Stress will be on better revenue generation

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget for 2011-12 is likely to be presented this month-end.

Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday, chairperson of the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance G. Manjunath Raju said certain schemes would be included with stress on better revenue generation.

One such scheme is to bring the service apartments under the commercial tax bracket. “Several service apartments are mushrooming in the city. Yet, the owners continue to pay tax under the residential bracket. We want to bring these service apartments under the commercial tax bracket as they function just like hotels,” he said.

Mr. Raju said that the BBMP was now collating data on the number of service apartments within its jurisdiction. The tax levied on these apartments would depend on the kind of services and amenities on offer. “For example, if the service apartment offers basic amenities, the minimum tax rate of Rs. 8 per sq ft will be levied. If the apartment has better facilities, such as air-conditioners, then a higher rate of Rs. 20 per sq ft will be levied,” he added.

He said that the committee had already begun to collect data, review previous year's schemes and total fund utilisation from all the 28 departments in the BBMP. The committee had also decided to not include schemes and programmes that were mentioned in the 2010-11 budget but were not implemented.

Sources in the committee, meanwhile, said this time around, the Akrama-Sakrama scheme would not find any mention in the budget. Last year's budget anticipated Rs. 800 crore from the scheme.

“With the Akrama-Sakrama Bill still in cold storage, it would not be wise to include it in the 2011-12 budget. Efforts are being made to ensure that budget is not inflated and is as pragmatic and realistic as possible,” sources added. They, however, claimed to be unsure if the 2011-12 budget would exceed last year's Rs. 8,848 crore budget.

The committee, Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Commissioner would approach the Government to provide the Rs. 1,300-crore grant mentioned in last year's budget.

However, conversion fee and betterment charges will find a place in the budget, sources said. “The BBMP will remit conversion fee collected to the State Government. The collection of both charges will help thousands of citizens across the city living in revenue pockets,” they said.

Sources said that around 70 per cent of work has been completed. “The draft will be ready by next week end. After that, the committee members will meet city in-charge Minister R. Ashok and seek his approval. The date for the budget will be decided after that,” they said.

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