The 2019-20 budget of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with an outlay of ₹12,574.77 crore was approved on Saturday while councillors from the opposition BJP staged a protest in the well of the council hall. After three days of discussions by 24 councillors, the council approved an additional ₹1,886.14 crore, taking the total outlay to ₹12,574.77 crore.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, who responded to queries raised by councillors during the discussion, stressed on the need for financial reforms to improve the fiscal health of the civic body. Noting that the credit rating had improved, he suggested bringing the BBMP under the ambit of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act. The proposal is pending with the government, he said and added that the Karnataka Municipal Accounting and Budgeting Rules had been drafted to suit the BBMP.
Later, speaking to reporters, he said the administration had submitted a draft budget of ₹8,800 crore after a thorough study of revenue and potential sources. Days before the budget was presented by Standing Committee Chairperson S.P. Hemalatha, he said the government wrote to the BBMP, asking the civic body to present a realistic budget.
“When the budget that was approved by the BBMP council is being sent to the government, I will send it with my opinion... whether it will be difficult to implement, considering the revenue potential and the consequences of increasing the outlay,” he said.
About the ₹4,000 crore target set for property tax, he admitted that it would be difficult to achieve.
In anticipation of getting approval from the State government, the council has approved the use of 30% of the approved budget for payment of salaries, pension and other administrative expenses.
‘A khatas to be issued soon’
Property owners with B-khata can heave a sigh of relief as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to issue A khata to all B khata properties in the city.
On Saturday, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said the government would soon issue a notification in this regard. Following this, the BBMP will draw up the rules and regulations.
“Khata is just a receipt of property tax paid. B khata property owners will have to pay betterment / improvement charges to get A khata,” he said.
The civic body had sent a proposal on this matter to the government a few years ago. The issue was also questioned in the High Court of Karnataka. The government had sought legal opinion from the Advocate General, who has stated that the civic body could collect improvement charges and issue A khata to all B khata holders.
“However, for regularisation of the properties, owners will have to wait for Akrama Sakrama scheme. A case pertaining to the Akrama Sakrama scheme is pending in the Supreme Court,” he said.