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Pune: Civic chief presents draft Budget: No tax hike, focuses on ongoing projects

The draft Budget has reserved Rs1,363 crore for ongoing development projects, Rs 5 crore for mayor fund, Rs 992 crore for urban poor and Rs 150 crore for the smart city project. The draft Budget focuses on giving a strong push to the pending projects.

LAYING stress on finding new sources of revenue, avoiding unnecessary expenditure and creation of smart city, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar Monday presented a Rs 4,620 crore draft Budget, proposing no hike in property or water tax ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Along with the central and state government projects, the Budget has been pegged at Rs 6,183 crore.

At the Standing Committee meeting Monday, Hardikar presented the copy of the draft Budget to Chairperson Mamata Gaikwad. The committee sought time till February 28 to present its view on the Budget proposals. Though there are no new big projects, the draft Budget proposes floating of bonds to raise funds for Pavana and Indrayani river improvement projects.

The draft Budget has reserved Rs1,363 crore for ongoing development projects, Rs 5 crore for mayor fund, Rs 992 crore for urban poor and Rs 150 crore for the smart city project. The draft Budget focuses on giving a strong push to the pending projects.

It envisages LBT revenue of Rs 1,632 crore, property tax Rs 482 crore, building permissions fees Rs 350 crore, interest on investments Rs 197 crore and Rs 67 crore from water tax.

Describing his draft Budget as the one that has directional focus, Hardikar said: “This is the first time we have made an attempt to lay sectoral focus. There is strategic focus and strategic investment to achieve a certain outcome.”

Stating that the draft Budget is based on cash flow concept, Hardikar added that though there was no hike in taxes, but defaulters “will have to pay through their nose”. “We will impose heavy fines on them,” he said, adding that taxes are the major source of revenue for the civic body, upon which depends the implementation of development projects. Civic officials said cash flow concept incorporates using up the savings of the last fiscal for the same project next year.

Hardikar said the civic administration is trying to create transparent, citizen-centric, healthy, green and environment-friendly city. “Our aim is to make Pimpri-Chinchwad a well-developed city with international standards, safe traffic system and one that is affordable,” he said, adding that sustainable development will remain atop their agenda. Civic officials said the concept of livability includes improving the citizens quality of life by creating a right environment for their economic prosperity, social stability, opportunities in various fields and provision of recreation facilities.

Though there are no big projects except the one on river improvement, the draft Budget has made provisions for several smaller projects like development of Chinchwad gaonthan area, water augmentation through Andra and Bhama Askhed dams, automobile theme park, light and sound projects. “We are also working on public-private partnership projects,” he said.

Hardikar said he has included at least 40 suggestions from residents. “They primarily include improvement in state of road, garden development and setting up of recreational facilities,” he said.

Hardikar added that the draft Budget also focusses on water availability, avoiding water wastage, encouraging water recylying and drastic improvement in river projects.

The civic chief said there has been a correction in property rates in the past one year or so. “The property rates have come down drastically because of the availability of land pools and decrease in TDR rates,” he said.

Hardikar said for 2019-2020 financial year, they are expecting a revenue collection of Rs 4,620 crore. “We are expecting an expenditure of Rs 4,590 crore… and by March 2020, we will have Rs 30 crore surplus.”

Hardikar said his administration was making efforts to involve every resident in the development process. “We are aiming at GIS-based ERP system, increasing facilities for cashless payment, ensuring smart water supply system under Smart City plan, smart sewarage system, smart garbage management, smart parking, smart mobility, smart education and smart health facility,” he said. “Besides, we are also focussing on green building rating system and setting up of environment-friendly societies. For this, we will start a competition, provide concession in tax…,” he said.

For ensuring public safety, he said PCMC administration will encourage setting up of CCTVs and will also set up Integrated Command and Control Centre.

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