In absence of fresh govt grants, Gaurav Gupta will have to do a balancing act in pleasing various sections
The BBMP Administrator, IAS officer Gaurav Gupta, will present the civic body’s budget for the next financial year at 10 am on Saturday, March 27. In view of Covid-19 precautions and the absence of an elected Council, Gupta will announce the budget proposals at a media conference on the Indian Population Project (IPP).
This will be Gupta’s second presentation of the BBMP budget, albeit his first as BBMP Administrator. Earlier, in 2007, he had presented the budget in his capacity as Special Commissioner (Projects) after the then Administrator Dilip Rau had asked him to do the ‘honours’ on his (Rau’s) behalf.
BBMP’s elected council’s 5-year term ended on September 10, and since then Gaurav Gupta has been in charge as Administrator. His six-month tenure ended on March 10, but has been extended by the state government.
The last time a BBMP budget was presented by an Administrator was by TM Vijay Bhaskar in 2015-16. Bhaskar had then tabled a Rs 5,411-crore ‘actual’ budget, cutting down all unwanted expenditures.
Property tax mainstay
The same tight-rope walk awaits Gupta, as the state government has not allotted any additional grants for new projects. BBMP will have to stick to completion of ongoing projects and ensure that city’s humongous garbage problem is addressed satisfactorily, said an expert who has observed the functioning of BBMP closely.
BBMP has the potential to collect property tax of around Rs 3,000 crore, but expenditure on garbage disposal alone would be around Rs 1,000 crore. Despite the tight fiscal situation, the BBMP Administrator will have to retain some people-friendly measures in the budget.