MC to propose Rs 603 cr budget for FY 2016-17

The Municipal Corporation of Jalandhar (MCJ) will propose a budget of Rs 603.68 crore for the fiscal year 2016-17 at the general House meeting to be held here on March 31. The MCJ released the budget agenda today.

With only a year left for the Assembly elections to be held in the state, the civic body has proposed to spend 73 per cent of the total budget (Rs 397.15 crore) on development works, which majorly includes Rs 238 crore grants the civic body is expected to receive under various Central Government schemes and another Rs 160 crore from internal revenue sources.

According to Mayor Sunil Jyoti, the MCJ had laid more emphasis on the recovery of arrears and also to get grants under various Central Government schemes. “In 2014-15, we had spent around Rs 122.29 crore on development works which was later increased by another Rs 22.85 crore in the current financial year. However, for 2016-17, we have earmarked Rs 376 crore exclusively for the development works which would mainly include the construction of roads,” said Jyoti.

Major Central Government grants will include Rs 150 crore (out of Rs 272 crore) from the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) under the Urban Rural Regeneration Mission (URRM), Rs 22 crore under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Rs 11 crore from Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Rs 1 crore from MPLAD fund and Rs 20 crore from the 14th Finance Commission.

The civic body has performed better in the current financial year due to the regularisation policy announced by the Punjab Government. The MCJ has managed to generate around Rs 12 crore by regularising illegal plots and colonies.

Also, the building department increased its earnings by almost threefold from Rs 5 crore to Rs 15 crore by the change in land use (CLU) charges. The civic body had also earned Rs 1.35 crore as external development charges from various colonisers. Though the civic body has managed to curtail its expenses marginally in fuel expenditure by bringing it down from Rs 9 crore to Rs 5 crore and building regularisation from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2.40 crore, pending arrears pertaining to water supply and sewerage charges, rent/lease and House tax to the tune of Rs 96 crore are a huge challenge in front of the MCJ.

Also, the Punjab Local Government has given a big setback to the civic body by postponing the interim provision of levying water cess through the electricity bills in the residential and non-residential categories until March 31 next year. The MCJ was expected to earn around Rs 90 crore from the interim provision for which it will now have to wait for the next fiscal year 2017-18.

Also, the civic body is planning to streamline the tax collection system in the city. According to Municipal Commissioner, Gurpreet Singh Khehra, preparations have begun to install the geographic information system (GIS) that would be connected to the citizen felicitation centres (CFCs) situated at various places in the city. “The entire system when installed completely will prepare a database of the properties in the city and will help us estimate the exact amount of property and other taxes to be recovered by the owners,” said Khehra.

He also said that the civic body was in the process to invest Rs 109 crore to install supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), a water supply system that would include water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment and will also check the leaking from the distribution system. “It will help in the conservation and better distribution of water to the residential, non-residential and industrial establishments,” said Khehra.