises. We hope to see something better this time,” said Roshan Parmar, a resident of Boring Road.