The Corporation of Kochi budget for 2012-13 promises to augment revenue and make optimum use of its resources but is not too strong on specifics.
The only pointer to raising revenue collection during the ensuing financial year is a hint at raising property tax, which has not been revised for nearly two decades now. The Deputy Mayor, who presented the budget, sought the cooperation of residents for the purpose.
The budget also mentions seepage in revenue, implying that the net has to be tightened to ensure that the Corporation raises enough money to meet the collection target of Rs. 757.73 crore for 2012-13.
The revised estimate for the current financial year is Rs. 316.08 crore revenue; Rs. 294.99 crore expenditure and a surplus of Rs. 14.05 crore.
There is hope that the measures promised in the budget to improve administration, including technology induction will help augment revenue collection during the new financial year.
While introduction of e-governance is expected to ensure better service delivery, induction of technology is expected to be a tool to prevent drainage. For example, introduction of e-tendering is expected to make processes of procurement and work awards more transparent and competitive.The budget admits that the Corporation will not be able to meet all the fund requirements from its own resources and makes it very clear that resources available through State institutions will be utilised freely.
The most immediate example is that of possible funds from the proposed Kerala Urban and Rural Development Financial Corporation.
While a large number of projects — worth a total of Rs. 356 crore, have been envisaged under the Kerala Road Fund Board, there is finally a move to adopt new methods to make land acquisition for development projects more easy and convenient for those giving up the land.
The budget proposes more floor-area ratio for those who give up land for the Thammanam-Pulleppady road development project.
Transfer of Development Rights, experimented successfully in other cities is finding a way into Kochi.