On March 25, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be presenting the budget for FY 2017-18, and according to estimates, this budget will be 40 percent bigger than last year’s budget that is expected to be over ₹13,000 crore. However, though this civic body has been allocating considerable funds on the budget, the actual spending is way lesser. 

 

The last year’s BBMP budget cost was ₹9300 crore. However, they spent ₹5631 crore which is 60 percent of the total budget, reported a leading daily. In fact, in four out of last five budgets, the spending has been less than half of the total allocation. 

 

The budget of 2016-17 had many promising schemes and projects including Wi-Fi in commercial hubs and bus stops, CCTV in educational institutions, and so on and so forth and most of these plans have not been implemented by BBMP.

 

The Times of India quoted civic experts as saying that the civic body has repeatedly presenting budgets that do not compliment its capacity to generate revenue. In last year’s budget, the target to generate revenue was ₹8991 crore and the actual revenue generated is ₹4206 crore and the time frame for this budget is ending in a week. 

 

Apart from this, the other matter of concern is that much of the BBMP revenue goes into clearing contractors’ pending bills. ₹1218 crore worth of unpaid bills still needs to be paid by BBMP, TOI quoted urban expert ASK Pani as saying.

 

Since BBMP fails to generate the required revenue, it becomes dependent on government grants to deliver on their budget plans. The government grants need time to get released often failing to provide the money within the financial year. 

 

In 2016-17, Karnataka state government announced a grant of ₹5500 crore to BBMP and as on now, the civic body has received ₹1235 crore, the report quoted Bengaluru city mayor, G Padmavathi, as saying. 

 

Additionally, there is politics that play its part around the BBMP budget. Parties to attract voters end up promising a host of welfare schemes and projects which are not scientifically planned. In last year’s budget due to lack of planning resulted in no utilisation of more than 50 percent funds allocated for welfare schemes, the report quoted another expert as saying.

 

BBMP is a far cry from the ground realities of Bengaluru. A massive amount of money is allocated for various schemes, but residents of the city can hardly see any change of situation.  Though the Chairman of Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance of BBMP, MK Gunashekar, is all set to present another ambitious budget and has said that measures are being taken not to repeat the previous mistakes, it has to be seen what Bengaloreans actually get.