Sandeep Joshi

A revenue augmentation committee has been constituted

NEW DELHI: The cash-strapped Municipal Corporation of Delhi has started looking for various means to boost its revenue. From the next financial year it has decided to explore new spaces for display of outdoor advertisements and adopt modern technologies and methods to attract advertising companies.

In 2005-06, MCD earned Rs.19.90 crore from sale of advertisement spaces and advertisement tax, while in the current financial year this figure is likely to go up to Rs.85 crore, a whopping 350 per cent increase compared with pervious year. All this happened mainly due to increased utilisation of resources in outdoor advertisement display. In the next fiscal, the civic body hopes that its earnings from advertisement will cross Rs.100-crore mark.

Now Municipal Commissioner A. K. Nigam has drawn ambitious plans to boost the civic body's earnings from sale of advertisement spaces and advertisement tax. In his Budget Estimates for 2007-08, Mr. Nigam said a revenue augmentation committee has been constituted under the Advertisement Department for identifying new advertising sites to increase revenue from advertisement tax by keeping in mind the directions of the Supreme Court. Newer methods that may be adopted by MCD for display advertisements include screens, light emitting diodes (LEDs), motor vehicles and uni-poles.

Similarly, the civic body has also decided to further explore the innovative way of allowing government agencies and private organisations to take care of MCD's public utilities and other facilities in lieu of utilising advertisement spaces. For instance, advertisement agencies and government departments are required to maintain schools and public services like providing drinking water and toilet facilities, development and maintenance of green areas, public toilets, footpaths, public spaces and common areas of commercial complexes for display of advertisements.

MCD has also decided to strengthen its enforcement activities by conducting regular checks and carrying out special drives for removal of illegal hoardings and prosecution of erring contractors. The civic body has also forwarded a proposal for monitoring unauthorised advertisements through global positioning system (GPS). This will help MCD to detect unauthorised advertisements displayed in the city, allowing prompt action against defaulters.

The civic body has also initiated step to sort out the controversial matter of sharing revenue generated from display of advertisements from various agencies, including Northern Railway and Public Works Department besides private organisations. However, the MCD is yet to resolve the matter relating to advertisement rights with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. While MCD is demanding its share of revenue from DMRC from display advertisements on roads and bridges, the latter says it has full right to generate revenue from sale of advertisement spaces on its property.