Venkatesh Murthy says efforts on to present it by month-end

Efforts are being made to present the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget by the end of this month, Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy has said.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, he said that the Commissioner’s budget draft had been sent to the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance. He had directed committee chairperson K.A. Muneendra Kumar to begin the budget preparations.

“We want to present the budget before the code of conduct comes into force ahead of the Assembly polls,” he said. If there is a delay, the budget can be presented only after the Assembly elections and election of the new Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of the 11 Standing Committees.

Mr. Murthy said he would discuss the issue with the BJP leadership. Stating that there was no rule that prevented one Mayor from presenting two budgets, he said efforts were being made to present the budget soon. “We are ready to cross the hurdles that will be put by certain persons with vested interests who think we will take the credit politically for presenting two budgets.”

However, a senior BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that the ruling party (BJP) had unanimously decided to present the budget only after the Assembly polls. “But before that, efforts are on to choose the next Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Following that, all efforts will be made to win the Assembly elections.”

Opposition parties are up in arms over the delay and the violation of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. According to the KMC Act, the civic body is bound to complete the entire budget procedure and submit the council-approved budget to the government by the first week of March. The government is obligated to approve the budget before the beginning of the new financial year.

Realistic budget

Mr. Murthy claimed that the 2013-14 budget would be “realistic”. This could be a reality this year, since the Union Budget and State Budget for 2013-14 had been presented. “We will try to reduce the outlay. The outlay of the draft budget that has been sent to the Standing Committee is approximately Rs. 5,000 crore. We have pending works, including programme of works, worth around Rs. 2,000 crore. Efforts will be made to reduce the outlay from Rs. 10,000 crore to around Rs. 7,000 crore,” he added.

He said that the draft budget would be bare and devoid of any welfare, development programmes. “The outlay will obviously increase once the ruling party includes development programmes and welfare schemes. This will be done after consulting the party leadership. There cannot be a budget without these,” he added.